Horse riding leads to hemorrhoids: myth or truth?

The more time one spends on the saddle, the more odd things happen to our body: toes that break out in blisters, chafed knees, hardness or sores in the fingers from the reins...  But none are more uncomfortable and terrifying than seeing blood in the toilet bowl during or after a riding session. Don't panic! We are here to help.

Hemorrhoids is a condition where the veins around the anus or lower rectum become painful, swollen, inflamed and may itch or bleed. 

Here’s the good news:

Contrary to what most people think, horse riding is not directly related to causing hemorrhoids. Horseback riding is indirectly linked to hemorrhoids, as it can be a contributing factor to further aggravating or causing additional deterioration in existing hemorrhoids.

Obviously, sitting on a saddle for a long period of time with painful, inflamed hemorrhoids is neither comfortable nor helpful to resolving the situation. When sitting on the saddle, blood flow to the anal region is substantially reduced and there is also friction. Horse riding itself does not cause hemorrhoids to develop in an otherwise healthy anus, but it definitely can aggravate an existing condition.

Like any other injury, hemorrhoid flare-ups need to heal before getting on the saddle again. Here is a phrase that might guide you through troubled times, bringing you back to self-care: “If it hurts, don't do it”.

Fortunately most cases of hemorrhoids settle within a few days, and only rarely do they require further treatment. Home treatment includes over-the-counter creams, ointments, suppositories, or pads, which contain witch hazel or hydrocortisone. Other home remedies that offer some relief are using an ice pack over the area for 15-20 minutes or soaking in a warm bath for a similar amount of time.

To keep symptoms at bay, managing dehydration is key. Drinking at least 2,5 liters of water per day (more if hot weather or intense training). Riders with symptomatic hemorrhoids may also find pre-medicating with Tylenol or Ibuprofen before riding can help reduce pain, discomfort and swelling. Our padded underwear will also aleviate the pain, reducing the friction, keeping the bacteria in line due to the bacteriostatic treatement of the pads as well as the sweat and humidity due to its breathable properties.  If symptoms reoccur, or if they do not improve over several weeks, it’s best to make a visit to the doctor.  There are also topical applications that your doctor can recomend to use before riding.

For your riding sake, take care of your intimate health!