Sitting with hemorrhoids can be challenging because all of the force comes directly down onto your anus. As a result, you are putting extra pressure on the area where your hemorrhoids reside.
Certain seating positions can cause more pain than others, prolonging your symptoms and making the problem worse. Below, you will see how to sit with hemorrhoids and how to treat the problem properly.
What Are Hemorrhoids?
Medically speaking, hemorrhoids are swollen veins in your rectum or anus. They can affect anyone, though the problem becomes more prevalent in older adults, with 1 in 2 people over 50 claiming to suffer from them.
What Are the Common Causes of Hemorrhoids in Most Adults?
Naturally, the cause of this problem is the swelling of the blood vessels and surrounding tissue inside the anal canal. Now, this doesn’t happen magically by itself – there are things that force this to happen.
A 2018 study looked at patients coming to a medical center complaining of hemorrhoids. Of these patients, the majority of them suffered from excessive straining when going to the toilet and constipation. A lot of them also had a chronic cough. Alongside this, there has been research into the topic of hemorrhoids and pregnancy, with a study from 2010 concluding that pregnant women were more likely to develop them than non-pregnant women.
All of these issues – constipation, straining, a chronic cough, and pregnancy – have one key thing in common. They all put extra pressure on the anal canal, forcing the muscles to work harder. Effectively, if you are straining a lot and using a lot of force in your anus, you are likely to develop hemorrhoids.
How to Sit With Hemorrhoids?
As mentioned in the introduction, sitting down with hemorrhoids is a big problem. All this pressure and force is bearing down on the anal area, exacerbating your symptoms. The issue gets worse if you suffer from prolapsed hemorrhoids – which are lumps that protrude outside of your anus. It is estimated through certain studies that only 6.3% of patients will have prolapsed hemorrhoids, but this could still be an issue you face.
To ease the pain when sitting down, you must remove some of the pressure on your anus. Here are some of the best ways to sit with hemorrhoids:
Sit on a Cushion
Primarily, you want to sit on a memory foam seat cushion. You can find these on many websites and they are often marketed for back pain. If you suffer from back pain you can place them behind you when you sit, but they’re also useful for sitting on.
By sitting on a cushion – it should be memory foam, by the way – you relieve a lot of pressure as your bum can sink into the cushion and relax. The fact it’s memory foam will mean it conforms to your body, cradling your buttocks and protecting it.
Sit With Your Legs Elevated Slightly
Elevating your legs while sitting down can also relieve pressure on your anus and tailbone. You shift the weight away from the area and allow for better distribution. A couple of good ways to sit with your legs elevated include:
- Sitting with your legs out on a footstool
- Sitting with a foam wedge under your thighs
- Sitting with a towel rolled up under your thighs if you don’t have a foam wedge
Don’t Use a Circular Cushion
You will see these advertised everywhere as excellent seat cushions for people with hemorrhoids. The theory behind them is that, with a hole in the middle, your bottom doesn’t touch the seat. Thus, less pressure is put on the area and you can see pain relief.
Unfortunately, the reality is the opposite. There was a study that looked at ring-shaped cushions and discovered that despite being devised to relieve symptoms, most people saw no difference or a worsening of their symptoms.
The reason for this is simple: the hole in the cushion actually means more pressure goes to your anus as it’s effectively just hanging out. There’s nothing under it to take the pressure off, and it can actually lead to prolapsed hemorrhoids.
What Is the Best Sitting Position for Hemorrhoids?
The overall best way to sit with hemorrhoids is as follows:
- With a memory foam cushion under your bum
- Elevating your legs slightly in the air
This is the optimal position to find relief from pain and discomfort.
Is It Better to Walk or Sit With Hemorrhoids?
Generally, walking is better than sitting with hemorrhoids. This is because a lack of physical activity can make hemorrhoids worse. There’s a study from Korea that surveyed hundreds of people with hemorrhoids and concluded that not regularly walking was one of the key risk factors.
Walking allows for better circulation while sitting down just puts continued pressure on your anus and might cause hemorrhoids to get worse. Sit down if you are in so much discomfort that you can’t walk, but don’t assume that you shouldn’t be walking around if you have hemorrhoids – it can actually help.
How to Treat Hemorrhoids?
Typically, hemorrhoids don’t require medical intervention and can be treated at home in the following ways:
- Apply a hemorrhoid cream to numb the symptoms
- Taking an Epsom salts bath
- Using Epsom salts paste
- Adjusting your diet to make it easier to go to the toilet
- Using a toilet stool to open up your anus and make it easier to pass solids
- Using laxatives to free up any constipation
When to See a Doctor?
See a doctor if you have tried all of the above solutions and see no changes in symptoms – or they are getting worse. Similarly, if your hemorrhoid is extremely painful or bleeds a lot, you should call a doctor to get it checked out.
Get Help From an Online Doctor!
You can receive a virtual consultation today with a qualified doctor if you download the DrHouse app. Getting help from an online doctor is much faster and could allow you to find the right treatment for your ailment.
Sitting on a memory foam cushion with your legs elevated is the optimal sitting position when you have hemorrhoids. Avoid ring-shaped cushions as they do more harm than good. Try to avoid sitting for long periods as well; walking is good for you and can help you find some relief.
- Lee JH, Kim HE, Kang JH, Shin JY, Song YM. Factors associated with hemorrhoids in korean adults: korean national health and nutrition examination survey. Korean J Fam Med. 2014 Sep;35(5):227-36. doi: https://www.doi.org/10.4082/kjfm.2014.35.5.227 . Epub 2014 Sep 24. PMID: 25309703; PMCID: PMC4192796.
- Ali, Faisal R., Ciaran Healy, Hemorrhoid cushions for chondrodermatitis nodularis helicis (CNH): Piling off the pressure, Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, Volume 75, Issue 2, e65 – e66, Available from: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaad.2016.03.014
- Cemal Kara, Alper Sozutek, Ismail Yaman, Semih Yurekli, Turker Karabuga, Ligation under vision in the management of symptomatic hemorrhoids: A preliminary experience, Asian Journal of Surgery, Volume 38, Issue 3, 2015, Pages 121-125, ISSN 1015-9584, Available from: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.asjsur.2014.11.001 .
- Vazquez JC. Constipation, hemorrhoids, and heartburn in pregnancy. BMJ Clin Evid. 2010 Aug 3;2010:1411. PMID: 21418682; PMCID: PMC3217736.
- RAVINDRANATH, G. G.; RAHUL, B. G.. Prevalence and risk factors of hemorrhoids: a study in a semi-urban centre. International Surgery Journal, [S.l.], v. 5, n. 2, p. 496-499, jan. 2018. ISSN 2349-2902. Available at: https://mail.ijsurgery.com/index.php/isj/article/view/2532
- Definition & Facts of Hemorrhoids, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Available from: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/hemorrhoids/definition-facts
DrHouse articles are written by MDs, NPs, nutritionists and other healthcare professionals. The contents of the DrHouse site are for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you are experiencing high fever (>103F/39.4C), shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, chest pain, heart palpitations, abnormal bruising, abnormal bleeding, extreme fatigue, dizziness, new weakness or paralysis, difficulty with speech, confusion, extreme pain in any body part, or inability to remain hydrated or keep down fluids or feel you may have any other life-threatening condition, please go to the emergency department or call 911 immediately.