Of all the things to have to deal with while you’re expecting, pregnancy hemorrhoids tops the list as the most dreaded.
Hemorrhoids are blood vessels in the bum that are swollen. They can be inside the rectum or they can protrude through the anus.
Hemorrhoids can vary from the size of a bean to the size of an olive or grape. Symptoms of hemorrhoids include irritation, itching, burning and sometimes pain. see also : Types of Discharge During Pregnancy : What, When, and How Much is Dangerous?
If you’ve never had hemorrhoids before, brace yourself, you may very well get them for the first time during pregnancy.
Just like with a lot of uncomfortable conditions, expecting moms are more prone to hemorrhoids. Pressure from your growing uterus and increased blood flow from your pelvis can cause the rectal wall veins to swell and itch.
In addition, your body produces more progesterone when you’re pregnant. This hormone relaxes the walls of your veins and makes them more prone to swelling.
Progesterone also causes the intestinal tract to slow down, which contributes to constipation. When you are constipated, you tend to strain to pass stools. This straining can eventually lead to hemorrhoids.
It is not uncommon to get hemorrhoids postpartum as a result of pushing during labor.
How can I Prevent Pregnancy Hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids are very common during pregnancy, especially during the last trimester. So no matter what you do, you may end up feeling the burn (literally).
Pregnancy hemorrhoids are not always inevitable. You can easily take measures to prevent them:
- Don’t get constipated. This is easier said than done. However, constipation is one of the primary reasons for hemorrhoids.
To avoid constipation, eat fiber-rich foods and drink plenty of water to keep the stools from getting hard and compact. Also, get plenty of exercise to help stimulate the bowels.
Foods rich in fiber include whole grains, fresh fruit and vegetable and beans. Try to drink at least 8 to 10 glasses of water each day. If you are active or overweight, you should drink more.
Get at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week. Appropriate exercises to do while you’re pregnant include brisk walking, light aerobics, dancing and stationary biking. Talk to your doctor before you engage in any exercise during pregnancy.
- Don’t strain to pass stools. When you sit on the toilet, try not to strain. If you can’t go, get up and try again later. Sitting on the commode straining will only put pressure on your blood vessels and cause hemorrhoids.
- Avoid sitting for too long. Prolonged sitting puts pressure on the veins in your anus and interferes with blood flow. If your lifestyle requires you to sit for long periods of time, get up every hour and move around.
How to Treat Pregnancy Hemorrhoids
If you get hemorrhoids while you’re pregnant, you can use the methods listed below to get some relief.
- Use a cool compress. A soft, cool rag placed on the affected area several times daily can ease inflammation and give you relief from the pain and burning hemorrhoids cause.
- Use a witch hazel compress. Soak a cotton ball with witch hazel and place it on the affected area for relief.
- Use unscented toilet tissue. Colored tissue and tissue with perfumes added can irritate hemorrhoids and make them worse.
- Use medicated wipes. If toilet tissue bothers you, opt for medicated wipes. These wipes are designed for people with hemorrhoids, so they’re gentler on the bum. You can find pre moistened, medicated wipes at most drug stores.
- Soak your buttocks in a warm sitz bath. Soaking in warm water several times a day will give you relief from your hemorrhoids.Sitz baths are small plastic tubs that fit right over the toilet. You can buy one of these baths from most drug stores. If you don’t have a sitz bath available, you can use the bathtub.
- Sleep on your side. Sleeping on your side instead of your back reduces the pressure on your rectal veins.
- Use petroleum jelly. Putting a bit of petroleum jelly on the affected area can cool the burn and make bowel movements easier.
- Use a topical anesthetic or medicated suppository. There are tons of topical products on the market that help relieve the burning, itching and pain of hemorrhoids.
Before you use an over the counter hemorrhoid medication while you’re pregnant, talk to your doctor so she can help you choose a safe brand.
If your hemorrhoids are accompanied by rectal bleeding, contact your health care provider. It may not be anything to worry about, but anytime you’re pregnant and you bleed from your rectal area, you should always see a doctor. see also : 5 Ways to Differentiate Between Pregnancy and Depression