Dealing with hemorrhoids during pregnancy

Being pregnant is a blessing. However, it also poses a lot of health risks for the mother. Pregnancy can promote a lot of negative health conditions such as depression, diabetes, high blood pressure, vaginal infections, and many more. It can also cause hemorrhoids.
Hemorrhoids are particularly common among people who belong to the age group of 45-65. They are characterized by inflamed veins in the anus and rectum. They usually occur when too much strain and pressure are produced in the lower extremities of a person. Chronic constipation is usually the cause of hemorrhoids.
Since constipation is a usual occurrence during pregnancy, pregnant women are highly at risk for developing hemorrhoids. Fortunately, hemorrhoids often disappear as soon as the baby is born.

Why hemorrhoids are common among pregnant women

When the woman is pregnant, she becomes more prone to a variety of weight and pressure-related problems. She becomes at risk of developing varicose veins in her legs and her vulva. Hemorrhoids, which are basically varicose veins in the anal area, may also occur. The reason is often linked to additional weight generated during pregnancy.

Pregnant women make hemroids Apparently, the enlargement of the uterus puts pressure on the veins in the lower extremities. These include veins in the pelvic and the inferior vena cava. When the pressure increases, the flow of blood to the lower half of the body cannot circulate properly. Poor blood circulation causes the veins to become swollen and dilated.

In addition to the growing uterus, pregnancy increases the production of the hormone progesterone. This pregnancy hormone slows down the digestive process and intestinal tract functioning. Such causes constipation, which can also largely contribute to the development of hemorrhoids. The strain caused by difficult bowel movement can scratch and scrape hemorrhoidal tissues. This can promote to further swelling. The increased level of these pregnancy hormones may promote dilation in the walls of the veins. When the vein walls are dilated, they are now more prone to swelling.
Hemorrhoids may be common for women who spend hours sitting throughout the day. The swollen veins will also likely appear if the mother had hemorrhoids prior to their pregnancy. If hemorrhoids do not develop during pregnancy, they may also appear on the second stage of labor. However, most of the pregnancy induced hemorrhoidal conditions go away, without treatment and medication, after the mother gives birth.

How to get relief over the symptoms of hemorrhoids

If you have hemorrhoids, the best you can do is to find ways to relieve the symptoms of your condition. Common signs and symptoms include inflammation, irritation, itchiness, pain, and burning sensations. Below are some of the most common procedures that pregnant women can engage in:
  • If pain and discomfort are felt, cold treatments should be used. Putting a cold compress over the affected area can relieve the pain. Ice can also decrease the inflammation of the nerves and the itchiness. Cold compresses should be done several times every day.
  • Pregnant women can also try having sitz baths. A sitz bath refers to the act of soaking the lower extremities in warm water. This can be done using a bath tub full or a small basin. If a full bath is desired, a tub filled with warm water up to two inches below the navel can be used. However, sitz baths can also be made by using a water-filled basin to submerge only the rectal area. Sitz baths should be made twice or more times everyday. Aside from relieving the pain, this procedure also promotes proper blood circulation.
  • Thorough cleaning of the anal area should also be observed. After every bowel movement, the patient can opt to use warm water and soap to rinse the affected area. She may opt to clean herself using unscented and non-colored toilet paper. To avoid scratches and scrape, the patient may also use facial tissues that are far softer and gentler than toilet papers. Moistening your toilet paper with creams or water can also promote ease and comfort. If the hemorrhoids are too inflamed, the patient should consider using medicated wipes.
  • If the pain or itchiness is intolerable, the mother should consult a health service provider for medications. Most of the time, the physician may recommend the use of hemorrhoid creams and ointments. In some cases, a topical anesthetic or a suppository may be used as well. However, it should be noted that long term use of such medications may be harmful to fetal development. Usually, these medications are used only for a week or even less.

How to prevent hemorrhoids

Pregnant women may be very susceptible to hemorrhoids; however, they can still prevent it. Below are some ways that soon-to-be mothers can use to ward off hemorrhoids:
  • Exercise. Pregnant women should not sit or lie down all day long. Instead, they should move around. Regular light exercises and brisk waking should be made for at least 10 minutes everyday. This promotes proper blood circulation and easy bowel movement.
  • Eat right and drink lots of water. Having a good diet and drinking at least eight glasses of water everyday can help prevent constipation. Pregnant women should eat a high-fiber die consisting of fruits and vegetables. If the patient is constipated, she should consult the health service practitioner for stool softeners or fiber supplements.
  • Avoid long hours of sitting. Sitting for hours may increase pressure and strain on the lower extremities, especially in the pelvic area. Increased pressure can cause hemorrhoids. However, if sitting is part of the daily work routine, the mother should make it a point to stand and move around for at least five minutes, every hour.
  • Sleep on your side. To lessen the pressure on your pelvic or your rectal area, the mother should avoid sleeping or lying on her back. When watching TV or reading, she should lie on the either sides so as to remove the pressure from the veins in the lower extremities. This can also promote proper blood circulation.
  • Avoid standing for long periods of time. The uterus of a pregnant woman can be very heavy, especially after the start of the second trimester. Standing and walking for long periods of time can strain the muscles in the lower half of the body. It can promote the occurrence of hemorrhoids.
  • Do Kegel exercises. These exercises should be done everyday in order to promote proper blood flow in the vaginal and rectal area. This lowers your chances in developing hemorrhoids.