Just like nausea, fatigue, morning sickness, Hemorrhoids is also one of the side effects that occur during pregnancy. Hemorrhoids are painful and swollen blood vessels in the rectal area. But fortunately, haemorrhoids during pregnancy could be treated easily and naturally at the ease of home. So, here is everything you need to know about haemorrhoids, its causes, treatments and preventive measures.
What is Hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids are swollen (varicose) veins in the rectum and around the anal area. It could be either as small as a size of a pea or as big as a size of a grape. Hemorrhoids are of two types: Internal haemorrhoids and External haemorrhoids.
Internal Hemorrhoids are inside the rectum and may cause some pressure but generally painless. External Hemorrhoids are small lumps outside of rectum that could be itchy and painful. Hemorrhoids could also cause rectal bleeding, especially during the bowel movement.
Causes of Hemorrhoids during Pregnancy:
The main reasons for haemorrhoids are growing uterus, increased blood volume, constipation and increase in hormone progesterone.
Growing uterus and increased blood volume put pressure on the veins causing it to swell in the rectal area. This causes haemorrhoids.
Constipation could be caused due to the pregnancy hormones which slow down the bowel movements. Progesterone is one of the pregnancy hormones which relaxes the walls of the veins, allowing them to swell readily.
Treatments for Hemorrhoids during Pregnancy:
1. Cold Therapy: Applying an ice pack to the affected area several times a day could reduce swelling and discomfort.
2. Heat Therapy: Applying warm compress or soaking your bottom in warm water for 10 to 15 minutes a few times a day could help in reducing discomfort and pain.
3. Alternate: Alternate the cold and warm therapy. Keep repeating it. This produces relief.
4. Applying Coconut oil: Coconut oil helps in reducing itching, relieves pain and inflammation as it has antibacterial and antifungal properties. It also helps in healing haemorrhoids.
5. Witch Hazel Compress: Soaking a pad in witch hazel, Freezing it and applying it to the affected area, soothes and heals. Change the pads frequently.
6. Aloe Vera: Applying pure aloe vera reduces the inflammation.
7. Wet Wipes: Clean the affected area gently but thoroughly with wet wipes after each bowel movement. Instead of using dry toilet paper, using natural baby wipes or witch hazel wipes avoids irritation.
8. Acupuncture: If haemorrhoids are caused by poor circulation of blood, acupuncture could help in controlling it. Acupuncture improves muscle function and reduces haemorrhoids.
9. Arnica: Applying arnica gel to the area reduces inflammation and heals bruises.
10. Medicate: Ask your doctor about medication. Your doctor might suggest a topical anaesthetic or medicated suppository which is safe during pregnancy.
How to prevent Hemorrhoids?
1. Avoid Being Constipated: Eat fibre-rich food. drink 8-10 ounces of water and exercise regularly. These could keep Hemorrhoids in check.
2. Choose food based prenatal vitamin: Synthetic medicines, such as iron tablets, could cause constipation. Food-based prenatal vitamins are more absorbable and don’t result in constipation.
3. Don’t withhold: Never strain yourself by withholding yourself when you feel the urge to have a bowel movement. Withholding causes constipation.
4. Avoid sitting on the toilet more than necessary: This causes pressure on the rectal area and may result in haemorrhoids.
5. Kegel exercises: Kegel exercises increase the blood circulation to the rectal area and strengthens the muscles. This reduces the change of haemorrhoids. Kegel exercise also strengthens and tones the muscles around the vagina and urethra which helps in recovering post-delivery.
6. Don’t sit or stand for long: Sitting or standing for long stretches or time could put pressure on your lower body and could reduce blood circulation in the rectal area. This causes haemorrhoids. To avoid it, it is always best to keep moving for a few minutes every hour.
7. Squatting: Sitting or leaning back while pooing puts pressure on your intestine making it difficult for the bowel movement whereas squatting position releases the pressure on your intestine and helps in easy bowel movements. Squatting is a natural way to poo which reduces the chances of constipation and in turn reduces chances of haemorrhoids occurrence.
8. Consume probiotics: Probiotics could be consumed in supplement form or from fermented food. It helps in proper functioning of the body.