Unfortunately, pregnant women are predisposed to a higher risk of having hemorrhoids.1 These often appear during the third trimester.
Follow These Pain-Relieving Techniques
In some cases, hemorrhoids develop while a woman is pushing during labor, and this may be a reason why hemorrhoids are a common early postpartum complaint.2 Fortunately, there are certain measures you can follow to relieve painful hemorrhoids during your pregnancy:3,4
• Take a bath in warm water: use plain warm water and soak several times daily for about 10 to 15 minutes. Not only will a bath keep you clean, but it will potentially reduce discomfort too.
• Try witch hazel: apply witch hazel pads to your anal area, but make sure to change these pads frequently.
• Refrain from sitting for long periods of time: you increase pressure on the veins in your anus and rectum when you sit. However, if certain circumstances require you to sit down, make sure to stand up every once in a while.
• Try an over-the-counter hemorrhoid remedy: there are hemorrhoid creams or medicated wipes available that are safe to use while pregnant. However, you should ask your physician or health care provider on what the best option is for you before buying and/or trying these remedies.
Take note though that hemorrhoid creams cannot treat hemorrhoids, as they simply relieve pain caused by these swollen blood vessels.
• Sleep on your side and not on your back: this will decrease the pressure on your backside.
• Use a bidet to clean yourself thoroughly after bowel movement: you get more benefits from a bidet in the long run. It is less irritating and cleans your bottom more efficiently. If you don’t have a bidet at home, use gentle, fragrance-free wipes or wet, two-ply, white toilet paper (preferably with warm water).
Do not wipe your backside too hard because this can irritate your already sensitive skin.
• Purchase a donut-shaped pillow: this can reduce the pressure brought about by sitting.
Make These Changes to Your Eating Habits
Constipation, whether you’re pregnant or not, greatly influences the development of hemorrhoids. As much as possible, do whatever you can to relieve constipation and consequently prevent hemorrhoids:5,6
• Add fiber to your diet: getting enough dietary fiber in your body softens your stools and increases its weight and size. Improved stool quality can lead to the normalizing of your bowel movements, effectively preventing constipation and hemorrhoids in the long run.7 Just make sure to add these fiber-rich foods slowly to prevent gas problems.8
• Drink plenty of pure water: by increasing your intake of pure water, you maintain your stool’s softness and allow it to pass easier. According to Yuri Elkaim, a registered holistic nutritionist, when you’re constipated your colon is dehydrated, so when you drink enough water, you not only keep your body hydrated, but less water will be withdrawn from the colon.9
• Incorporate physical activity into your daily routine: refrain from sitting or standing for a long period of time. A brisk five-minute walk every hour or so can already help improve circulation in the anal area and flush your stool out with less pain.
If you want to do a variety of exercises, consult your doctor first to know which workouts are safe for pregnant women. Kegel exercises are an example as they improve circulation in the anal area and inhibit hemorrhoids.
If complications such as increased pain or bleeding still occur after you have tried these suggestions, consult your physician or health care provider. For pregnant women, hemorrhoids typically heal after delivery. Should the hemorrhoids still persist, homemade treatment protocols work best in eliminating them. If they worsen, ask your physician if surgical treatment might be necessary.