Although pregnancy can be a joyous time in life, it can come with some unpleasant side effects - the dreaded hemorrhoids being one of them. Thankfully, there are simple steps you can take to alleviate this discomfort.
Soaking in warm baths, using ice packs, applying topical creams, staying hydrated, consuming a high-fiber diet, and regularly exercising are all effective ways to treat hemorrhoids after pregnancy.
We'll explore various ways to help you get rid of hemorrhoids after pregnancy, including home remedies, medical treatments, and lifestyle changes. Make yourself comfortable, and let's start making you feel better!
How to Get Rid of Hemorrhoids After Pregnancy: 6 DIY Remedies
It's common to experience hemorrhoids during and after pregnancy, especially after giving birth vaginally. The pressure from a growing uterus on the veins in your lower body and the pushing during labor can make them worse. Although hemorrhoids typically go away within a few weeks, they can be uncomfortable and disrupt your daily routine.
Luckily, various home remedies and medical treatments are available to help you eliminate them faster and prevent them from recurring.
In this discussion, we'll cover the different types and symptoms of hemorrhoids, ways to treat them at home naturally, how to use over-the-counter or prescription medications to treat them, minimally invasive procedures for treatment, lifestyle changes that can help prevent them, and when to seek medical attention for severe or persistent hemorrhoids.
Home Remedies to Get Rid of Hemorrhoids After Pregnancy
Most cases of hemorrhoids can be treated at home with natural remedies that can ease the pain and inflammation and promote healing. Here are some of the most effective home remedies for hemorrhoids:
Sitz Bath Therapy
A sitz bath, which covers your hips and buttocks, can soothe, cleanse, and reduce swelling. You can use a plastic tub that fits over your toilet seat or fill your bathtub with warm water. Add Epsom salt or baking soda, and soak your anal area for 10 to 15 mins, 2 to 3 times daily. Gently pat dry with a soft towel. Avoid using soap, alcohol, or scented products that can irritate the skin.
A cold compress can help numb the pain and reduce swelling by constricting the blood vessels. You can use an ice pack, a frozen gel pack, or a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a towel. Do not apply ice directly to your skin, as it may cause frostbite.
Apply a cold compress to your anal area for 10 minutes daily. You can alternate between cold and warm compresses for better results.
A warm compress can help relax the muscles and increase blood flow to the affected area. This can help heal the tissues and reduce inflammation. You can use a heating pad, a hot water bottle, or a warm damp cloth.
To use a warm compress, apply it to the anal area for 10 to 15 minutes at a time, several times a day. You can alternate between warm and cold compresses for better results.
Topical Creams and Ointments
Over-the-counter creams and ointments can reduce hemorrhoid symptoms by soothing the skin. Ingredients such as hydrocortisone, witch hazel, lidocaine, zinc oxide, or aloe vera may alleviate itching, pain, swelling, and bleeding.
Apply a thin layer to the affected area after cleaning it with water for best results. Follow the label instructions and avoid using them beyond a week unless directed by your doctor. Avoid applying products with alcohol or perfumes that could irritate the skin
Fiber is essential for a healthy digestive system. To increase intake, eat more whole foods like fruits, veggies, whole grains, and nuts. Men should aim for 38 g/day, women 25 g/day. Supplements like psyllium husk can help if you have trouble getting enough from food.
Drinking enough water is another important factor that can help prevent constipation and straining that can aggravate hemorrhoids. Water also helps flush out toxins from your body and keep your skin hydrated.
To stay hydrated, drink at least eight glasses of water daily if breastfeeding or exercising. You can also drink fluids such as juice, tea, soup, or milk if they do not contain caffeine or alcohol that may dehydrate you.
Medical Treatments to Get Rid of Hemorrhoids After Pregnancy
If home remedies do not provide enough relief or if your hemorrhoids are severe or chronic, you may need medical treatment to get rid of them. There are several options available depending on the type and severity of your hemorrhoids:
Some over-the-counter medications can help reduce the pain and inflammation of hemorrhoids. They include:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen or naproxen can relieve pain and swelling.
- Acetaminophen can relieve pain but not inflammation.
- Stool softeners such as docusate sodium can prevent constipation by drawing water into your stool.
- Laxatives such as bisacodyl or senna can stimulate bowel movements by irritating your colon.
- Hemorrhoid wipes contain witch hazel or other soothing ingredients that can clean and calm the affected area.
Read the label and follow the directions before taking any over-the-counter meds. Taking more than the recommended dose or longer than advised can be harmful. Consult a doctor if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, have any medical conditions, or taking other meds.
