My name is Melinda, and I am discouraged. I’m 26 weeks pregnant and already have 2 painful hemorrhoids. Why is this happening to me? I am not even constipated. I tried sitz baths, but they didn’t work. Can you help me? Thanks, Melinda
Melinda, I understand your plight! It’s not easy, and it takes up a lot of energy to deal with this constant ailment. Know that it is around 85% of pregnant women who will observe hemorrhoids, most often in the second and third trimester of pregnancy.
Increased blood volume during pregnancy and hormones that help vascular relaxation (even in the rectum) predispose pregnant women to the appearance of hemorrhoids. Even if they aren’t constipated and need to force to pass stool. Imagine those who suffer in addition to constipation and who must exert prolonged outbreaks! This causes a weakening of their pelvic floor and makes them even more risky than others to see hemorrhoids.
Given your pregnancy, it’s also clear that the weight in your pelvis (change in the mechanics of the body), the pressure downwards on blood vessels also increase as it progresses.
That said, everything will go back to normal after childbirth, but in the meantime, what can you do? Here are a few suggestions:
- Avoid constipation triggers;
- Eat more fibres, fruits, vegetables and whole grains;
- Drink a lot of water, at least 6 glasses a day;
- Regularly exercise as it promotes intestinal elimination;
- Exercise your pelvic floor to reinforce its muscle structure to better support the organs Fais les exercices du plancher pelvien pour renforcer la musculature in the pelvis, including your uterus and growing baby;
- When passing stool, raise your feet on a bench to favour a proper defecation angle, not having to force to pass stool;
- Avoid overly hot baths, as it will increase blood vessel dilations which can increase hemorrhoids;
- Avoid standing or sitting for long periods, as the venous return is less, and it also increases pressure in the pelvis;
- Raise your legs when sitting to promote venous return;
- Ideally, lay on your left side to encourage venous return on your right;
- Support your stomach when laying down on your side. Place a small rolled-up towel or blanket between the mattress and your stomach. This will help free the veins in your groin to facilitate circulation;
- If your hemorrhoids are under the skin around your anus, use a lubricant cream on your finger and try to push them back in;
- You can also apply safe creams on your hemorrhoids, such as zinc ointments, hemorrhoidal pads with witch hazel (ex. TUCKS®), Anusol (pramoxine);
- You can relieve pain with Tylenol as needed.
Melinda, I think these suggestions can help your situation. If you are still in pain afterwards, talk to your doctor or midwife about appropriate treatments you may get under prescription.
The Baby Expert