Postpartum Hemorrhoids (Piles After Delivery)
Pregnancy can change your body in more than one ways than you could think. If you think that your ordeal will end after the baby is born, there is more to the story. Of course, your baby will be your priority but caring for your own body is important too. Vaginal delivery can lead to haemorrhoids or piles after giving birth.
What Are Hemorrhoids?
Postpartum Haemorrhoids are a complication that could develop after childbirth. The swollen veins in the rectal area are haemorrhoids. They have an unusual swelling and lump together as a single mass. You could find them protruding from the anus. Haemorrhoids can cause extreme itching or can be painful. They could cause rectal bleeding when you experience bowel movements.
The size of haemorrhoids can be as tiny as groundnut or can grow up to the size of a grape. While haemorrhoids developed during pregnancy will ease out after delivery, sometimes they may persist for a long time after the baby is delivered. Around 25% of women who suffer from haemorrhoids post-delivery have them postpartum too.
What Causes Piles After Pregnancy
One can get haemorrhoids post pregnancy due to various reasons:
- During pregnancy, there is an increase in progesterone in the body which relaxes the vein walls and leads to swelling of these veins easily.
- Progesterone is also responsible for constipation since it slows down the intestinal tract.
- During constipation, you tend to strain during a hard bowel movement. This straining can cause or worsen piles after pregnancy.
- As the size of the uterus grows, the pelvic veins and inferior vena cava are pressurised. Inferior vena cava is a large vein that gets blood from the lower portion of our body. The veins below the uterus are put under pressure and get enlarged.
- Haemorrhoids can also be developed due to the extreme pushing at the time of delivery.
Signs and Symptoms of Postpartum Hemorrhoids
- Haemorrhoids after pregnancy announce their arrival through itching and a hot and burning feeling in the anus. This pain increases during bowel movements.
- You may feel an increased level of pain as days go by, especially while in a sitting position. During this time, the anal pain moves from infrequent to constant.
- A feeling of insufficient rectal expulsion followed by burning and itching is a major symptom of chronic haemorrhoids.
- Inflammation of tissues around the rectum, a formation of cracks and bleeding are signs of further complications.
To diagnose the disease, a simple and quick check-up of the anus is required. External haemorrhoids are in the form of circular pea-like sections and can be identified easily. For internal haemorrhoids, a manual check-up is required to determine their size and quantity. An endoscopic test (sigmoidoscopy) and a radiological test (irrigoscopy) may be required in certain cases too.
In rare cases, one can experience complications due to haemorrhoids. The most common ones are:
- There are certain hygiene-related problems that can be caused due to haemorrhoids. After defecation, it can become difficult to clean the anal area.
- Poor hygiene around the anus for long periods of time can lead to various other infections.
- Bleeding can be worrying, but it rarely leads to any major complications
- Pain, especially during defecation is a common complaint when one has haemorrhoids
Treatment & Medication for Post Pregnancy Piles
Over-the-counter medication is also available for relief from piles and anal trauma.
- Oral Pain Relievers
Oral pain relievers are commonly used as a remedy for piles after delivery. These include ibuprofen, aspirin or acetaminophen. The discomfort of postpartum piles is greatly relieved through this.
- Hemorrhoid Creams
Creams provide a lot of relief from pain, itching and bleeding. Depending on your symptoms, choose the right cream for quick relief. Creams containing hydrocortisone help to relieve itching, while pramoxine and benzocaine are effective against soreness and pain.
- Osmotic Agents or Stool Softeners
Stool softeners are a great way to keep the stools soft. This reduces the chances of constipation and prevents straining too. Docusate (100 mg to 300 mg) is recommended to be taken daily for a week.
- Lubricant Laxatives
Lubricant laxatives like mineral oil are used as a mode of treatment for post pregnancy piles. They help maintain and retain the water content in the intestines and stool. Since the stool softens, it passes through the intestines easily.