Suppose over-the-counter medications do not work well enough for you or have complications such as infection or bleeding from your hemorrhoids. In that case, you may need prescription medications from your doctor. They include:
- Corticosteroid creams or suppositories such as hydrocortisone or betamethasone can reduce inflammation and itching.
- Local anesthetics such as lidocaine or pramoxine can numb the pain temporarily.
- Vasoconstrictors such as phenylephrine or ephedrine can shrink the blood vessels and reduce swelling.
- Antibiotics such as metronidazole or ciprofloxacin can treat infections caused by bacteria.
- Antifungal creams such as clotrimazole or miconazole can treat infections caused by fungi.
Before using any prescription medication, follow your doctor’s instructions carefully. Do not stop using them without consulting your doctor first. Report any side effects or allergic reactions to your doctor immediately.
Rubber Band Ligation
Rubber band ligation is a minimally invasive procedure that involves placing tiny rubber bands around the base of an internal hemorrhoid. This cuts off its blood supply and causes it to shrink and fall off within a week. The procedure is done in an outpatient setting under local anesthesia. It is usually effective for small to medium-sized internal hemorrhoids. It may cause discomfort, bleeding, or infection after the procedure, but these are usually mild and temporary.
Sclerotherapy is another minimally invasive procedure that involves injecting a chemical solution into an internal hemorrhoid. This causes it to scar and close off its blood supply, shrinking and disappearing over time. Local anesthesia is used during the outpatient procedure. Usually, it works for small internal hemorrhoids. It may cause pain, bleeding, or allergic reaction during or following surgery, but these are usually minor.
Infrared coagulation is a low-risk method to treat internal hemorrhoids. It involves applying infrared light, clotting it, and obstructing its blood supply, leading to its shrinkage and natural separation. The quick outpatient procedure usually works for small-medium hemorrhoids.
After the procedure, you may experience temporary mild discomfort and bleeding. You must eat a high-fiber diet to prevent constipation and avoid heavy lifting and prolonged sitting for at least six weeks.
A hemorrhoidectomy is a surgery that removes internal or external hemorrhoids but is usually only used for the most severe or chronic cases. It has the highest complication rate and longest recovery time but is highly effective.
Different techniques and instruments are used, performed with anesthesia on an outpatient or inpatient basis. Recovery requires painkillers and stool softeners, avoiding heavy lifting or prolonged sitting. Complications may include infection, bleeding, urinary retention, fecal incontinence, anal stenosis, or anal fistula.
Lifestyle Changes to Prevent Hemorrhoids After Pregnancy
Hemorrhoids can recur even after treatment, so it is important to make lifestyle changes to prevent them from returning. Here are some tips to prevent hemorrhoids after pregnancy:
Exercise can help improve your blood circulation and prevent constipation. It can also help you lose excess weight that may pressure your veins. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity most days of the week. You can start with gentle exercises such as walking, swimming, or yoga after your doctor gives you the green light.
Good posture can help reduce the pressure on your pelvic floor and lower body. Avoid slouching or hunching when sitting or standing. Use a pillow or a cushion to support your lower back when sitting. Elevate your legs when lying down to improve blood flow.
Avoiding Straining During Bowel Movements
Straining during bowel movements can worsen hemorrhoids by increasing the pressure on your veins. Do not hold your breath or push hard when passing stool to avoid straining. Relax your muscles and let gravity do the work. Stay on the toilet for a short time or use your phone or read while on the toilet.
Regular Bowel Movements
Regular bowel movements reduce constipation and straining that can cause hemorrhoids. Establish a routine and go to the bathroom when you feel the urge. Do not ignore or suppress your bowel movements; this can make your stool harder and drier.
When to Seek Medical Attention
Hemorrhoids are usually not serious, but they can sometimes indicate a more serious problem, such as colorectal cancer or inflammatory bowel disease. You should seek medical attention if you have any of these signs:
- Severe pain that does not improve with home remedies.
- Heavy bleeding that soaks through your pads or underwear.
- Blood in your stool or black, tarry stool.
- Fever, chills, or signs of infection.
- Difficulty urinating or having bowel movements.
- Unexplained weight loss or fatigue.
Your doctor can examine your anus and rectum and perform some tests to diagnose the cause of your symptoms and rule out any serious conditions. They can also prescribe medications or recommend procedures to treat your hemorrhoids.
In conclusion, hemorrhoids can be frustrating and painful for new mothers after pregnancy. However, there are numerous ways to get rid of them and prevent their appearance in the future. Many options are available, Whether through a sitz bath, over-the-counter medications, good posture, or regular bowel movements. It's important to speak to a doctor if symptoms persist and to remember that self-care is crucial in preventing and treating hemorrhoids after pregnancy. During this important time, let's focus on healing and caring for ourselves physically and emotionally.