The Big H

About four years ago, I went in for a colonoscopy. My doc said it was time, what with my age and all.

The buttologist had some good news: “No polyps,” he said. “But you’ve got hemorrhoids.”

Yeah…well, I didn’t need him to tell me that. I’ve had them on and off for years. They haven’t really increased since I’ve been biking, but they’re more noticeable.

Sometimes, I’ll finish a ride, and in just a few minutes I’m ready to grab the good ‘ol Preparation H. That works very well, by the way. But within a few days, I have to go for it again.

I wonder if biking has anything to do with it?

Not directly, apparently. I consulted the usual well-regarded online sources of medical info (Web MD, Mayo Clinic, etc.), and they all say one of the causes of hemorrhoids can be sitting for long periods of time. But the only kind of sitting they cite is sitting on the toilet. Sitting on a bike saddle isn’t mentioned — nor are other sitting activities, like sitting in an office chair, or a fishing boat, or at a card table. It’s the sitting that puts pressure on the veins that swell, causing hemorrhoids. I supposed sitting on a bike for several hours at a time would have an effect.

The medicos also recommend getting up and walking around periodically, to take the strain off the buttosky. Does standing to pedal count? I’m sure that stopping for a rest once in a while would work.

Well, it’s not something I’m going to get all worked up about. In my case, it’s not much of a problem, and as long as that Prep H is in the medicine cabinet, I’m good.

I wonder, though — does this sensitive subject affect any Bike Noob readers? Are you having more serious symptoms than I am? How are you dealing with it — if at all?


  1. Ashley says

    Uh, well, I get them occasionally, but it doesn’t seem to be related to cycling, only diet. Eating/drinking more fiber helps.

  2. says

    I had “two” Big H, operations in the last 15 years and they were PAINFUL and didn’t stop the H’s from coming back. Bicycling can irritate the externals (there are internals and external H’s) but usually a cleaning with a toliet style wet wipe will stop mine. It’s NO FUN to have these !@#$ things but there are ways to live with them and still RIDE! :)

  3. says

    I’ve experienced the “internals”. They are not painful but will cause much alarm(!) if you are not aware you have them since they bleed during your, ahem, morning constitutional. Have never had any issues with cycling except that the lack of proper hydration seems to cause flareups in a round about way.. without getting into TMI.

  4. Randy Ice PT, CCS says

    Try lots of Vitamin C and Horse Chestnut Extract to strengthen the walls of the veins, thereby shrinking the hemorrhoids.

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