Unbeknownst to most women, getting hemorrhoids during pregnancy is a pretty common phenomenon, and they can also rear their ugly head during the post-partum period. Hemorrhoids are blood vessels in the rectal area that have enlarged. They typically range from the size of a raisin to the size of a grape. They can be itchy, painful, and sometimes can even cause rectal bleeding, especially during a bowel movement.
While they often go away on their own, they can be quite the pest while pregnant. At La Peer’s Hemorrhoid Center of Excellence, we might be able to help you gain some relief while pregnant. We are staffed with the best of the best when it comes to Los Angeles doctors.
Why Did I Get Hemorrhoids?
Your growing uterus puts pressure on the pelvic veins. This pressure can slow the return of blood from the lower half of your body, therefore increasing the pressure on the veins below your uterus and resulting in them becoming enlarged.
In addition, pregnancy brings an increase in the hormone progesterone, which causes the walls of your veins to relax, allowing them to swell more easily. Progesterone also slows down your intestinal tract and contributes to constipation. Constipation leads to straining, which can cause or aggravate hemorrhoids.
As it relates to post-partum, pushing your bundle of joy out can also lead you to develop hemorrhoids.
Relief from Hemorrhoids During Pregnancy
- Apply an ice pack (with a soft covering) to the affected area several times a day.
- Soak your bottom in warm water, in a tub or a sitz bath. Soak a few times a day for 10-15 minutes.
- Try alternating cold and warm treatments. Start with an ice pack followed by a warm sitz bath.
- After each bowel movement, gently but thoroughly clean the affected area, using a peri-bottle (the plastic squirt bottle the hospital gave you to clean yourself). And use pre-moistened wipes.
- If you do use tissue, buy soft, white, unscented tissues for less irritation.
- Take pressure off the rectal area by lying down when you can. Avoid sitting or standing for long stretches of time.
- Ask your healthcare practitioner to recommend a safe topical anesthetic or medicated suppository. There are many hemorrhoid-relief products on the market, but consult your practitioner before trying one on your own.
- Ask your doctor about taking acetaminophen or ibuprofen. (Do not, however, use aspirin or products containing aspirin if you’re a nursing mom.) Don’t take more than the recommended amount, and if the pain continues, talk to your midwife or doctor.
The Importance of Seeing A Doctor
In the event that the above remedies do not help to relieve symptoms or you notice bleeding, seeing one of our trained doctors is important. When pregnant, there are several special considerations when it comes to you and your baby’s health. In cases where hemorrhoids do not respond to the first line of attack, you may need to see a specialist for treatment to help shrink your hemorrhoids or perform minor surgery.
Unfortunately, pregnant women cannot receive every type of treatment for hemorrhoids while with child. Our team of gastroenterologists and colorectal surgeons at La Peer Health Systems’ Hemorrhoid Center of Excellence can give you a comprehensive view of treatment options available to you.
Make an Appointment with a Hemorrhoid Specialist
If you are pregnant or just gave birth and are suffering from hemorrhoids, contact our board-certified gastroenterologists and colorectal surgeons. You can schedule an appointment today by calling our Beverly Hills office at (888) 742-2032 or filling out our online contact form.