Hemorrhoids and pregnancy are often associated with each other. Pregnancy puts a lot of stress on a woman’s body that results in a large variety of complications, one of which is hemorrhoids. Women should not be alarmed as hemorrhoids are very common among pregnant women, especially during the third trimester.
What are hemorrhoids?
There are blood vessels that transport blood throughout the entire human body. Long story short, hemorrhoids are swollen or inflamed blood vessels that can be located in the anal canal. There are essentially two kinds of hemorrhoids, external and internal.
Internal hemorrhoids can present painless rectal bleeding, while an external hemorrhoid presents pain around the anus. The discomfort from hemorrhoids ranges from slightly uncomfortable and itchy to an unequivocal pain. Rectal bleeding is common during bowel movements.
Why are hemorrhoids and pregnancy so common together?
Pregnancy places women in a risky position for acquiring hemorrhoids. During pregnancy, a woman’s uterus begins to grow. This growth of the uterus puts pressure on a woman’s inferior vena cava and pelvic veins. This in turn slows down the returning blood flow from the lower parts of a woman’s body. The slow blood flow increases pressure in the veins below the uterus, thus causing them to swell or dilate.
There are other conditions common in pregnant women that can cause or aggravate hemorrhoids. Constipation for example is a common problem during pregnancy which can increase the chances for hemorrhoids. Pregnancy also increases the amount of progesterone in the body. This hormone causes the walls of the veins to relax making them more prone to swelling. The hormone also exacerbates constipation as it slows down the intestinal tract.
Steps for preventing hemorrhoids
First and foremost, avoid sitting or standing for long periods of times. Stand up to take a walk for a few minutes when sitting for long extended periods of time. Kegel exercises are also very helpful as they help promote blood flow into the rectal area. Also, don’t be shy to go out for brisk walks to help promote blood circulation.
A healthy diet that’s high in fiber is also very important. The high fiber will help ensure that the stool is soft and will easily pass through a woman’s anal canal. Edible plants like fruits, vegetables and beans are an excellent source of fiber. It’s also important for a woman to keep themselves hydrated, most doctors recommend eight to ten glasses a day.
How to gain some amount of relief from hemorrhoids
Applying a cold compress on the affected area several times a day may help alleviate the swelling caused by hemorrhoids. There are women who find that a cold compress soaked with witch hazel to be particularly comforting. Using tissue papers that are medically soaked with witch hazel to wipe the affected area is also recommended.
It’s also possible to treat the affected area by soaking it in warm water for about ten to fifteen minutes. This should be done a few times a day. Sitz baths are available for those who do not have the convenience of a bath tub. Simply fill it with warm water and position it over the toilet. This allows a woman to submerge their rectal areas by merely sitting down.
Hemorrhoids and pregnancy are very common together and if immediate relief is necessary, feel free to ask a practitioner for a topical anesthetic or medicated suppository for immediate relief.