Having Hemorrhoids during Pregnancy, Here is Everything you Need to Know.

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Conditions like hemorrhoids during pregnancy aren’t only discomforting but also fairly embarrassing even while seeking medical advice and treatment. Hemorrhoids are seen mostly during third trimester of pregnancy and are mostly not considered a problem or threat to your maturing baby though they make you uncomfortable.

What are hemorrhoids?

Some harmless conditions of pregnancy like chronic straining and constipation (during bowel movements) that put extra pressure on rectal blood vessels and cause the veins around the rectum to dilate and swell. These dilated and swollen rectal veins around the rectum are called hemorrhoids. It’s usually a common problem for women during pregnancy.

Hemorrhoids are more common in pregnancy because the expanding uterus presses upon major blood vessels, causing a kind of blood pooling which in turn makes the veins around the rectum to swell and enlarge. The chronic state of elevated pressure on blood vessels due to straining and pushing during defecation makes the rectal veins weak and vulnerable to enlargement. Moreover, the fact that progesterone levels are very high during pregnancy also affects the venous valves, making the venous walls to weaken and allowing swelling to increase.

How can hemorrhoids affect your pregnancy?

These hemorrhoids may be itchy and are present in almost 3 to 5% of all pregnant moms during third trimester of pregnancy. Hemorrhoids during pregnancy may lead to moderate to severe bleeding during or after bowel movements. As such an expecting mom may develop significant anemia.

Enlarged hemorrhoids during pregnancy may become painful and infected, requiring urgent need for surgical excision that can constitute additional stress on the pregnant mom. Due to pain and fear of bleeding, a lot of expecting moms become hesitant of passing stool, consequently increasing the risk of constipation and hemorrhoids in turn. You must understand that such bleeding isn’t harmful to your pregnancy.

How to avoid hemorrhoids during pregnancy?

Expecting moms are more vulnerable to develop hemorrhoids during pregnancy because the pregnancy hormones affect metabolism of the body. Due to slow metabolic processes and effect of hormones on gut muscles, constipation occurs. Following tips may help you in avoiding constipation and in turn hemorrhoids in pregnancy:

· Increase the intake of fiber in your normal daily diet. Substitute white bread with brown bread and white rice with brown rice.

· Increase your fluid intake to about 7 to 9 cups of fluid per day. Water consumption increase the moisture content of stool and makes it passage easy through intestinal tract.

· Increase the intake of fresh fruits and vegetables as transit time of vegetables and fruits is faster than meat and complex foods. It helps is avoiding constipation.

· Pregnant moms are advised to do their kegel exercises during pregnancy as these exercises improve the strengthening of pelvic floor and also increase blood flow to your pelvic area or perineal region.

· Avoid sitting or standing for long hours, take ample rest, sleep on your side and not your back, and don’t sit in one place for too long to avoid increased tension in rectal veins.

How to treat hemorrhoids during pregnancy?

  • In order to avoid complications during labor and childbirth processes, it’s important to treat hemorrhoids as early as possible.
  • Having hemorrhoids during pregnancy means your food lacks sufficient fiber. You can modify your diet in the light of above recommendations or add fiber supplements/ stool softeners to your diet.
  • For instant relief, apply cold compresses and ice packs on the affected area and you will find it very soothing and relaxing. Cold compresses helps in minimizing the swelling and redness of hemorrhoids.
  • Take warm (not hot) sit baths for 10 minutes in a tub at least twice daily. Practicing this every day may help in relieving hemorrhoid completely.
  • To relieve intense hemorrhoids pain, you can also use witch hazel pads or other hemorrhoidal pads by applying it directly or via cotton on enlarged veins.
  • Avoid sitting or standing for too long and occasionally lie with your knees slightly bent, feet and hips elevated.
  • Over-the-counter suppository medications such as Anusol has proved to alleviate hemorrhoids for many women, they’re available without prescription but don’t experiment with such drugs, consult with your doctor.

When to report hemorrhoids to your healthcare provider during pregnancy?

Hemorrhoids during pregnancy are mainly due to hormones of pregnancy and once you deliver your baby, this complaint is largely resolved without requiring any therapy. However, you must report to your healthcare provider if hemorrhoids become extremely painful, tender or infected (marked by fever in mothers).

Moreover, if your hemorrhoids bleed with every bowel movement, you may develop significant anemia. It’s therefore important to continue iron supplements and seek a permanent cure for hemorrhoids.

Although with high fiber diet, adequate water intake and regular exercise you can prevent or reduce hemorrhoids during pregnancy, but even if you develop this condition during pregnancy or postpartum, seek an expert’s advice in order to avoid any possible complications from hemorrhoids during pregnancy, labor and delivery.

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