Hemorrhoids and Childbirth
Posted on 09 January 2019 by Maryanne Johnson
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Pregnancy, childbirth—these are exciting moments in an expecting mother's life. But not all of us are the same, sometimes, pregnancy can take a hardened toll on the body, and the delivery can be long and arduous. The result, however, is nothing short of a miracle.
Hardly anyone discusses the specifics of what makes pregnancy and childbirth tumultuous, and perhaps it is because it has something to do with the common problem of hemorrhoids.
That’s right; hemorrhoids are a terrible, persistent, and relentless issue faced by women who are expecting, especially those nearing their third trimester, and women who have just delivered. Hemorrhoids aren’t just for the older folks among us, young and healthy women who are new and to-be mothers are susceptible to them, too.
An embarrassing problem? Maybe, but when we stop considering hemorrhoids to be embarrassing, the better we can be at preventing and managing them. Childbirth isn’t picture perfect, neither is pregnancy, and hemorrhoids are indeed a blemish on whatever image society has painted of either state.
You might not be able to avoid hemorrhoids entirely while giving birth and while you are pregnant, but our guide will teach you how to manage and control the flare-ups. The better prepared you can be before giving birth, the better you can avoid painful hemorrhoids, and that sounds like a far better end of the deal!
Can Giving Birth Cause Hemorrhoids?
If you think about what your body does while giving birth and what the causes of hemorrhoids are, it’s no wonder why so many women develop hemorrhoids from labor and delivery.
Yes, giving birth can cause hemorrhoids. Labor and delivery introduce an enormous amount of stress, pressure, and strain on a woman's body, and the rectal veins are no exception.
Hemorrhoids happen when the blood cannot flow properly to the lower rectum. In response, the body produces these common symptoms of hemorrhoids:
- Anal itching
- Small, hard lumps around the anus
- Pain and rectal discomfort
- A burning sensation “down there”
Giving birth can be traumatic for a body, and it certainly isn't easy for all women, and the event can lead to hemorrhoids that can be notably worse than ordinary flare-ups.
But you can do a few things before you deliver that can make the hemorrhoids less aggressive. You can avoid having your postpartum days slammed with horrendously painful hemorrhoids if you:
- Eat lots of whole foods with fiber
- Drink lots of water
- Engage in an exercise like a brisk 20-minute walk
By continuing these imperative self-care steps after giving birth, too, you can keep your hemorrhoid flare-ups at a minimum.
Do Hemorrhoids Go Away After Birth?
Good news about hemorrhoids: they will come and go. Sure, some people experience chronic hemorrhoids, but if you've made it this far without this problem, you are likely in the clear after giving birth, too.
But if chronic aggressive hemorrhoids describe what you're feeling following your childbirth experience, you'll want to address the situation right away. Numerous options even include non-operative procedures that can help with the worst of hemorrhoid cases, and by nipping the problem in the bud, you’ll save yourself a future of painful flare-ups.
Your hemorrhoids might feel particularly worse after giving birth—that’s normal—and they will go away! You might not believe it when you’re barely keeping your head above the symptoms, but it’s true.
In mild cases, hemorrhoids will go away within a few days. If they do not, then your case of hemorrhoids warrants a call to your doctor for a better method of treatment.
How Do I Get Rid of Postpartum Hemorrhoids?
Taking care of yourself postpartum is critical, and taking care of your postpartum hemorrhoids even more so. You won’t want your hemorrhoids to worsen, and addressing them right away will encourage them to shrink faster, relieving you of pain and discomfort.
Hemorrhoids are essentially inflamed arteries and veins that have been subjected to a restriction in the blood flow. Inflammation will subside, so keep up these things that reduce swelling:
- Applying an ice pack
- Taking a sitz bath
- Using balms, ointments, and other topical hemorrhoid treatments
- Using medicated wipes
- Taking hemorrhoid supplements
- Using a hemorrhoid suppository
Remember, before you take or use any over the counter medication, you should be consulting with your doctor to ensure that it is safe for use, especially after giving birth or if you are pregnant.
Talking to your doctor is also essential if you find that your postpartum hemorrhoids are no longer responding to conservative approaches, are reoccurring, or the symptoms are severe.
What Helps with Hemorrhoids After Delivery?
We’ve covered a few different ways that can help you manage and treat your hemorrhoid symptoms postpartum. With hemorrhoids, practicing good bathroom habits is just as important as eating fiber, exercising, drinking water, and using over the counter medicines.
- Good bathroom habits include:
- Not sitting on the toilet for long periods
- Avoiding straining
- Going when you feel the urge to go
Combined and utilize these habits with a healthy diet and lifestyle and you’re on track to helping heal and prevent those nasty hemorrhoids that pop up after giving birth.
In the meantime, hemorrhoids can be treated with any of the methods we’ve previously discussed. Ice packs can reduce swelling, and doctors often recommend a warm sitz bath to do so as well.
Can Breastfed Babies Get Hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids are not contagious or transferable via breastfeeding.
Hemorrhoids form because the veins, blood vessels, and other intricacies in the anorectal area have become inflamed, due to stress and pressure from a constriction.
Hemorrhoids can be calmed within a few days. Flare-ups can come and go, and can usually be managed by maintaining a healthy diet full of fiber and active lifestyle. Ultimately, you’ll want to make it as easy as possible for your body to pass stools along and avoid straining on the toilet.
You won’t have to worry about your baby if you are breastfeeding. Hemorrhoids, while painful and frustrating, cannot be passed through breastfeeding.