During pregnancy, a woman’s body is most delicate and sensitive. The overflow of the hormones – estrogen and progesterone during this stage, slows down the bowel movement and causes straining in the rectal areas and excretory canal as well causing constipation that finally leads to hemorrhoids. The basic cause of hemorrhoids during pregnancy is the increase in the blood flow in the pelvic area due to the enlargement of the uterus from the 25th week of the gestation period. This causes the rectal wall to swell and budge initially leading to constipation and finally to the development of hemorrhoids. Prenatal vitamins prescribed to the pregnant woman can also be blamed. These vitamins contain a high level of synthetic irons that may cause constipation leading to hemorrhoids.
Prevention and Cures of Hemorrhoids During Pregnancy
How To Treat Hemorrhoids While Pregnancy (Prevention)
- Do not Strain: The pregnant lady should, by all means, avoid straining herself when she feels an urge to have a bowel movement. Do not strain and do not ignore the urge too. Both of these don’ts are the main causes of hemorrhoids.
- Do not Sit on The Toilet Seat for Too Long: To avoid any pressure from building up in the rectal area, the pregnant lady should avoid sitting on the toilet seat for long. While using the toilet, she can put her feet on a small tool as this will help the stools to pass quickly and easily.
- Do not Sit or Stand for Too Long: The would-be mother should avoid sitting or standing for long and should not stress herself. The fetus puts pressure on the lower abdomen areas which can result in straining. She should have a good amount of rest with little exercise and walking of about five minutes in every hour or so.
- Avoid Constipation: The pregnant lady should take care of her diet. Drink sufficient amount of water (about eight to ten glasses) in a day. High intake of fiber and liquid will keep the body hydrated and keep the stools soft. This will avoid straining in the rectal area and thus prevent the formation of the piles.
- Maintain the Weight: There is always a specific weight that a pregnant woman should maintain during her pregnancy. Overeating is not good for her body structure as well as the fetus. Not only does being overweight can cause obesity in the growing baby but also the woman might develop the problem of hemorrhoids. This is also applicable after the delivery. Maintaining a diet as prescribed by a dietician, is very important during this crucial phase.
- Do not Wear Slim Fit Clothes: It is very important to note that a pregnant lady should not wear slim fit clothes. It is advisable to the doctors to wear loose-fitting clothes like maxis and dresses rather than pants and tights. The reason behind this is the over sensitivity of a woman’s pelvic area in this phase and wearing tights will increase the friction and cause irritation and discomfort. Wearing loose dresses that do not rub against the skin, will make the skin supple and let it breathe. Also, clean cotton panties are a must during pregnancy as it will keep the vagina and anus fresh and dry throughout the day.
- Do not Take Stress: Already, a woman’s body is taking too much stress while providing the fetus the right amount of nutrition, respiratory gasses and keeping the amniotic sac intact with so many hormones. If the pregnant lady will take the mental stress, it will affect the functioning of the pituitary gland and this will result in an unbalanced system of hormones in her body. The fetus might get affected and due to this stress, constipation will also start that will result in strain. Any hormonal imbalance can soon lead to hemorrhoids as a pressure will build up in the rectal region as well.
- Avoid Lifting Heavy Things: A soon-to-be-mother should not lift any heavy objects. While a woman is pregnant, her uterus and parts involving the lower abdomen and genitals are very sensitive. Not only does lifting any heavy thing will put stress on the fetus but will also affect the woman’s spine and back too.
- Kegel exercise: All the pregnant ladies should practice Kegel exercise every day. This will increase blood circulation in the areas of the pelvic region and reduce any chance of blood clotting that might cause hemorrhoids. During pregnancy, a woman’s body releases the hormone ‘relaxin that relaxes the ligaments and joints in the pelvis to make it easy for the baby to pass via the birth canal. This exercise promotes the release of ‘relaxin in pregnant ladies and makes the vaginal muscles sturdy and strong.
A Kegel exercise can be done by lying flat on the bed, pulling in your stomach, squeezing and contracting the pelvis slowly. Then while taking a deep breath, gently hold your thighs and squeeze in your legs and hips. Keep your stomach relaxed all along the exercise as this will not disturb the movement of the fetus; then repeat the exercise slowly again.
How To Get Rid of Piles During Pregnancy (Cure)
Even after the at most care, if a pregnant lady develops the problem of hemorrhoids, then she can take help of below mentioned cures:
- Probiotic-rich food: Being conscious about health in pregnancy, is most important. If a pregnant lady develops the problem of hemorrhoids while, before or after her delivery, she should immediately consult her doctor. The first and foremost precaution that has to be taken is the food. Consuming probiotic food like yogurt, fermented cheese etc. that balances bacteria in the gut can turn out to be very effective. These foods also help in better digestion and help in losing weight.
- Antioxidants: we usually tend to forget how important the balance of antioxidants is in our body. Antioxidants are rich in vitamins and strengthen the blood vessels, prevent the collapse of the capillaries, reduce bleeding, and cure hemorrhoids quickly.
