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Can You Get Hemorrhoids from Sitting for a Long Time?

In our current digital age, most adults spend a lot of time sitting in front of a computer. In addition, many of us have been working from home since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in an increased amount of sitting.

If your hemorrhoids flared up during this time, your sedentary lifestyle may be the culprit. Learn how excess sitting affects your hemorrhoids and how to combat them with a healthy lifestyle. 

Working from Home and COVID

Studies conducted in 2021 found that a third of all households were working from home more frequently due to COVID.1

Since working from home removes any commute, individuals working from home are typically less active. According to a survey conducted by Preparation H, Americans are sitting an average of four additional hours daily, with 18% of Americans sitting a whopping seven hours more than they were before COVID.2

Unfortunately, increasing the time we spend seated has come with unexpected health problems. Three out of five Americans report feeling new aches and pains due to their lack of physical activity, including physical pain, constipation and hemorrhoids.2

In addition to sitting at a desk, Americans are also spending more time on the toilet. Since the beginning of the pandemic, 50% of men, 30% of women and one in four Americans report sitting on the toilet longer at home than they would at the office.2

Prolonged Sitting and Hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids—swollen veins in you lower rectum—form when the veins in your anus enlarge and stretch due to excess strain.3 Sitting for a long time without taking a break can increase the pressure around your lower rectum and result in constipation and hemorrhoids.3

Sitting on the toilet for a long time can be even harder on your lower extremities; it puts additional pressure on your anus, causes the blood to pool in that area and exacerbates hemorrhoids. If you’re straining on the toilet due to constipation, this puts a large strain on your lower rectum and interrupts blood flow to and from the adjacent veins.3,4

This increased time spent seated can exacerbate hemorrhoid symptoms, so it’s important to break things up with some physical activity.

How Much Exercise Do We Need Each Day?

Moderate aerobic exercise, such as taking a brisk walk every day, can help stimulate bowel movements and relieve discomfort.4 Experts recommend completing 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity every week.5 Small bursts of activity throughout the day are helpful and add up to provide greater benefits. Brisk walking, biking and mowing the lawn are all great ways to squeeze in some exercise as well.5

Even if you get plenty of exercise, it’s important to reduce your overall sitting time for your long-term health and longevity. If you’re short on time, taking quick breaks throughout the day still provides benefits.

For example, if you can’t take a 30-minute walk, take a few five-minute walks throughout the day instead. Remember that a small amount of movement is better than none.

Check out the following tips for small changes you can make to stay active.5

How to Stay Active

If you want to spend less time sitting but you don’t have time to formally join a gym, get active throughout your workday with these small lifestyle changes:6

  • Set a reminder on your phone to take a walking or stretching break every 30 minutes.
  • Place your laptop on a stand or box so you can work while standing.
  • Pace around the room while taking calls.
  • Go for a walk when you’re taking a coffee or tea break.
  • Limit your screen time.
  • Engage in more active tasks and hobbies.
  • Avoid sitting for long periods of time in front of the TV.
  • Stand up and move around during commercial breaks.
  • Use the stairs when possible.
  • Do various types of housework.
  • Go for a walk every day.

Armed with these tips and tricks, try to incorporate more movement into your day. If your hemorrhoid discomfort is currently flared up, find relief with our fast-acting products, including creams, wipes, gels, sprays and more.

Explore more posts like this one on our Preparation H blog and learn how to treat your hemorrhoids effectively. 

Woman sitting at desk looking uncomfortable

SOURCES:

  1. Working From Home During the Pandemic. U.S. Census Bureau. https://www.census.gov/library/stories/2021/03/working-from-home-during-the-pandemic.html. Accessed 8/15/22.
  2. Survey Reveals Increased Time Sitting at Home During the Pandemic Has Been a Pain in the Butt … Literally (Preparation H Study). CISION. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/survey-reveals-increased-time-sitting-at-home-during-the-pandemic-has-been-a-pain-in-the-butt--literally-301161729.html. Accessed 8/15/22.
  3. Hemorrhoids - Symptoms and causes. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hemorrhoids/symptoms-causes/syc-20360268. Accessed 8/15/22.
  4. Hemorrhoids and what to do about them. Harvard Health. https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/hemorrhoids_and_what_to_do_about_them. Accessed 8/15/22.
  5. Exercise: How much do I need every day? Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/expert-answers/exercise/faq-20057916. Accessed 8/15/22.
  6. Why we should sit less. NHS. https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/exercise-guidelines/why-sitting-too-much-is-bad-for-us/. Accessed 8/15/22. 

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