Your Body After Pregnancy Part 2: Hemorrhoids

Your Body After Pregnancy Part 2: HemorrhoidsOur bodies goes through dramatic changes during and after pregnancy. Some of those changes are positive (I loved my full breasts during and after pregnancy) but others are less than glamorous. A few are even dreadful, including hemorrhoids. How on earth do we end up with hemorrhoids? And how can we get relief from these painful intruders?

Hemorrhoids are caused by increased pressure on the pelvic veins, which then cause the anal canal veins to swell and stretch out of shape. Pregnancy and childbirth are among the causes of hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoids can be internal (swollen veins and tissues that bulge inside the anal canal) or external (swollen veins and tissues that bulge under the skin that surrounds the opening of the anus). Needless to say, hemorrhoids are bothersome and painful, and they require attention.

Some of the symptoms of hemorrhoids are:

  • Bleeding during bowel movements.
  • Itching and/or irritation in your anal area.
  • Swelling of the tissue around your anus.
  • A potentially sensitive or painful lump in the anal area.
  • Leakage of stool.

Read Related: Bizarre Pregnancy Symptoms Women Should Not Fear

Although there is no quick fix for hemorrhoids, these home remedies will help alleviate the discomfort:

  • Boost your fiber intake: Fiber will allow you to have easier bowel movements. This will prevent you from straining, thus reducing the symptoms of hemorrhoids.
  • Drink more water: Increasing your water intake will also make for easier bowel movements.
  • Sitz baths: Sit in warm water for 15 minutes at least three times a day (especially after bowel movements). This will reduce inflammation of the tissues in the anal area and lessen pain.
  • OTC Medication: Over the counter medications (OTC) are helpful in decreasing swelling and inflammation.

If you notice blood in your stool, consult with your doctor. Do not presume this blood comes from hemorrhoids until confirmed by a physician. Other conditions, such as colon cancer, can cause bleeding from the anus, so this is a symptom that cannot be taken lightly. Also, be aware that continuous bleeding may lead to anemia and must be remedied. Finally, strangulated hemorrhoids may lead to gangrene (death of the tissue) which is a serious condition.

Hemorrhoids can be a pain in the butt…literally! So if pregnancy and childbirth have left you with hemorrhoids, seek help. You do not need to live in pain!