If you struggle with hemorrhoids, it’s possible pelvic floor dysfunction may be to blame. This is because the muscles of your pelvic floor and hemorrhoids go hand in hand.
Because of this connection, there are some things you can do to prevent or resolve hemorrhoids. And it’s definitely worth looking into physical therapy for hemorrhoids if you experience them often.
What are Hemorrhoids
Hemorrhoids are swollen veins around your rectum and anus, can be either painful or painless and can present themselves internally or externally. You may experience symptoms such as itching, swelling, pain and bleeding.
- Heavy lifting (increases abdominal pressure)
- Poor pressure management
- Poor diet (low fiber)
How to prevent: Avoid straining when you poop
Use optimal positioning to relax your pelvic floor by placing your feet on a stool or squatty potty, lean forward and exhale like you are blowing out a candle as you gently bear down. This will help relax your pelvic floor muscles to avoid straining, which can help to prevent hemorrhoids.
But sometimes, no matter how proactive you are, you still get them!
How do you treat them?
Improve your stool consistency
- Increase your fiber. A good way is to eat veggies, fruits, grains and take supplements (25-35 grams of fiber per day) with your doctor’s approval.
- Increase your water intake! You should be drinking 8+ cups of water per day.
- Try a CALM magnesium drink.
- Move your body and get regular exercise.
- Walk for about 30 minutes a day.
Improve the ease of your bowel movements with the following:
- Diaphragm breathing. Expand your ribs 360 degrees on inhale and relax them back down on exhale. Think of an umbrella opening and closing with your breath.
- Pelvic floor exercises. Learn about your pelvic floor muscles. They have the ability to contract, relax and lengthen with ease. A pelvic floor physical therapist can help with this!
- Avoid hovering over the toilet. Sit down so your pelvic floor muscles can properly relax.
- Breathe! Exhale as you gently relax and lengthen your pelvic floor while sitting on the toilet.
- Use a stool or squatty potty to get your knees higher than your hips. This helps relax your pelvic floor muscles and allows the poop to exit easier.
- Get a regular BM routine going if you can. Try to go in the mornings or after drinking a warm beverage or having a meal.
Improve the symptoms/discomfort
- Sitz baths
- Tucks/ointments/witch hazel
- Sit on a cushion or unweight the anus/tailbone region with towels under both of your thighs.
- Improve breathing and pelvic floor coordination with heavy lifting (like your baby/toddler) and other daily tasks.
- Avoid straining during bowel movements
For most people hemorrhoids are annoying, but can usually be cleared up with some intentional habit/lifestyle changes or home remedies.
If your symptoms (especially bleeding) persist past a week of trying to treat on your own, talk to your doctor to rule out other diseases or schedule a consult with a pelvic floor PT.
If you do have hemorrhoids and they aren’t resolving on their own, you may want to look into medical interventions. Rubber band ligation, cold laser therapy, injection, coagulation using infrared or laser, surgery or hemorrhoid stapling are all options you can discuss with your provider.
If you have pain in your parts, Download this free guide to find out if pelvic floor tightness might be to blame—and what to do about it.
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