Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Anal Side of Exercise

Okay, sometimes, we need to talk about some serious issues around exercise. It's not all "Work out and your life would be great". What am I talking about? If you have been doing intense or extreme workouts for a while, especially running, you may have had a couple of worrisome experiences by now involving you and your poo. Yes, I'm talking about blood down there.

This may cause concern and even shame, but apparently, if you have been experiencing any sort of rectal bleeding post-workout, you are not alone. Per the Running Times Magazine, approximately 17 percent of runners experience rectal bleeding in different forms after training. It may be in the form of diarrhea, or just swelling and sensitivity (and of course a dash of blood).

This form of bleeding, when it happens infrequently and goes away when you are not training, is usually not serious. However, just as with any physical condition, please consult with your doctor if you are concerned.

So what is the reason for this anyway? What does physical motion have to do with our butt? Usually, when you work out, your blood flows to the areas where it is most needed, like your muscles. This just means that other areas, like the colon, don't get as much blood flow as they normally would. This can cause the superficial lining of the colon to start to shed, causing bleeding.

If you lift weights a lot, this activity can also increase pressure in your rectal muscles. This pressure can cause swelling and sensitivity. Continuous pressure in the rectal area can lead to hemorrhoids, which as you know, can cause bleeding in the anal area. 

These are usually the most common causes of rectal bleeding, and should not cause major concern because they are not persistent, and pass by after a day or so without medical intervention. However, there are more severe causes as well, including intestinal issues, issues with your digestive tract, and even cancer. And so, please please please, if any bleeding or discomfort persists, please consult your doctor immediately. Even if you find it isn't serious in the end, it is best to know.

Of course, just as with any bad physical issue in this life, it occurs more frequently in women than in men. So if you are a woman, pay particular attention to your body, and take note of any unusual issues noted during or after exercise.

Cheers Eights & Weights!

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