Pregnancy Complications - Hemorrhoids
Hemorrhoids are a form of varicose vein which affect the rectum area. Because your body has more blood circulating through your veins during pregnancy all of your veins, particularly those in the lower half of your body, become dilated and sometimes swollen.
Hemorrhoids can be internal or external and often can be seen bulging from the rectal area. They are usually accompanied by an itching or burning sensation and they can also be painful and bleed. When a hemorrhoid bleeds it is normally seen as a bright red stain on the toilet paper rather than blood-stained water in the bowl. However, any bleeding from the rectum should always be examined by your doctor, so make sure you mention it as soon as possible.
The most common reason for pregnancy hemorrhoids is constipation because the straining puts pressure on veins in the rectal area which are already dilated as a result of pregnancy.
Your gp can prescribe a stool softener such as Lactulose to help treat and prevent constipation but you should also try to:
- Do some low impact exercises regularly, such as walking, swimming or yoga
- Increase your intake of dietary fibre by eating plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables and eating fibre based cereals. You can also safely take bulk-forming agents such as Fybogel.
- Drink 8-10 glasses of water per day.
Kegel Exercises, also known as pelvic floor exercises, can also be a useful way of avoiding hemorrhoids as they increase the circulation in your rectum. Aside from that they are also good for strengthening your vaginal and peri-anal muscles.
If you already have hemorrhoids you should start the above techniques for avoiding them in the first place as well as the following:
- Ensure you clean your anal area after each bowel movement, using moist wipes if possible.
- Bathe regularly to help aid healing.
- Do not sit or stand for long periods of time as this will cause the blood to pool.
- Try not to lift or move anything heavy.
- Ask your gp or pharmacist to recommend specially formulated hemorrhoid cream or suppositories that are safe for use in pregnancy.
In most cases pregnancy-related hemorrhoids disappear after the baby is born, but if they get worse or you experience pain or bleeding you should see you gp for advice and possible treatments.
More Pregnancy Complications
- Gestational Diabetes
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Placenta previa
- Cholestasis (itching during pregnancy)
- Morning sickness
- Varicose veins
- Stretch marks
- Depression (pre-natal depression)
- Childbed fever (puerperal sepsis)
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