Hemorrhoids During Pregnancy does not have to be a big deal if you make some simple lifestyle changes. It is common to develop hemorrhoids while being pregnant as there are many changes taking place in the expectant mother’s body. It can be a troublesome and painful condition at a time that should be filled with anticipation and excitement. The good news is that in most cases, the hemorrhoids will disappear after the baby is born. In the meantime, you can make some changes to your diet and daily routines which can help alleviate some or all or your discomfort. Developing in the anal and rectal area, hemorrhoids are small cushions of tissue which contain enlarged veins. They are often called piles, derived from a Latin word for ball because that is what they resemble—a small ball. Hemorrhoids are usually first noticed as bleeding during a bowel movement. The bleeding may be slight and show up only on the toilet paper, or it may be more noticeable as bright red blood in the toilet bowl. As the hemorrhoids worsen, you may experience itching, burning, and pain. With any rectal bleeding, you should see your doctor for a diagnosis to rule out other conditions and to make sure you have hemorrhoids.
Why hemorrhoids develop during pregnancy
During pregnancy, your body is circulating more blood and pressure from the growing uterus, causes the veins to become dilated in the rectal area. Women often develop hemorrhoids during the last trimester when the pressure is the greatest, or they can also result from the second stage of labor when you are pushing. Relieving hemorrhoids in pregnancy is often a matter of relieving constipation. Constipation is common in pregnancy because the amount of progesterone has increased in your body, contributing to the slowing down of your intestinal tract. Also, progesterone relaxes the walls of veins, allowing them to swell easier. Since the digestive action is slowed, more water is removed from the stool, making them hard and difficult to pass. Straining at a bowel movement is a major cause of hemorrhoids.
How can I relieve the constipation?
What will help relieve hemorrhoids in pregnancy?
- Use baby wipes or medicated hemorrhoid pads instead of dry toilet paper which irritates the anal area. Avoid rubbing the area and instead pat dry. Baby powder or corn starch on a cotton roll placed between the buttocks will also help to absorb excess moisture.
- Avoid sitting and standing for lengthy periods. Any position held for a long time will build up pressure. If your job requires you to sit, take a few minutes each hour to walk around. Especially, avoid sitting on the toilet for long stretches because it will create additional pressure on the hemorrhoids.
- Apply an ice pack to the anal area for 10 to 15 minutes several times a day. The cold will decrease the swelling and discomfort. Also, witch hazel can be applied to compresses and put on the area for a soothing effect.
- Soak your bottom in warm water in a tub (without soap) or sitz bath several times a day. A sitz bath can be bought at a drug store and placed on a toilet to soak your rectal area.
- Alternate between cold and warm treatments. Try first soaking in a tub or sitz bath, and then using an ice pack for relieving hemorrhoids in pregnancy.
- Use a topical cream made for hemorrhoids to ease the itching and burning around the anus. However, they should be used for only a week or less since they can lead to more inflammation.
Kegel exercises do help the circulation and muscle tone in the rectal area, and consequently, help relieve hemorrhoids in pregnancy. Also, muscles are strengthened around the vagina and urethra which helps bladder control, and toned muscles in this area will help you recover more quickly after your baby’s birth. Kegels are easy to do and can be performed anywhere without bringing attention to yourself. You simple tense the muscles in your vaginal and rectal area, and hold this position for 8 to 10 seconds, relax, and then repeat several times.
This is an exciting and wonderful time of your life to be planning for your new baby. You don’t want to be dealing with hemorrhoids. But by paying attention to your diet and adding more fiber to your meals, and drinking 8 to 10 glasses of water a day, you can overcome the constipation which often leads to hemorrhoids. Also, exercise daily with Kegels and other more physical routines. All these measures will help stop the formation of hemorrhoids. If you already have them, don’t despair; try using an ice pack, soaking in a tub or sitz bath, and using medicated wipes for relieving hemorrhoids in pregnancy.
Written by, Joy Seeman.
Harms, Roger W., M.D. (2007, November 3). Pregnancy week by week. Retrieved October 2, 2009, from MayoClinic.com: http://www.mayoclinic.com
Hemorrhoids. (2004, November). Retrieved October 2, 2009, from National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse: http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov
Hemorrhoids during pregnancy. (2006, June). Retrieved October 2, 2009, from babycenter: http://www.babycenter.com
Weiss, Robin Elise, LCCE. (n.d.). Pregnancy and Hemorrhoids. Retrieved October 2, 2009, from About.com: Pregnancy and Childbirth: http://www.pregnancy.about.com
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