Reports suggest that 28% to 48% of women experience postpartum hemorrhoids. The majority of women go through hemorrhoids after or during pregnancy for the first time. Which in most cases, causes some uncertainty when it comes to how to appropriately deal with them.
During this time, your hands are constantly full with your baby’s concerns, so finding an optimal healing solution quickly is essential. There are several ways to ease your symptoms. However, if you want to make sure you’re healing properly, understanding the symptoms, causes, and treatments is vital.
Types and Symptoms
Despite postpartum hemorrhoids being a very common symptom of the third and fourth trimester, many women still struggle discussing the topic, much less handling it. This is why it may come as a surprise when they find out there are several possible types.
Internal hemorrhoids, as the name suggests, are placed in the rectum and affect veins that are inside the sphincter.
External hemorrhoids, on the other hand, are located outside the rectum, underneath the skin, and affect veins that are on the outside of the sphincter.
A mother commonly experiences the same symptoms whether they have one or the other.
However, when it comes to internal postpartum hemorrhoids, bleeding or spotting will also occur along with the rest of these symptoms:
- pain during bowel movements
- swelling around the anus
It is also possible to develop thrombosed hemorrhoids. This is when a blood clot is trapped inside hemorrhoid and causes it to become blue or purple.
Causes of postpartum hemorrhoids
Postpartum hemorrhoids, also known as piles, are a form of varicose veins that develop in and around the rectum. Due to weakened vein walls, the valves that control blood flow don’t function optimally and create hemorrhoids.
The cause of hemorrhoids after delivery is a result of immense pressure on the veins in the abdomen and pelvic area.
This includes the strain and stress of the birth, hormones, constipation, and the extra weight of the baby’s placement in that area. All of which cause veins to bulge and get irritated.
Treatment for postpartum hemorrhoids
How long do hemorrhoids last?
For the most part, hemorrhoids do go away on their own by the 6-week mark postpartum. However, if your body reacts positively to treatments, it is possible for swelling and pain to decrease within a few days.
As far as treatment goes, your doctor may prescribe a stool softener to make bowel movements less painful. However, you can also make use of postpartum hemorrhoids treatment at home with the tips listed below.
Home Remedies for postpartum hemorrhoids
Wrap ice or a cold pack in a cloth and apply for about 10 minutes. Repeat this as much as needed.
Generally, a warm bath can help soothe flare-ups. However, a sitz bath promotes blood flow to the perineal area, and in turn aid in faster healing.
Use a squirt bottle with warm water to gently clean the area. Instead of using toilet paper, opt for an unscented alcohol-free wet wipe or a damp towel.
Witch Hazel on a cotton pad can also cool and soothe the hemorrhoids.
A diet that includes an abundance of fiber-rich fruits, veggies, and other foods, can promote better and softer bowel movements thus reducing the pain from hemorrhoids.
- Avoid sprays, deodorants, or douches in the groin area
- Avoid strenuous exercise and other activities that cause friction
- Take pain medication as needed
- Try topical treatments, such as creams, ointments, sprays, and suppositories (ask doctor beforehand)
- Sit on a soft pillow or donut cushion
- Avoid tight clothing and rough fabrics
- Avoid regular toilet paper and opt for the moistened one
- Try easy postpartum exercises
When To Call A Doctor
Hemorrhoids usually aren’t life-threatening and are most commonly treatable at home with the aforementioned remedies. However, if the pain is severe and doesn’t respond to home care, it’s recommended to consult your doctor. In the worst-case scenario, it will need to be removed with an incision under local anesthesia.
Postpartum hemorrhoids are a common symptom that up to 48% of mothers experience, usually for the first time. Hemorrhoids after delivery can be internal, external, and thrombosed. Predominantly, they are caused by a rush of hormones, internal pressure, and constipation. Women can expect the hemorrhoids to heal on their own with the help of various treatments by the 6th week postpartum. If the pain is unbearable and doesn’t respond to home care, speak to your doctor.