Hemorrhoids are varicose veins of the rectum. During pregnancy, your growing baby puts pressure on these veins causing them to expand and dilate. You may notice hemorrhoids during pregnancy or sometimes they will make their appearance during the pushing phase of labor. Hemorrhoids can be irritating, itchy, and painful.
Can I do anything to prevent hemorrhoids?
Although not completely preventable, there are some things you can do to avoid hemorrhoids.
Since straining during a bowel movement can exasperate or even lead to hemorrhoids, straining should be avoided. Preventing constipation is one of the best ways to prevent hemorrhoids. Eating a high fiber diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables should help keep you regular. Keep well hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Water helps to keep your stools soft and prevent straining.
Prolonged sitting or standing should also be avoided. Sitting for long periods of time puts added pressure on your already stressed hemorrhoidal veins. Get up and walk around to help get the blood flowing and aid in circulation. Regular exercise can also help improve circulation and aids in digestion. This may help you to prevent hemorrhoids as well.
What if I have a hemorrhoid? What can I do?
Hemorrhoids, even with the best diet are quite common in pregnancy. Treatment for hemorrhoids includes sitz baths and cold compresses. Practice good hygiene. Keeping the area clean can help relieve the itching and irritation associated with hemorrhoids. Witch hazel pads may also be helpful. If hemorrhoids are bothersome or painful, talk to your doctor. She may want to prescribe a medicated suppository or cream to apply to the area.
She may also recommend a mild analgesic for you to take.
Rarely surgery is performed to relieve hemorrhoids.