For most women being pregnant is a wonderful and fulfilling experience, but for others pregnancy can mean some uncomfortable changes in the body. Among those uncomfortable changes are hemorrhoids.
What exactly are hemorrhoids? Hemorrhoids are varicose veins on or inside the rectum that are large enough to protrude out of the rectum. They may resemble miniature marbles or a small bunch of grapes.
According to What to Expect.com, 20-50 percent of pregnant women may experience hemorrhoids due to constipation, pressure on the uterus, and an increase in progesterone.
Hemorrhoids can be itchy, make sitting uncomfortable, and make bowel movements a painful challenge. After childbirth, the hemorrhoids will clear up for many women.
Prevention is the best strategy, because once you have a hemorrhoid or hemorrhoids you might not be able to get rid of them.
Prevention tips include:
• Don't spend too much time standing
• Use the bathroom as soon as you feel the need to go
• Do not force your bowel movements
• Don't wipe too hard
• Avoid constipation. Increase your fiber and liquid intake.
• Avoid sitting too long, especially on the toilet
• Lie down when relaxing at home and lay on your left side to relieve rectal pressure
• Avoid lifting things
• Regular exercise can also help prevent hemorrhoids
• Do Kegel exercises to increase circulation to the rectal area
Ways to find hemorrhoid relief include:
• Apply witch hazel to the affected area or sit on a rag soaked with witch hazel
• Wipe with toilet paper soaked in witch hazel or rinse the area with witch hazel in a peri bottle
• Take warm sitz baths
• Add witch hazel to a sitz bath
• Sit on an ice pack or cold freezer pack
• Get bed rest
• Use warm water and two-ply white toilet paper
• Try using disposable wet wipes versus toilet paper
• Sit on a nursing pillow or ring-shaped pillow, or on a donut (an inflatable round pillow with the center missing)
If you are experiencing severe hemorrhoid pain, contact your health care professional. Medication may be prescribed which will not interfere with your pregnancy.