With pregnancy you will come to expect certain body changes – the feel of your baby kicking you from inside, the intense cravings for unusual foods, and fatigue associated with weight gain. Unfortunately, with pregnancy comes other discomforts that may make life difficult unless they are quickly treated. Hemorrhoids, in particular, are a common, unwelcome side effect.
What are Hemorrhoids?
Often we associate varicose veins – veins that have become elongated or twisted – with our legs, yet since there are veins in the rectal area near the anus, they may occur there as well. Simply put, when these veins become swollen, a hemorrhoid occurs. The infected region of your backside may be tender to the touch and you may feel a bump the size of a pebble or even larger where there shouldn’t be one. More serious symptoms of hemorrhoids include painful itching, broken skin, and bleeding. Hemorrhoids may form within the rectum or on the surface, and the more pressure is applied, the more painful they can be.
Hemorrhoids and Pregnancy
As a woman progresses in her pregnancy, naturally she will gain weight. The added pressure of pounds against the mother’s lower region as the fetus grows, perhaps coupled with changes to diet that cause constipation, may contribute to the formation of hemorrhoids. If, during your pregnancy, your doctor has recommended a stool softener, it is for the prevention of these sores.
However, after a mother delivers her child she risks the onset of hemorrhoids due to the pressure put on the rectal area and the changes in blood flow in her body. Within a few days of delivery, a mother may find it uncomfortable to care for her new child with the irritation of rectal sores.
Soothing and Preventing Hemorrhoids
For the new mother seeking relief from hemorrhoids and anal fissure problems associated with birth, there are a number of preventative measures and treatments designed to alleviate pain and swelling:
- High-fiber diet to ease constipation, which in turn lessens straining during bowel movements
- Hydration – drinking lots of water daily may also ease the bowel and make using the toilet less stressful
- Frequent cleaning of the rectal area with either witch hazel pads or a sitz bath
- A recommended hemorrhoid cream that is safe to use during pregnancy – you may need to consult your doctor
When a new arrival comes into your life, the last thing you need to worry about is bodily discomfort, especially from hemorrhoids. With proper care and prevention, you can stay healthy and free of rectal sores, and concentrate on your new baby.