Hemorrhoids During Pregnancy: How to Avoid Them & How To Relieve Pains?
No matter if you like it or not, among all the beautiful experiences that lie ahead when expecting a child, a pregnancy also brings some unpleasant situations, like hemorrhoids. If you are interested in how hemorrhoids during pregnancy may affect you, then you are in the right place.
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What Are Hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids are blood vessels in the rectal area that have become unusually swollen. They vary from the size of a pea to the one of a grape, and they may be located inside the rectum or may come out through the anus. Hemorrhoids may cause itching and become very uncomfortable, even painful. Sometimes, they may cause rectal bleeding, especially during bowel movement.
Hemorrhoids are pretty common during pregnancy, especially during the third trimester of pregnancy. Some women develop them for the first time while they are pregnant. If you had this issue before being pregnant, it`s more likely to suffer of this condition again when expecting. Hemorrhoids might develop while pushing during the second stage of labor, and usually represent an issue after childbirth. In most cases, the hemorrhoids that developed during pregnancy will treat themselves on their own after childbirth, especially if you tried to avoid constipation while being pregnant.
What Is a Hemorrhoidal Disease?
When hemorrhoids strongly inflame, and make their presence through discomfort and pain, we may talk about a hemorrhoidal disease. A lot of people who suffer of this disease, are shamed and ask for medical assistance when it`s often too late, getting to treat the disease through surgical intervention. The disease can be treated efficiently and with no repercussions, if it`s detected early.
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Symptoms of Hemorrhoidal Disease
The onset of this disease is difficult to define. Even if hemorrhoids cannot be felt outside, they may be extremely large inside. At this stage, neither itching nor pain may be felt yet. A first symptom of this disease may involve the presence of a small amount of blood in the stool or on toilet paper. Still, be careful, as this sign may involve other causes as well. Then, the disease gets worst, other signs may be experienced in the anal area, such as itching, burning, inflammations or eczema, but also unusual discharges.
Why Hemorrhoids Are Common during Pregnancy?
Pregnancy will make you more likely to develop hemorrhoids, such as varicose veins in the legs, and sometimes even in the vulva, due to a variety of reasons. Your uterus, which is constantly growing, exerts a pressure on the pelvic veins and in the inferior part of vena cava (a big vein from the right side of the body which receives blood from the lower limbs). This may slow down the intensity of blood returned from the inferior half of the body, which increases the pressure on the veins in the uterus, becoming more dilated and swollen.
Constipation is another common problem while expecting a baby, being able to cause or even worsen hemorrhoids.
In addition, the increase of the progesterone hormone during pregnancy may cause the walls of the veins to relax, swelling a lot easier. Progesterone contributes to constipation by slowing the intestinal tract.
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How to Avoid Hemorrhoids?
You`re more susceptible to hemorrhoids when being pregnant, but still – they can be avoided. Here are a few methods that may help you:
- First of all, avoid constipation! Make yourself a diet that includes foods rich in fibers (whole grains, beans, fruits, vegetables), drinks a lot of water (8 – 10 glasses/day), schedule a daily routine of physical exercises (if you don`t have time, at least a quick walk in the park). If you are constipated, you can ask your doctor about a supplement rich in fibers or a laxative.
- Don`t wait until the last moment to go to the toilet to not force the intestines, because this causes a certain pressure on that area.
- Practice Kegel exercises every day! This type of exercises increases the blood circulation around the rectal area and strengthens the muscles around the anus, decreasing the change of developing hemorrhoids. It also strengthens the muscles around the vagina and urethra, which may help the organism recover after birth. – Check this!
- Avoid staying or lying down for a long period of time. If your work involves minimal physical effort, you read or watch TV, try to change your position on your left side to release the pressure on the rectal veins. This also helps in blood circulation from the inferior part of the body.
How to Relieve Pains?
- Put an ice bag (possibly the bag could be covered in something soft) in the affected area, a few times a day. The ice may help in deflating the area and relieving the pain. – Read this!
- Stay with your back in warm water for 10 – 15 minutes, a few times a day. If you don`t have a bathtub, you can go to the pharmacy to purchase a sitz bath – this is actually a small plastic pill).
- Try to alternate between warm and cold treatments.
- Try to carefully and gently clean the affected area after every stool using soft toilet paper, odorless and white if possible, because he causes less irritations in that area compared with those with flavors.
- Wetting the toilet paper might help. A lot of women use wet wipes, as they are more comfortable as toilet paper. You can buy this type of wipes from the pharmacy; there are some especially designed for hemorrhoids. – More info!
- You could ask your doctor to recommend you a local anesthesic or a certain type of suppositories. There are lots of products on the market that relieve pain caused by hemorrhoids, but you need to talk with a doctor first. A lot of these products shouldn`t be used for more than a week. If you continue the treatment for more than 7 days, the area may swell even more.
When to Contact the Doctor?
If the own remedies don`t work on hemorrhoids or if you suffer of severe bleeding, you need to get in touch with a doctor immediately. Any type of rectal bleeding should be seen by a doctor.
For most women, any pains caused by hemorrhoids will relieve after childbirth on their own. In some cases, it`s possible to need the assistance of a specialist to prescribe a treatment. In rare situations, it takes surgical intervention to resolve the problem.