Anal sex and hemorrhoids: myths and facts
Sexual practices that involve the anus are overshadowed by a great taboo. It is not a subject that everyone wants to talk about, but it is one that many of them have doubts about and it is not always easy to find the answers.
Among the negative aspects that are attributed to anal penetration are the possible damage to health that it would bring, mainly a fairly common evil in the population: hemorrhoids.
What are hemorrhoids?
Also popularly called piles, hemorrhoids are inflamed veins that are located in the rectum and/or anus. Its main causes are constipation (directly related to a low-fiber diet), spending a lot of time sitting or standing, obesity, and pregnancy or childbirth.
Hemorrhoids can be external or internal. The external ones are visible because they form bumps that protrude from the skin of the anus, while the internal ones are not visible, but they are just as annoying.
Since hemorrhoid disease can come and go depending on conditions (for example, if the person’s diet improves), there are no exact data on its frequency. However, some studies have estimated that from 4% to 86% of the population have ever suffered from the symptoms of this problem.
The main discomforts due to hemorrhoids are pain, itching, bleeding and burning, and they increase when the person goes to the bathroom to evacuate or if they have to sit for a long time. Of course, receiving anal penetration can also exacerbate the symptoms.
Care for sex
Proctology (or coloproctological) is the branch of medicine that addresses problems of the colon, rectum, and anus. Specialists in this field agree that anal sex is not a cause of hemorrhoids, but other injuries can arise when the practice is not carried out carefully.
Anal sex requires proper preparation, as the sphincter needs to relax enough to receive pain-free penetration. In addition, it must be remembered that the rectum is a very poorly lubricated area, so using a water-based or silicone-based intimate lubricant is essential to facilitate penetration.
Of course, the condom is also an essential tool to enjoy an anal sex session, since it prevents the exchange of fluids and is also a barrier to bacteria that are frequently found in that area. The sexual act itself involves friction, so the rectal tissue can suffer micro-lesions that are an open door for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as HIV and many others.
Although this type of sexual practice does not cause hemorrhoids, it can cause other medical problems, such as anal fissures. This happens when the internal mucosa that lines the anus suffers a small tear or wound, and it can happen when the penetration is very intense or if there is not enough lubricant, although it also sometimes happens when trying to evacuate stools that are too hard or dry. Anal fissures usually require a medical consultation due to the intense pain they cause and the risk of infection.
If I have hemorrhoids, goodbye to anal sex?
Not necessarily. Although some doctors advise against this practice in those who already have hemorrhoids, everything will depend on their severity, and to find out about it you must go to a consultation.
Anal intercourse can exacerbate the discomfort, mainly pain and inflammation, so it is recommended not to continue this activity if you have very severe symptoms. In that case, it’s time to look into the sexual repertoire and be intimate in ways other than anal penetration.
The good news is that, based on research, most people get better hemorrhoid symptoms by making lifestyle changes like:
• Consume foods rich in fiber, such as green vegetables.
• Consume dietary fiber supplements
• Consume enough water during the day
• Take breaks every two hours from standing or sitting
If the discomfort is very severe or if it does not subside despite these modifications, surgery to remove the hemorrhoids may be required, or perhaps a non-surgical procedure, such as placing an internal mesh to prevent the veins from bulging.
Remember that anal sex is one of the practices that implies the greatest risk for the transmission of STIs, and that using the condom properly reduces this risk to a minimum. If you want to get free condoms, go to AHF Latin America and the Caribbean. We also do free HIV testing. Locate our offices in your country and make your appointment today.