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Anal Sex and Hemorrhoids / Hemroids

Anal Sex and Hemorrhoids / Hemroids Introduction

Anal sex rates as one of the most controversial subjects in the world. Some people denounce it as an abomination, some hold it up as the greatest thing ever. The point of this web page is not to judge either way.

Both men and women participate in anal sex. According to reports on sexuality, about 25% of heterosexuals in the United States have tried the practice and one in twelve do it on a regular basis. By contrast, about 61% of homosexual males reported participation.

Many people participate in anal sex without knowing the risks they take, the specific acts to avoid or the potential for long term health effects. People who engage in anal sex DO take some significant risks, including hemorrhoids, rectal prolapse, incontinence, anal fissures and higher chances of infection. There are ways to avoid most of these risks however, so it is important to educate yourselves.

Page Contents:
Anal Sex and Hemorrhoids / Hemroids Introduction
How Could Anal Sex Cause Hemorrhoids?
Anal Sex and Hemorrhoids / Hemroids and Safety
Anal Sex and Hemorrhoids / Hemroids and Infection
Anal Sex and Hemorrhoids / Hemroids and Lubrication
Anal Sex and Hemorrhoids / Hemroids and Speed and Force
Communication about Anal Sex and Hemorrhoids / Hemroids
Anal Sex and Hemorrhoids / Hemroids - When Not To Do It At All
Anal Sex and Hemorrhoids / Hemroids in Conclusion
Anal Sex and Hemorrhoids / Hemroids References

How Could Anal Sex Cause Hemorrhoids?

The system of tissue, muscle, bone and tendon that allow the intestinal system to finish its job are quite complex. The anorectal canal is supported within the body by both muscles and tendons. Blood filled cushions line the bottom end of this canal, allowing the body to move, stretch and bend without damage to the canal itself. These cushions also help with anal sphincter control and signal the body when a bowel movement is necessary.

Anal sphincter muscles are not very strong. They are also easily damaged. The hemorrhoidal blood cushions help protect these muscles and those of the pelvic floor from tearing. These cushions are filled with balloon-like veins. When necessary, the veins swell to make the cushions bigger and capable of absorbing more shock. After the need has passed, the veins usually go back down to normal.

Internal hemorrhoids originate from these cushions when the veins swell so large they can't go back down.

Chronic abdominal strain and chronic anal irritation are the two root causes behind most hemorrhoids, and anal sex gives an ample amount of both.

  • First, whenever the body senses something within the anorectal canal, it tries to push that object out. It's a reflex and it allows normal feces elimination to work. Much of that "pushing" comes from the abdominal muscles, which forces blood down into the hemorrhoidal cushions.

  • Second, the normal function of the anal sphincter is to allow a bowel movement, not to be rubbed against for a long period of time. If you rub your hand rapidly back and forth across a rough surface, the tissue will swell due to irritation. Anal sex irritates the anal sphincter and anorectal canal in the exact same way.

Anal sex hemorrhoids and anorectal damage usually happen due to badly performed anal sex. There are no studies that indicate any anal damage at all when the practice is done correctly, but most people who do it don't take the time to learn enough about safety.

Why doesn't vaginal sex irritate the vagina?

There are a couple of reasons for this, one of which is that the vagina produces its own lubrication. Another reason is that the tissues of the vagina are a lot tougher than the tissues of the anorectal canal, and the vaginal canal itself is bigger. The female organs evolved to allow sexual intercourse, childbirth and all of the physical strains that come with both. The anorectal canal did not.

 

Anal Sex, Hemorrhoids / Hemroids and Safety

There are no 100% safe ways to perform anal sex. They don't exist, so if you want to be completely safe in terms of your sexual health, don't do it. However, there is a lot one can do to make it safer and reduce the risk of resulting hemorrhoids.

 

Anal Sex and Infection

The first is, of course, use a condom. There are a plethora of bacteria in the intestinal tract that live there permanently. They were never meant to live anywhere else.

This isn't an STD page, so we won't be getting into all of the nasty infections you could get.

However, everyone carries bacteria that cause disease, the anorectal canal is full of such disease causing bacteria, give them access to another part of your, or your partners body, and you are ripe for infection to set in.

 

Anal Sex, Hemorrhoids / Hemroids and Lubrication

To avoid the physical trauma that causes hemorrhoids, you have to take a bit of care.

The first rule is use plenty of water based lubrication. The anal canal does not produce any on its own, the glands just don't exist. Therefore, you must replace it entirely. Use enough to be messy about it. This helps to avoid the sheer irritation that generally cause hemorrhoids to start. It also helps avoid muscular damage to the anal sphincter.

