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At least once in your adult life, you may develop hemorrhoids. Fortunately, there are exercises you can do to help treat and prevent these swollen veins located around or in your anus.

Regular exercise can also help improve your digestive health and encourage regular bowel movements.

Read on to discover six exercises that target your rectal tissues along with your abdominal and sphincter muscles to relieve swelling and inflammation. We’ll also review home remedies and lifestyle tips you can use to help treat and manage your symptoms.

These six exercises can help treat and prevent hemorrhoids.

1. Pelvic floor contraction

Strengthening your pelvic floor muscles can make it easier to pass stool, relax your anal sphincter, and prevent straining.

  1. Lie on your back or sit.
  2. Contract your anal muscles as though you’re stopping yourself from passing gas.
  3. Hold this contraction for 5 seconds.
  4. Relax for 10 seconds.
  5. Repeat 5 times.
  6. Repeat, but use only half your strength.
  7. Squeeze and relax the muscles as fast as you can.
  8. Continue for as long as possible.
  9. Do this sequence 2 to 4 times throughout the day.

2. Deep breathing

This exercise helps alleviate pelvic floor muscle tension and promote relaxation.

  1. Sit up straight and place your hands above your waist on either side of your lower rib cage.
  2. With each inhale, breathe deeply into your abdomen, allowing your belly to expand.
  3. With each exhale, draw your navel toward your spine.
  4. Continue for up to 5 minutes.

3. Child’s Pose (Balasana)

This pose helps increase circulation around your anus and relieve constipation while relaxing your lower back, hips, and legs. It’s said to provide a massage to your internal organs. To increase the pressure to your lower abdomen, place your fists or stacked palms on this area.

  1. Start on your hands and knees.
  2. Sit back, placing your hips on your heels.
  3. Extend your arms in front of you or relax them alongside your body.
  4. Rest in this position for up to 5 minutes.

4. Legs Up-the-Wall Pose (Viparita Karani)

This asana can boost circulation to your anus while alleviating discomfort and irritation.

  1. Sit with your right side next to a wall.
  2. Place your legs up on the wall and lie down on your back.
  3. Place your arms in any comfortable position or give yourself a gentle abdominal massage.
  4. Hold this position for up to 15 minutes.

5. Wind-Relieving Pose (Pawanmuktasana)

This pose provides pressure to your abdomen, which can help improve digestive comfort. It also helps relax the muscles in your abdomen, buttocks, and anus. To deepen the stretch, raise your head and tuck your chin into your chest.

  1. Lie on your back.
  2. Bend one or both knees and draw them in in toward your chest.
  3. Place your hands around your shins, clasping your hands or holding opposite elbows.
  4. Hold this position for up to 1 minute.

6. Bound Angle Pose (Baddha Konasana)

This pose can strengthen and improve flexibility in your inner thighs, groin, and knees. It can also help stimulate your abdominal organs and soothe digestive discomfort.

  1. Sit with your sitting bones on a cushion, block, or folded blanket.
  2. Place the soles of your feet together and your knees out wide.
  3. Interlace your fingers around your pinky toes as you lengthen your spine.
  4. Stay in this position for up to 1 minute.

Avoid strenuous or high impact types of exercise, especially those that put pressure on your abdominals, anal area, or hemorrhoids. These types of activities may make your symptoms worse and cause pain, irritation, or bleeding.

Exercises to avoid include:

  • situps
  • squats and similar movements
  • weightlifting
  • cycling
  • horseback riding
  • rowing

You can use some home remedies and lifestyle tips to treat and prevent hemorrhoids. These tips can also help you have regular bowel movements.

  • Stay active with cardiovascular exercise such as treadmill or elliptical training, swimming, and jogging.
  • Keep the affected area dry and clean. Pat dry or use a hair dryer.
  • When possible, sit on a pillow or cushion.
  • Use over-the-counter (OTC) topical treatments such as a hydrocortisone or hemorrhoid cream.
  • Use witch hazel, aloe vera, or a numbing ointment containing lidocaine to soothe the affected area.
  • Soak in a sitz bath for 15 to 20 minutes at a time. Do this a few times per day or after you have a bowel movement.
  • Take an Epsom salt bath or apply an Epsom salt paste.
  • Use warm water to clean your anal area while bathing or showering. Avoid using soap.
  • In place of toilet paper, use water or wet wipes.
  • Use a cold compress or a towel-wrapped ice pack.
  • Avoid standing or sitting for extended periods. This includes sitting on the toilet.
  • Take OTC pain relievers such as acetaminophen, aspirin, or ibuprofen.
  • Avoid straining or holding your breath while passing stool.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Eat plenty of high fiber foods, including fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  • Take an OTC stool softener.
  • Wear loose-fitting clothing made of natural fibers.
  • Establish a regular bowel routine and go to the bathroom as soon as you experience the urge.
  • Try to manage your stress to help improve your digestive health.

While you can treat hemorrhoids on your own, it’s important to pay attention to certain symptoms that could call for a doctor’s appointment.

See a doctor if your hemorrhoids don’t get better after a week of treatment or if you experience bloody stools or rectal bleeding. Your doctor will determine if the bleeding is from hemorrhoids or a more serious condition.

Rectal bleeding can happen due to colorectal or anal cancer, especially if it’s accompanied by changes in your bowel habits, including the color and consistency of your stools.

If you have a hemorrhoid that develops rapidly or is extremely painful, it could be a sign of a blood clot that has developed inside. For the most relief, you must remove the clot within the first 48 hours.

Seek emergency care immediately if you:

  • experience severe or long lasting rectal bleeding
  • feel light-headed, dizzy, or faint
  • have anal pain that gets worse, spreads, or comes with fever, chills, or anal discharge

Whether you have hemorrhoids for the first time or recurring flare-ups, you can manage your symptoms and prevent future occurrences with changes to your diet, exercise plan, and lifestyle.

Talk to a doctor to determine if there are any underlying causes for your hemorrhoids and to discuss an appropriate treatment plan.