Being pregnant is a wonderful and special time in our lives and it represents also a special or unique state that our body goes through. The end result is a wonder – a sweet little child that we await so much. To make this happen our body goes through several changes and transformations to make this all possible and related to that there are also challenges. Some of them are added body weight, pressure, straining and challenges in blood flow. These all are key components for raising the probability for the formation of Hemorrhoids.
What are hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids are an annoying issue causing pain and itching in the rectal area, also discomfort by sitting and moving. When you don`t deal with the symptoms, hemorrhoids may develop further and there may also be bleeding. Hemorrhoids, in general, are a common issue, but due to special conditions, women are more likely to get them during pregnancy.
Why are hemorrhoids more common during pregnancy?
The reason why we are more receptive to hemorrhoids during pregnancy is that your uterus is growing and that puts pressure on the pelvic veins and on the large vein on the right side of the body that receives blood from the lower limbs. This pressure can slow the return of blood from the lower half of your body increasing the pressure on the veins below your uterus and causing them to become more dilated or swollen.
As also mentioned above: added weight, pressure and straining are the key causes for developing hemorrhoids.
When this swollen hemorrhoid tissues enlarges, weakens, and come free of its supporting structure it will form a sac-like bulge on the inside wall of the anus or lower rectum area. Hemorrhoids may become the size of a pea or grape.
How do you know you have hemorrhoids?
Pregnant women who are suffering from hemorrhoids may experience itching, burning, uncomfortability, pain and less frequently rectal bleeding.
There can occur two types of hemorrhoids during pregnancy – internal and external. Internal hemorrhoids can cause painless bleeding, recognized by light-colored blood in your stool or on your toilet paper after wiping. Sometimes, these internal hemorrhoids can protrude.
If you feel soft swollen masses in your rectal area when wiping then you have external hemorrhoids. These can cause painful, hard lumps around your rectum.
What can you do to prevent hemorrhoids during pregnancy:
You are more susceptible to hemorrhoids when pregnant, but they are not inevitable. Here are some ways to ward them off – or get rid of them if you do get them:
- Don’t wait when you have to go to the toilet: try not to strain when you’re moving your bowels, and don’t linger on the toilet because it puts pressure on the area.
- Go walking and do Kegel exercises daily: Kegels increase circulation in the rectal area and strengthen the muscles around the anus, decreasing the chance of hemorrhoids. They also strengthen and tone the muscles around the vagina and urethra, which can help your body recover after you give birth. Read here.
- Avoid constipation: eat a high-fiber diet (plenty of whole fruits, vegetables, beans and grains etc), drink plenty of water (eight to ten glasses a day), and if you already have constipation, ask your midwife about using a fiber supplement or stool softener.
- Avoid sitting or standing for long periods. If your job involves sitting, get up and move around for a few minutes every hour or so. At home, lie on your left side when sleeping, reading, or watching TV to take the pressure off your rectal veins and help increase blood return from the lower half of your body.
What else can you do to get relief?
- Apply an ice pack with a soft covering to the affected area several times a day. Ice may help decrease discomfort and swelling. Some women find cold compresses saturated with witch hazel to be soothing.
- Soak your bottom in warm water. You can buy a sitz bath and use it for 10 to 15 minutes a few times each day. Sitz bath is a small plastic basin that you fill with water and position over your toilet, allowing you to submerge your rectal area simply by sitting down. FIND IT HERE.
- Clean gently but thoroughly the affected area after each bowel movement. Use unscented and soft toilet tissue, which causes less irritation. Try to avoid colored, scented varieties. Moistening the tissue can help too. Many women find using premoistened wipes more comfortable than using toilet tissue.
Will hemorrhoids affect your baby?
It is not proven that hemorrhoids can affect your baby. Every person is different and getting hemorrhoids depends much on the physiology and habits of every individual. Hemorrhoids during pregnancy are often related to the additional pressure and mostly disappear after childbirth.
How long do pregnancy hemorrhoids last?
In most cases, the swollen veins shrink back to their normal size after your baby is born, as the blood volume and hormone levels go down gradually after delivery. During and after pregnancy it may be necessary to relieve the symptoms or prevent hemorrhoids developing further.
When to see a doctor?
It will be necessary to see your doctor or midwife if the bleeding is very excessive, the blood very dark or you have very intense pain as this may refer to a very severe grade of hemorrhoids or some other disease. But usually you do not need to see a doctor as hemorrhoids aren`t particularly harmful, mostly they are just very unpleasant and an annoying issue. Important is to deal with hemorrhoids symptoms right away. When leaving them unattended the symptoms may get worse and more painful as they will develop into a more severe state. Natural treatment, home remedies, and proper behavior will usually help you to relieve the pain, heal the causes and help you to get rid of hemorrhoids! For more information read also our: Complete guide to holistic hemorrhoids treatment.