We are going to assume that you already know what hemorrhoids are. If you don’t, all you really need to know is that they are swollen blood vessels which appear around the rectum. They can vary in size. Hemorrhoids in pregnancy are exceedingly common, and we are going to take a look at why that is the case on this page!
Why Are Hemorrhoids More Common in Pregnancy?
Well, there are several different reasons for it. Obviously, one of the main reasons as to why your risk of suffering from hemorrhoids is slightly higher is because you are going to be putting on weight. Look away from pregnancy, and you will see that the main contributing factor in most hemorrhoid sufferers is excess weight. This is not the only thing going on, though. We wish it were.
As your uterus grows with the child, there will be a massive amount of pressure being put on the veins in your pelvis. One of the most important veins here is the interior vena cava. This is a vein which receives blood which is set up from the lower half of your body. As you put on weight, this vein will start to close up a little bit. This means the amount of blood that can flow back up through it is limited. This blood needs to go somewhere, and it tends to increase the pressure on the veins which, in turn, will lead to hemorrhoids in pregnancy.
Not only this, but many people who are pregnant will suffer from constipation. This causes issues with the hemorrhoids due to the amount you will need to strain in order to force the stool out.
To cap it all off, when you are pregnant, your body will start to produce more of a hormone known as progesterone. This relaxes your veins. This means that they are more likely to swell up.
How Can I Avoid Getting Hemorrhoids in Pregnancy?
It is very difficult. We have a couple of tips that we can share with you, but do remember that you still have a major risk of hemorrhoids. Following these tips may not necessarily stop them popping up, but they will reduce your chances of them popping up ‘badly’.
The first thing you are going to want to do is to avoid getting constipated. The best way in which you can do this is to consume a high-fiber diet. Get as much fiber into that diet as you possibly can. Couple this with drinking a decent amount of water. If you can exercise, then do that too. If you can avoid constipation, then you will have dealt with half the battle!
In addition to this, you are going to want to ensure that you ‘go’ whenever you feel a bowel movement. If you do not, then this will lead to constipation. If when you do sit on the toilet nothing comes out, don’t strain. Get up and return later. You should not be sitting on the toilet for long periods of time as this is going to end up putting a lot more strain on the rectal area which will, of course, lead to hemorrhoids.
We also recommend that you consider the idea of Kegel exercises. The purpose of these exercises is to strengthen the muscles in that area. Right away, this is going to reduce the chance of you suffering from hemorrhoids. The other benefit is that it will boost circulation in the area. If you do regular Kegel exercises (you should be doing them at least once per day), then you may find that your body repairs a little bit quicker after you have given birth.
Finally; do not sit or stand for long periods of time. This will put a lot of pressure on the lower reaches of your body. The only time that you should be doing one thing for more than an hour or so is when you are sleeping. At other times, just go and walk around for a couple of minutes (if you were sitting), or sit down for a couple of minutes if you were standing. Nobody is going to mind. You are pregnant.
How Can I get Rid of Hemorrhoids While Pregnant?
What happens when those hemorrhoids pop up? Well, tell your doctor first. They will be able to provide you with a wealth of advice. We also recommend that you follow these tips:
- Use cold therapy. This means applying an ice pack directly to the impacted area. Leave it in place for 10-20 minutes. You will feel almost instant relief. The swelling will subside quite a bit too. You should be doing this a couple of times per day.
- Sitz bath: if you have a bath tub, then fill it up a couple of inches with some warm water. It should be filled up enough to cover the lower part of your body. Sit in it for 10-15 minutes. Again, this is something that you can do a couple of times per day. Some people who are suffering from some serious hemorrhoids like to alternate between the two.
- Whenever you pass a stool, make sure that the area is completely cleaned. The best recommendation that we have for you here is to hop in the shower, or use a bidet if you have one. If you use moistened wipes, then ensure that they are alcohol-free or they will just end up irritating the area a little bit more.
As we mentioned previously, you could also talk to your doctor. They can provide you with medications that you can use to relax the area a little bit. It is important that you do not try to self-medicate here. We know that there are treatments available from your local drug store for hemorrhoids, but you do need to remember that they may not be suitable if you are pregnant. They could harm the unborn child! The doctor will have a solution that you can use for hemorrhoids in pregnancy.