Hey mamas! Carrying a little one can make your body do crazy things. One of the most common complaints we hear about is hemorrhoids during pregnancy and postpartum.
Hemorrhoids are varicose veins in the anus that can get uncomfortable, itchy, and downright painful!
And guess what? Over half of all pregnant women get them! They are commonly caused by pressure your expanding uterus puts on pelvic veins and an increase in the hormone progesterone.
Even if you were lucky enough to avoid hemorrhoids during pregnancy, you might end up with them during postpartum (regardless of if you have a vaginal delivery or a C-section)!
Although they can be extremely annoying, don’t worry. There are plenty of options to relieve and treat them!
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1. Sitz Bath
A sitz bath is a warm, shallow bath that fits over a toilet seat. You can sit in it and feel instant relief after bowel movements, reducing inflammation and discomfort caused by the hemorrhoids during pregnancy.
Add some Epsom salt in the bath to additionally help reduce swelling! Make sure to gently pat the anal area dry afterward, & do not rub or wipe hard!
2. Try using a bidet
Getting yourself a bidet is a great way to provide relief from those nasty hemorrhoids! Toilet paper can actually irritate the anus even more and make the situation worse.
Truth is, toilet paper doesn’t completely do the job “down there”! Tons of bacteria is leftover and is an open gate for not only hemorrhoids, but other gross situations like yeast infections, UTIs, skid marks, and itchy rears.
Eliminating toilet paper altogether is an awesome, earth-friendly solution!
The Tushy is a modern bidet that is actually portable! It easily clips to your toilet and sprays your tender areas completely clean with fresh water.
Other benefits of Tushy include:
- Not having to awkwardly reach back there to wipe while pregnant
- Effectively cleans out lochia after birth
- Can soothe your perineum
- Better hygiene
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3. Witch hazel pads and hemorrhoid cream
Witch hazel is a plant with medicinal properties widely known to ease inflammation, fight bacteria, and soothe sensitive skin. In addition, witch hazel is known to stop minor bleeding!
Witch hazel can be purchased in liquid form or found in products like anti-itch wipes or soaps. It is typically added to a cloth or cotton ball and directly applied to the area.
Over-the-counter hemorrhoid creams can also relieve itching and burning. Ask your doctor to recommend a good cream for you!
4. Stool softeners
Stool softeners, such as Citrucel (methylcellulose), can help reduce constipation and make bowel movements quick and painless.
They come in several forms such as powders, capsules, and liquids. Make sure to avoid laxatives; they cause diarrhea and can actually worsen hemorrhoids by causing irritation!
5. Water water water
Keeping yourself hydrated is key while suffering with hemorrhoids! Constipation can actually cause hemorrhoids and is related to dehydration in the colon, so increasing your fluid intake can help soften stools and stimulate bowel movements.
And on that note, get nine more tips to relieve constipation during pregnancy for some added help!
6. Sit on a pillow
Hemorrhoids resemble having grapes or marbles down there (ouch!) so sitting can be very painful. Placing a pillow or cushion beneath your buttocks can release pressure and bring temporary relief.
You can buy a cushion specifically used for relieving hemorrhoids. These cushions are doughnut-shaped because there is no cushion-area to press against the irritated tissues.
Or put your nursing pillow to good use! If you got a Boppy from your baby registry or are already postpartum and have one lying around, sit on it for an instant donut cushion and some much needed relief!
How long do hemorrhoids last during pregnancy?
Unfortunately, there’s no black and white answer to this question. In some cases, your pregnancy or postpartum hemorrhoids may clear up within a few days. This would be for smaller, less pronounced hemorrhoids.
In other cases, hemorrhoids can last your entire pregnancy right up until delivery. This is because the hemorrhoids can’t fully heal due to the pressure from baby and/or the role that your pregnancy hormones are playing in the whole situation.
As for postpartum hemorrhoids, these usually clear up within a few days or a few weeks after birth, depending on the severity.
Whatever the case is make sure to bring up the issue with your medical provider if your problem does not improve after a few weeks! Only they can determine if your hemorrhoids sticking around is within the realm of normal, or if more rigorous treatment may be required.