The first week of June marks Bike Week, hosted by Cycling UK. Since the pandemic, cycling has significantly increased in popularity. While this is great in terms of both our health and the environment, those suffering with piles may find it exacerbates the condition.
Here, we will look at what causes piles, whether cycling makes them worse, and the various treatment options available.
What causes piles?
The exact cause of piles, or haemorrhoids, isn’t currently known. However, they develop due to swollen blood vessels.
Some of the things known to lead to the development of piles include:
- Frequent heavy lifting
- Straining when relieving the bowels
- A low-fibre diet
- Chronic constipation or diarrhoea
- Sitting on the toilet for prolonged periods of time
These are some of the main causes which can lead to the veins around the anus stretching and bulging. There are also known risk factors which could increase your likelihood of developing them. These include older age, obesity and pregnancy.
Could cycling make them worse?
While cycling isn’t a cause of piles, it can certainly aggravate them. That isn’t to say you can’t enjoy cycling when you have piles, it just means you may need to take measures to make it more comfortable.
Adjusting your seat is a great tip you can follow. There are different types of seats you can invest in and some will be more comfortable than others. You should also make sure the seat is in the correct position. Ideally, it should either be a little tilted, or level.
If you still experience pain when riding, consider investing in padded shorts. However, if they still cause pain or discomfort, you may want to have a short break from cycling until the piles clear up.
Your treatment options
For smaller, milder haemorrhoids there are several ways you can help to ease the symptoms, including drinking plenty of water. You will also find switching to a high-fibre diet can help to loosen the stools, making it more comfortable to go to the toilet.
If the piles don’t clear up, you may need surgical help. There are a number of surgical options, but the Rafaelo procedure tends to be one of the most effective. It is also less painful than traditional haemorrhoidectomy.
Mr Woodward specialises in the Rafaelo technique to treat grade 2 and grade 3 haemorrhoids with radio frequency ablation. This is a safe, quick and less invasive treatment option that can be performed under a local anaesthetic.
If haemorrhoids are causing a lot of pain or discomfort, during cycling or not, call 03000 204 734 to book a consultation with Mr Woodward. You can speak in confidence and discuss the best treatment options for you.