Never use petroleum based lubricant, it dissolves condoms and it's an irritant unto itself. In addition, avoid lubricants with spermicide when participating in anal sex. The entire point of a spermicide is birth control, and birth is not a risk in this particular act. Spermicide does not kill off all the bacteria, it's an irritant and it can cause damage to the anal canal, particularly hemorrhoids.

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Anal Sex, Hemorrhoids / Hemroids and Speed and Force

Never get aggressive in anal sex. It is not the sexual act that one can get fast and heavy with.

Anal sex requires conscious control on the part of the receptive partner. This conscious control overrides the "push it out" reflex. Gaining such a level of control over bodily functions takes time and work. In addition, even if you override the reflex to begin with, fast or forceful movement will trigger it.

If you're trying to avoid hemorrhoids, prolapse, fissures or tearing you must be able to control this reflex or you'll create chronic abdominal strain. Therefore, it should always be done gently and slowly.

Never participate in anal sex if you've been drinking alcohol or taking any drug that could dull your sensitivity to pain. In order to avoid damage, you must be able to receive and process your body's pain signals. Pain is a useful tool, especially here. If it hurts, don't do it. If you can't tell that it hurts, don't do it.

 

Open Communication During Anal Sex helps prevent Hemorrhoids / Hemroids / Piles

Communication is vital to safety in anal intercourse. If you and your sexual partner don't communicate well about sex, don't try anal sex.

Both parties have to leave their pride, fear and hang ups at the door. The receptive partner has to feel confident enough to say "Don't do that, it hurts," and the providing partner has to be confident enough to not take this personally. This takes a lot of trust and a willingness to look at sex as a journey two people go on together, not a performance trial or a measure of self-worth. If this level of communication isn't present during anal sex, physical damage results including incontinence, muscle tearing, rectal prolapse and, last but not least, hemorrhoids.

Of course, there are also significant psychological damages to poor sexual communication no matter what sexual practice you're doing. These psychological damages can leave scars for decades after physical damage has healed, and it's not our intent to diminish them. However, this is a page about the risks of and safety procedures to avoid hemorrhoids and other physical damage during anal sex, so we're keeping our focus there.

 

Anal Sex and Hemorrhoids / Hemroids - When Not To Do It At All

Don't let anyone pressure you into doing any sexual practice, ever. If you don't like anal sex, don't do it. In anal sex, if you don't like it, are frightened or feel invaded, you will tense up. Tensing up will create the abdominal pressure that causes hemorrhoids and muscle damage. You can't stop your body from reacting against something you don't like.

In addition, do not participate in anal sex if one of you is ill. This includes a cold, the flu or any kind of illness. Do not participate in anal sex with anyone whom you know has a sexually transmitted disease. Condoms break more often during anal sex than during vaginal sex, so you're playing Russian roulette with your life.

Do not participate in anal sex if hygiene is an issue. Hygiene's already an issue, why make the problem worse?

And finally, as stated before, do not participate in anal sex if you want to be completely sexually safe. Anal sex carries far more health risks than vaginal sex. Because of the high blood supply and high white blood count of the anal region, HIV infection is far more likely in anal sex than vaginal sex. Because of the unique structure and purpose of the anorectal canal, hemorrhoids and other physical health problems are far more likely than with vaginal sex. In fact, it is medically impossible to get hemorrhoids in the vagina !

Vaginal sex isn't completely safe, either. Complete safety in vaginal sex requires a monogamous relationship between two people who have been verified disease free. Many a poor soul has found themselves with a life threatening infection given by a supposedly monogamous partner. However, vaginal sex is far more safe than anal sex. Consensual vaginal sex doesn't start hemorrhoids or produce tearing and muscle damage.

 

Anal Sex and Hemorrhoids / Hemroids in Conclusion

There is no scientific evidence that states anal sex and hemorrhoids always go together. Nor is there any scientific evidence that anal sex is, in and of itself, guaranteed to produce physical problems. However, it is a risky endeavor and people should be aware of the risks before participating in an act that can ruin both life and quality of life. Find out how to keep yourself safe and decide on the risks you are willing to take. Education is the key to enjoying a long, happy life.

 

Anal Sex and Hemorrhoids / Hemroids References

Anne-Christine d'Adesky, Expanding Microbicide Research in amfAR Global Link - Treatment Insider; May 2004

Center for Disease Control, Increases in Unsafe Sex and Rectal Gonorrhea Among Men Who Have Sex With Men -- San Francisco, California, 1994-1997

Chun AB, Rose S, Mitrani C, Silvestre AJ, Wald A: Anal sphincter structure and function in homosexual males engaging in anal receptive intercourse. Amer J of Gastroenterology 92:465-468, 1997

 

Research and main write by Loni L. Ice, editing by D. S. Urquhart.


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