Another complication that is usually common among pregnant women is the development of hemorrhoids brought on by constipation, a normal occurrence as the baby grows inside the womb. Hemorrhoids are common especially by the time pregnancy reaches the third trimester. A couple of factors play a great role in developing such condition, such as the growing baby inside the uterus, constipation, and an increase in the hormone progesterone. Combined together, chances of developing hemorrhoids are high.
What Are Hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids are blood vessels that became swollen which can be found in the rectal area. Since there is a lot of pressure around that particular area, veins get dilated easily. These dilated veins can either be found inside or outside the rectal area. Hemorrhoids are painful and itchy, and sometimes they bleed, especially when you have a bowel movement.
External hemorrhoids are the ones that commonly cause the bleeding while hemorrhoids found inside the rectal area are more painful but the bleeding is lesser.
Why are Hemorrhoids Common During Pregnancy?
As mentioned above, hemorrhoids during pregnancy are affected by a couple of factors. The increase in the size of your uterus, constipation, and high levels of progesterone are only some of the contributory factors why hemorrhoids are a common occurrence during pregnancy. Another thing is, during pregnancy, the woman’s blood volume increases. This make the veins dilate to accommodate the increase in blood volume.
A growing uterus also plays a role as it puts pressure on the pelvic veins. As the pressure on the veins increase, they dilate and may cause it protrude outside the rectal area. Constipation also aggravates the development of hemorrhoids as it also contributes to putting pressure on the veins found in the rectal area. Since constipation is a normal occurrence in pregnancy, the woman experiences having a hard time with bowel movements causing her to strain, which eventually leads to putting too much pressure on the veins. This incident typically leads to the development of hemorrhoids.
Can I Avoid the Development of Hemorrhoids?
Of course! Hemorrhoids can be avoided as long as you stay healthy and your bowel activity is regular.
What you can do to prevent developing hemorrhoids, you should:
Drink plenty of water. During pregnancy, it is best to stay hydrated to keep the nutrients circulating properly inside your body. Water also helps a lot in kick starting your metabolism, so it is always a good choice to drink adequate amounts of liquid each day. A dehydrated body also leads to poor metabolism resulting in constipation. Constipation puts pressure on the veins in the rectal area due to straining. Drinking sufficient amounts of liquid each day ensures proper movement inside the colon.
Keep your bowel activity regular. If you are feeling that you need to go, do not wait any more or prolong the use of bathroom. As long as the urge is there to go, head straight to the bathroom and do your thing. The moment you hold the urge to go, the higher the chances you will get constipated the next time.
Avoid sitting on the toilet for long periods of time. Sitting on the toilet for so long puts pressure on the veins in the rectal area. Just stay still until necessary and get up afterwards to avoid too much pressure that can lead to development of hemorrhoids.
Be active. To help regulate bowel movement, doing short walks can help your body kick start its metabolism. A short walk every now and then ensures that your colon is working to push its content towards the large intestine.
Perform Kegel’s exercise. Kegel’s exercise is one way to strengthen the muscles in the pelvic floor. It also promotes proper circulation in the veins found in the rectal area which reduces the development of hemorrhoids.
What Are the Treatment Options for Hemorrhoids?
Treatment for hemorrhoids vary among physicians and how they want to address the problem. On the other hand, here are the most common treatments or interventions that are utilized to get rid of hemorrhoids:
Cold packs. An ice pack may be applied on the affected area to reduce swelling. This method can be done a few times a day to relieve discomfort and soothe the irritation on the affected area.
Warm bath. Another common treatment to get rid of the inflamed veins around the area is through soaking in a tub of warm water for about 10 to 15 minutes. This relieves pain, inflammation, and swelling on the affected area.
Medication. Some healthcare provider may prescribe pregnancy-safe medications to treat hemorrhoids especially if they are truly swollen which cannot be relieved by cold packs and warm bath. Before taking any medications, it is still preferred that you consult with your obstetrician to prevent further complications.
Hemorrhoids in pregnancy is a preventable occurrence as long as you keep yourself healthy. Hopefully you have found this article helpful in your journey towards giving birth to a healthy baby. If there are any unwanted signs and symptoms that would transpire during your pregnancy, remember, consult your physician immediately!
Author: Patricia Magno RN