Hemorrhoids are a common pregnancy complaint but are not experienced by all pregnant women. A combination of progesterone, pressure from the growing uterus, and constipation can all play a part in causing hemorrhoids. Your chances of getting hemorrhoids increases with having more children, with age, and after giving birth to a large baby.
Hemorrhoids are often painless, but can be itchy or even painful. They can be inside the rectum or they can become large enough to protrude out of the rectum. A streak of blood on the stool or on your toilet paper may be evidence of a hemorrhoid.
The best medicine for hemorrhoids is prevention. Once you get them, it can be very difficult to get rid of them. Don’t spend too much time standing and use the bathroom as soon as you feel the need to go. Because constipation can be a major factor, take care to prevent yourself from becoming constipated. Sitting too long, especially on the toilet, can also cause problems, so lie down when relaxing at home and avoid sitting in one place for too long at work. Avoid lifting things, even if they are not very heavy. Avoid becoming overweight if possible. Regular exercise can also help prevent hemorrhoids.
Many women swear by doing Kegel exercises. These exercises strengthen the muscles around the rectum and vagina. They can be beneficial before, during, and after the birth.
Witch hazel extract is the most commonly used natural relief for hemorrhoids. In fact, it is the active ingredient in many over the counter hemorrhoid medications. Witch hazel is an astringent that, when used topically, can reduce the inflammation of hemorrhoids. It is safe to use externally both during and after pregnancy.
Witch hazel is common and can be found in almost any grocery store, usually in the first aid aisle next to the rubbing alcohol and hydrogen peroxide. It is a clear liquid and is inexpensive. It can be used by squirting it directly onto the affected area using a peri bottle, or you can wipe with or sit on a rag soaked with witch hazel. It can also be added to a sitz bath for relief.
Other natural hemorrhoid relievers include sitting on an ice pack or cold freezer pack, warm sitz baths, and temporary bed rest. Using a wet cloth to wipe instead of dry toilet paper is usually more comfortable. If sitting on them directly is uncomfortable, try sitting on a nursing pillow or ring-shaped pillow. A purple colored hemorrhoid protruding from the area can indicate a severe blood clot and needs medical attention. If you are bleeding or if you experience very bad discomfort, you should see a healthcare practitioner who can prescribe you medication that is safe to use during pregnancy.
Hemorrhoids can also be caused by the birth itself. Depending on your situation, there may or may not be anything you can do to prevent hemorrhoids from occurring during the pushing stage of your labor. Allow your body to do the pushing, support your perineum and ease your baby out as much as possible. For almost all women, hemorrhoids clear up after childbirth.