Managing Piles During Air Travel: Tips and Considerations for a Comfortable Flight
Updated: May 3
Piles, also known as hemorrhoids, are a common condition that affects many people around the world. While they can be uncomfortable and painful, they are not usually a serious medical condition. However, for those who suffer from piles, air travel and being on an aeroplane can make the condition worse.
Piles are swollen veins in the anal canal or rectum that can cause discomfort, itching, and bleeding. They can be caused by a variety of factors, including constipation, pregnancy, obesity, and prolonged sitting. Air travel and being on an aeroplane can exacerbate these symptoms due to several factors.
One of the main reasons that air travel can worsen piles is due to the change in air pressure during the flight. When an aeroplane takes off, the air pressure in the cabin decreases, which can cause the veins in the anal canal to swell even more. This can lead to increased discomfort and pain for those with piles.
Another factor that can worsen piles during air travel is dehydration. The low humidity levels in the cabin can cause dehydration, which can lead to constipation and further aggravate the condition. It is essential to stay hydrated during air travel by drinking plenty of water and avoiding alcohol and caffeine.
Sitting for extended periods can also make piles worse. Air travel often involves sitting for long periods, which can put pressure on the veins in the anal canal and exacerbate the symptoms of piles. It is essential to take regular breaks and move around during the flight to alleviate the pressure and promote circulation.
Additionally, the food options available during air travel can also contribute to the worsening of piles. Many airline meals are high in salt and low in fiber, which can lead to constipation and further aggravate the condition. It is important to choose healthy food options and stay hydrated during the flight to avoid constipation.
There are several measures that those with piles can take to alleviate the symptoms during air travel. Firstly, it is essential to consult a healthcare professional before flying. They may recommend medication or other treatments to manage the symptoms of piles during the flight.
It is also important to choose the right seat on the aeroplane. Seats with extra legroom can provide more space to move around and reduce the pressure on the veins in the anal canal. It can also be helpful to bring a cushion or inflatable ring to sit on, which can provide added comfort and support during the flight.
Regular exercise and movement during the flight can also help alleviate the symptoms of piles. It is essential to take regular breaks and walk around the cabin to stretch the legs and promote circulation. Simple exercises, such as leg lifts and ankle circles, can also help improve blood flow and reduce the pressure on the veins in the anal canal.
In conclusion, piles can be a challenging condition to manage, especially during air travel and being on an aeroplane. The change in air pressure, dehydration, prolonged sitting, and unhealthy food options can all exacerbate the symptoms of piles. However, with proper preparation and management, those with piles can enjoy air travel without discomfort or pain. It is essential to consult a healthcare professional before flying and take measures such as choosing the right seat, staying hydrated, and taking regular breaks to alleviate the symptoms of piles during air travel.
Dr Sambit Patnaik is a minimal invasive, laser and robotic colorectal surgeon trained in India and abroad who runs Mumbai Piles Laser Clinic located at Chembur , Kurla, Tardeo and Charni Road for laser treatment of piles hemorrhoids anal fissure and anal fistula. Dr Sambit Patnaik practises in Dubai and Mumbai. He is also attached to many premier hospitals in Mumbai