Pregnancy and childbirth can be a very exciting time, but it can also come with its fair share of discomforts. One such discomfort is hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoids are swollen blood vessels in the rectal area that can cause pain, itching, and bleeding and can be extremely painful, especially when you are pregnant. Hemorrhoids are a common complaint during pregnancy, affecting up to 50% of pregnant women. They are generally more common in the third trimester of pregnancy, but they can develop at any point during pregnancy and also after childbirth. There are a few things you can do to help ease the symptoms of hemorrhoids:
Fill Up on Fiber
Make sure you are getting enough fiber in your diet by eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. A high fiber diet will help to keep your stools soft, which will reduce the pain of hemorrhoids. This will also help you from getting constipated and constipation leads to hemorrhoids.
Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated and help reduce constipation, which can exacerbate hemorrhoids. Drinking lots of water helps to keep your stool soft and prevents constipation. Drink at least eight glasses of water or other fluids each day.
When going to the bathroom, avoid straining or holding your breath. This puts extra pressure on the veins in your rectum and can make hemorrhoids worse. Try to make sure you aren't constipated and that you're using the bathroom regularly. If possible, try squatting over the toilet instead of sitting.
Use a Bidet Sprayer
A bidet sprayer is a device you can buy that is attached to your existing toilet. They are inexpensive and easy to install and can be a real godsend if you have hemorrhoids! Cleaning yourself off with a spray of water instead of dry toilet paper really helps with the discomfort. If you don't have access to a bidet sprayer, use moist toilet paper or baby wipes.
Apply a Cream
Apply a hemorrhoid cream or ointment: This can help soothe itching and pain. Look for a cream with an astringent like witch hazel or a numbing agent like lidocaine. Don't use these for more than a week at a time because they can irritate your skin.
If you are dealing with hemorrhoids during pregnancy, talk to your doctor before using any over-the-counter treatments. They can recommend the best course of action for you and your baby.
Place a cold compress on the area for short periods of time to help reduce swelling.
A sitz bath is a warm, shallow bath that you can take to help ease the pain and discomfort of hemorrhoids. This involves sitting in a few inches of warm water for 10 to 15 minutes and can be very helpful in relieving symptoms. The warmth of the water can help to relax the muscles and reduce inflammation. Additionally, the water can help to cleanse the area and promote healing.
You can also use a regular bathtub or even just a large basin. The most important thing is to make sure that the water is only up to your hips and that it is at a comfortable temperature. You can add Epsom salts or other soothing agents to the water if desired. Sitz baths are usually done for around 20 minutes at a time, but you may need to do them more frequently if you are experiencing a lot of pain or discomfort. Talk to your doctor before using a sitz bath as they can help to determine whether it is right for you and how often you should do it.
Loosen It Up!
Wear loose-fitting clothing: This will help reduce irritation and discomfort. You don't want anything tight cutting off circulation and promoting and swelling to your sensitive areas.
Elevate Your Feet
When you are sitting or lying down, try to elevate your feet. This will help reduce the pressure on your rectum and anus, which can make hemorrhoids worse. Try to avoid sitting for long periods of time. If you have a desk job, take a break every hour to walk around for a few minutes.
Just like with everything else, exercise can help reduce the symptoms of hemorrhoids. Exercise helps to tone the muscles and improve circulation, which can reduce inflammation and discomfort. Try to get at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise each day. Avoid activities that put extra strain on your rectum and anus, such as powerlifting or running. Instead, opt for activities like walking, biking, swimming, or yoga. Gentle exercise like walking can help reduce constipation and improve circulation. Avoid any exercises that put strain on your rectal area.
If you are dealing with hemorrhoids during pregnancy, talk to your doctor before starting any new exercise routine. They can help you to determine which activities are safe for you and your baby.
Sleep on Your Side
Sleep on your side instead of your stomach or back. This can help reduce the pressure on your rectum and anus, which can make hemorrhoids worse.
Talk to Your Doctor
If you are dealing with severe pain, bleeding, or other symptoms that don't seem to be improving, talk to your doctor. They can help determine the cause and recommend the best treatment options. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove the hemorrhoids. However, this is usually only recommended as a last resort.
In conclusion, if you're dealing with hemorrhoids during pregnancy or after childbirth, you're not alone. We hope you will give some of these tips a try and that they really help you! But remember to check with your doctor if you're in a lot of pain or discomfort and if the hemorrhoids just aren't going away.
Q1. What to Do When You Have Postpartum Hemorrhoids
- Eat a high-fiber diet. Try to soften your stools by eating foods that are high in fiber.
- Drink lots of water. If you're breastfeeding, you'll need at least eight cups of water a day.
- Stool softener.
- Don't sit too long.
- Use a pillow.
Q2. How long do hemorrhoids last after giving birth?
The bottom line:
It's not unusual to develop hemorrhoids during or after pregnancy, especially following vaginal delivery. Most hemorrhoids clear up on their own within a few weeks, though some may stick around for months.
Q3. Will postpartum hemorrhoids go away?
Hemorrhoids are common during pregnancy and in the postpartum period. Usually, hemorrhoids that develop during your pregnancy will go away on their own after you give birth, especially if you're careful to avoid constipation (with some simple tips mentioned below).
Q4. Can I use hemorrhoid cream after giving birth?
To ease discomfort while the hemorrhoids heal: Apply an over-the-counter hemorrhoid cream or suppository containing hydrocortisone. Use pads containing witch hazel or a numbing agent. Soak your anal area in plain warm water for 10 to 15 minutes two to three times a day.