Obesity affects more than one-third of all American adults, and is associated with numerous additional health problems, including type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, infertility, sleep apnea, heart disease, and more. If you are considered overweight or clinically obese, you may also be at higher risk for developing hemorrhoids.
Hemorrhoids are highly common in obese individuals as a result of having excess weight, or pressure constricting the veins and blood vessels surrounding your anus and colon. Those who carry more excess weight in their abdominal regions are at even higher the risk for developing hemorrhoids.
In addition to having excess weight constrict blood vessels in the anal region, overweight individuals may be more susceptible to developing hemorrhoids as a result of poor nutrition and from lacking fiber in their diets. Those who do suffer from hemorrhoids can significantly lower their risk for this health condition by increasing fiber intake, drinking more water, and exercising regularly.
Consuming a diet high in fiber can help improve digestion and soften stools, reducing the risk for hemorrhoids by creating easier, more comfortable bowel movements without constipation. Since many overweight individuals tend to eat diets high in fat, sugar, and salt, they tend to have more problems with constipation and hemorrhoids due to lack of fiber. Lack of fiber can lead to hardened stools and straining during bowel movements, which can worsen existing hemorrhoids or cause new hemorrhoids to develop.
An additional benefit associated with increasing fiber intake is that fiber can make you feel full for longer periods of time, which is ideal if you’re also trying to lose weight. The best way to increase your fiber intake is to consume plenty of fruits and vegetables with every meal, all throughout the day.
Fiber has the ability to bind itself to water, which means that the more water you drink, the more efficiently your body will be able to flush waste through your intestines and out of your body. Aim for between six to eight glasses of water per day or more depending on your usual level of physical activity. Additionally, try to lower your intake of sugary drinks such as soda, fruit juice, sweet tea, and energy drinks. The more sugar you consume, the more problems you may encounter with constipation and hemorrhoids.
Just like fiber and water, exercise has the ability to push toxins and waste out of your body naturally. Exercise in general is effective at building and maintaining muscles, including those that reside in your anal lining and intestinal tract. Engage in at least 30 minutes of exercise on most days of the week, and do strength training exercise two or three days per week.
If you’re feeling constipated, engaging in physical activity can often help trigger a bowel movement. If exercise is typically painful or comfortable as a result of your carrying excess weight, start small to avoid injury. Park farther away from shopping venues, take stairs instead of the escalator or elevator, and spend time playing games and sports with friends and family members.
Consult with your health care provider prior to starting a new fitness routine. Your doctor may recommend ideal types of exercises for you based on your current weight and medical history.
CarePoint Health provides patients with care delivered by the area’s best and most dedicated doctors, nurses, hospitals and medical staff, with focus on preventive medicine, health care education, and disease management. To learn more about gastrointestinal health, contact CarePoint Health at 1-877-791-7000 or request an appointment online at our website.
Content on our website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, please call 911. Always consult your physician before making any changes to your medical treatment.