It is a simple fact that heavy resistance training and even endurance training increases our susceptibility to getting hemorrhoids. If you lift weights, you are in danger of developing hemorrhoids and that risk develops as you age. The age discussion becomes important as today’s athletes and those with active lifestyles are choosing to maintain these activities for a far longer basis, thus increasing your risk. At age fifty, about half of us will have had hemorrhoids at some point. In addition to age, history of pregnancy and obesity are also primary risk factors. For the purposes of this article we will be focusing on how athletes can continue training while reducing their risk.
The textbook definition of hemorrhoids is enlarged veins in the anus. Once enlarged, these hemorrhoids may become irritated, or even prolapse and become external hemorrhoids. In addition to pain and irritation, hemorrhoids may cause bleeding and discomfort.
Having hemorrhoids is not a sentence to reduced activity level by any means. You can still be competitive and perform at the highest level, even in sports that create significant abdominal and blood pressure. It is not uncommon for high-level strength athletes such as weightlifters, powerlifters, or strongmen to deal with these symptoms. If you incorporate the proper techniques you can minimize the symptoms or even make them completely disappear. These tips also are quite effective in preventing the onset to begin with.
If you follow these guidelines there is no reason you should not be able to pursue your activity without full force and vigor.
• When lifting, push air out against the abdominal wall, NOT down toward your anus.
• Stay hydrated during exercise.
• Ensure clothing choices don’t irritate the area (this is of particular importance for endurance or high-repetition athletes).
• Eat a diet high in fiber and increase fat intake (heart-healthy fats) to make a softer stool.
• Stay hydrated in general to soften stool.
• Avoid or thoroughly chew roughage, such as almonds or other nuts (this will severely aggravate existing conditions if irritated).
Reduce salt intake to reduce swelling.
• Don’t strain/push while going to the bathroom.
• Don’t hold it when you need to go.
• Take a warm bath or a sitz bath (Only needs to be 2-4” deep to rest your bum in).
• Use moist toilettes to wipe.
• Don’t use over the counter anti-inflammatory such as aspirin or ibuprofen.
• See your doctor for any severe case or a persistent case that won’t diminish after two weeks.
These simple steps are highly effective in dealing with the symptoms of hemorrhoids, and many can be used as preventative measures as well. I can personally attest to the effectiveness of these methods as a strength athlete with hemorrhoids. By following these methods I am able to squat and deadlift over 700lbs on a weekly basis and rarely have any symptoms.
The writing of this article was prompted by all the social media posts I’ve seen talking about men’s mental health. Apparently November is men’s mental health month. That is unless you’re struggling with your own mental health issues. Then, every month, week, and day may very well be an ongoing struggle. Although throughout this article I’ll be referencing comparative data between men and women and differing demographics, the point is not to prop up men's suffering above women or anyone else for that matter. It’s simply there to elucidate the current state of men’s mental health, which is the central focus of this article. “Einstein is quoted as having said that if he had one hour to save the world he would spend fifty-five minutes defining the problem and only five minutes finding the solution” (1). This mentality exists in contrast to the current lack of awareness pertaining to the drivers of psychological ill-health. Social media and articles routinely discuss what to do if you’re depressed, anxious, suicidal, etc. But seldom does anyone discuss the complexity of the subject. Unfortunately, without truly understanding the issues that lead to ill-health it’s unlikely to come up with an effective solution and subsequent prevention strategies. Therefore the aim of this article is as follows:
Optimizing exercise range of motion to maximize muscle growth is a popular topic to discuss. As new research emerges, it often leaves you with more questions about the fundamental mechanisms and application of hypertrophy training. Mechanical tension is known as a primary driver of hypertrophy. Therefore it stands to reason that training a muscle through larger ranges of motion will create more tension, resulting in a greater hypertrophic stimulus. Although this makes sense at face value, it’s ultimately an unsatisfactory answer. At deeper levels of analysis, mechanical tension alone (or at least our current model) can not explain some of the observed outcomes we see both in the literature and anecdotally. The aim of this article is to provide a brief review of the topic, provide context to the ROM discussion, and offer practical recommendations to implement into your own training.