- Bulk Forming Agents
Bulk-forming agents are laxatives to soften the stools and facilitate easy bowel movements. These agents are derived from natural and synthetic sources and act within 12 to 36 hours of ingesting them.
Probiotics are friendly or beneficial bacteria that promote digestive health. Yogurt is a powerful food when one has haemorrhoids since it contains live active cultures. Kefir which is a yoghurt-like beverage stimulates bowel movements and lessens dehydration to a great extent.
Tips to Treat Hemorrhoids at Home
If you prefer home treatments and are searching for natural remedies for haemorrhoids after pregnancy, read ahead for a few powerful ones:
- Ice Pack: Apply an ice pack on the infected area for a quick cure. Ensure the ice pack has a soft covering. A cold compress soaked in witch hazel is also an effective technique for reducing the inflammation and pain.
- Goat Milk: Mix 10 grams of ground mustard to 10 tablespoons of goat milk. Mix it properly and drink it before breakfast. You will find a significant change in the inflammation and pain caused by your condition.
- Turmeric: This natural ingredient is known for its antibiotic properties and can be used to heal haemorrhoids. Mix turmeric with mustard oil and a bit of onion juice. Apply this paste to the infected areas for immediate relief.
- Onions: Take one piece of red onion and chop it finely. Add sugar to it and consume this mixture twice a day to reduce nerve irritation. The bleeding will reduce and so will the irritation.
- Pomegranate Peel: Crush pomegranate peel to fill a small cup and add hot water to it. Allow the mixture to cool down and drink it twice a day for relief from haemorrhoids.
- Black Mustard and Yoghurt: Ground a spoonful of black mustard and add it to a cup of fresh yoghurt. Consume this before breakfast and drink some buttermilk after it. This treatment is ideal for mothers who are breastfeeding.
- Ginger: A combination of ginger, mint and fresh lemon juice can be consumed daily for great relief from postpartum haemorrhoids. Add a little honey to the mixture to make it more effective.
- Sitz Bath: A Sitz bath is a small plastic basin that can be placed over the toilet seat. Pour warm water in it and soak the rectal area for 10 minutes 3-4 times daily. This will ease a lot of pain and discomfort caused by haemorrhoids.
How to Speed Up the Healing Process?
To hasten the healing process and to prevent the growth of haemorrhoids in the future, it is important to keep constipation at bay. The following habits can help you to do that:
- Drink at least eight to ten glasses of water every day to avoid constipation
- Eat a lot of fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains which provides you with a lot of fibre
- Kegel exercises help in improving the circulation in the rectal area. They strengthen the anal muscles and lessens the scope of developing haemorrhoids. Kegel exercises are useful for strengthening the area near the urethra and vagina which eases recovery post-delivery.
- Add an exercise regime to your daily schedule by taking a brisk walk every day.
- Use the bathroom whenever you feel the need for a bowel movement. Holding it will make it difficult to pass as the stool will get drier.
- Do not prolong your sitting time on the toilet seat for more than required. This will put a lot of strain on surrounding areas.
Prevention of haemorrhoids is an easy process that can be easily integrated into everyday life. Various steps to prevent its occurrence have to be taken during and after pregnancy.
- Maintain an active lifestyle before, during and after pregnancy.
- Doing pelvic muscle exercises strengthens the area and improves blood circulation.
- Preventing constipation and subsequent straining during bowel movements is an important step towards keeping haemorrhoids at bay.
When to Call a Doctor
Speak to your doctor immediately if you notice any rectal bleeding. If your homecare results have not yielded any results, it is time to speak to a professional. Hardening of the haemorrhoids and increasing pain are also indicators of needing medical intervention. There could be a blood clot inside which may need a small procedure for removal.
Postpartum Haemorrhoids are not life-threatening but can cause pain and discomfort. However, it can be prevented and controlled by maintaining an active lifestyle and natural remedies coupled with medications can help overcome this condition.
Also Read: Skin Care After Delivery