- Cleaning: Cleaning of the rectal areas habitually with a wet soft tissue or cloth will not only maintain personal hygiene but will also reduce the risk of hemorrhoids. Even if the pregnant lady has already developed piles, regular cleaning of the affected area will cure it faster. Also, baby wipes or wet tissues soaked in any lubricant like moisturizer, antiseptic or witch hazel can be used for the even better result. Baby wipes are better and less scratchy than toilet papers. Instead of using those regular hard textured toilet papers, use them to moisten and dab the affected area. This will prevent the skin from getting, even more, rashes even after multiple rubbing with tissues.
- Medication: It is important to consult a doctor whether a pregnant lady should start medication involving topical anesthesia. This contains the extract called ‘tanning’ that will reduce the irritation and allergies from the affected area. It is important to ensure the safety of the fetus as it is the first priority. Products that give relief from hemorrhoids, can also be used for a week. There are some medicated wipes, sprays and creams available in the market that can be prescribed by the doctor and applied on the rectal area to cure the problem.
- Acupuncture: though the process of acupuncture is mild and time-consuming but can turn out successful in curing moderate hemorrhoids. This process is done by pressing needles on the acupressure points. We know that hemorrhoids are caused due to lack of blood circulation in the rectal area that leads to blood clotting. So if circulation is to blame then why not treat it with the method that is itself renowned for recirculating the blood.
- Vitamin E: Vitamin E is an antioxidant with a high amount of amino acids and is very helpful in fighting with hemorrhoids. Vitamin E capsules can easily be cut and the oil can be applied on the affected region. The oil will act as a lubricant and sooth the irritated skin.
- Stool softeners: Stool softeners are medicines that can be used on the recommendation of the doctor. These are available in both oral and suppository form but a prescription from the doctor is necessary before going for them. The doctor will tell exactly which form is suitable for the patient. Usually, medicines apart from the pregnancy ones are avoided as this might affect the fetus.
- Arnica gel: Arnica gel is a non-greasy, anti-inflammatory product. When it is applied to bruises, rashes and the infected skin with hemorrhoidal clots, the skin readily absorbs this gel and due to its active ingredient arnica Montana and thymol, blood circulation in the capillaries increase in the affected area thus healing it.
- Proper Sleep: If a woman is pregnant, she should have adequate sleep(, about eight hours) at night. If she has already developed hemorrhoids, then sleeping will reduce the stress on the lower regions.
- Yoga: Exercises that include breathe in and breathe out technique, should be done every day by a pregnant lady. This way, her stress level will be maintained and she will remain calm and peaceful. This will also increase the blood circulation and the muscular stability.
- Positions: Studies have shown that sleeping on the sides, is more comfortable than sleeping flat on the back. This reduces the pressure on the lower region of the body and relieves stress.
- Donut shaped pillow: Using a donut-shaped pillow will give comfort and relief from stress.
Natural Home Remedies to Cure Hemorrhoids During Pregnancy
Some home remedies can also be done during pregnancy if the woman has already been infected with hemorrhoid:
- Warm or Apple cider vinegar sitz bath: To sooth, the pressure in the pelvic region, a warm bath of ten-fifteen minutes will help quite a lot. A soda bath can also be helpful as it will reduce the redness, itching, burning in the irritated area.
An apple cider vinegar (ACV) sitz bath is an exceptionally effective method to cure the problem of hemorrhoids at home. It is a vitamin B and C based product with dissolved mineral salts in it. Soaking in this bath will maintain the skin’s pH level and make it alkaline. Vinegar will act on the bacteria and fungus in the affected area. Not only this bath will soothe the rectal area but will also cure the problem internally.
- Ice packs: If the pregnant woman has already developed constipation or clotting of blood in the anus, applying ice pack will reduce swelling and redness and increase the blood circulation. This can be done by collecting some ice cubes in an ice pack and gently pressing it over the affected area.
- Nutmeg: The problem of hemorrhoids can be cured in some days by taking half a teaspoon of nutmeg two times a day.
- Apply coconut oil to the hemorrhoids: Coconut has anti-inflammatory properties and helps in soothing the irritated and inflamed veins of the rectal region. Treating with coconut oil will cure hemorrhoids faster as it acts as a lubricant for smoother movement of stools. Not only does coconut has antibacterial properties but it also reacts against fungus thus helping in irritation and burning.
- Aloe vera: Aloe vera is famous widely for its innumerable healing properties. It has natural astringent properties, a high level of vitamins and amino acids in it. It helps to strengthen the body’s defense mechanism and reduces the internal inflammatory factors inside our body. Applying aloe vera gel on the infected area will give a soothing sensation and relief.
- Witch hazel: Witch hazel is a natural astringent and has a high level of active compounds like tannins. It has healing properties as well. It is considered as a safe hemorrhoids treatment as it will shrink the clot and soothe the inflammation, itching, and irritation. To use witch hazel, soak a pad in it and freeze it. After the cloth will become cold, apply gently onto the affected area. Applying this for three times a day will surely help in curing hemorrhoids.
Health Counselor and Primary Care Physician by profession, I have 12 years experience in primary health care services. Years of practical experience in women’s health care & ANC services and study have gained me a lot of knowledge on several health issues and I wish to share these medical advice and suggestion through this blog.