The Pregnancy Symptom No One Talks About
The Joys of Pregnancy
Pregnancy can bring up all sorts of fun little aches and pains! I personally have been quite lucky that I have had a great pregnancy so far. Currently I'm at 31 weeks and have been very proactive with my health, fitness, and seeking appropriate therapies. I believe all of this has helped me to have a great pregnancy experience so far.
Recently, I have have been dealing with a real pain in the a$$... literally... yes, I'm talking about hemorrhoids! This is a really uncomfortable thing to talk about for most people. Who wants to admit that they have inflamed blood vessels protruding out of their rectum causing pain, swelling, redness, and even bleeding. It's not cute. But the more I share this issue with friends, family, and clients, the more I realize just how common it is!
What Causes Hemorrhoids?
When you start to dive into a google search, most of the time hemorrhoids are connected to constipation. The strain you put on your bowels causes blood vessels to protrude, creating painful little bumps either inside or outside of your rectum. Pregnancy can be another cause, simply due to the added weight sitting on your pelvis, causing pressure on the pelvic floor. They often get aggravated during late pregnancy and during labour.
How Do I Avoid Hemorrhoids?
The best way to avoid hemorrhoids is to ensure that your bowels are moving well by eating a whole foods based diet, staying well hydrated, and moving regularly! There are also exercises you can learn with your pelvic floor physiotherapist or prenatal fitness coach to help you keep the pelvic floor muscles working to manage the extra load being placed on them.
In my case, due to a history of constipation (which has since been rectified with diet and lifestyle changes as mentioned above), I had a little one that was a non issue... until now, at 31 weeks pregnant when the pressure won and started causing some real pain.
How Do I Get Rid of Hemorrhoids?
So this is a tricky one. As far as I know, the best we can do is to bring down the inflammation, pain, and overall aggravation, but we can't actually get rid of them unless we get them removed surgically.
Here is what I have learned about managing them:
- avoid preparation H or anything like it - it doesn't work, and it contains parabens and mercury which can absorb into your body and through the umbilical cord to baby - even if you're not pregnant, you don't want to subject your body to these harsh chemicals
- bring down inflammation with diet (avoid sugars, gluten and dairy - load up on plant foods)
- shower/wash after each bowel movement and then move onto next bullet point
- use astringents like witch hazel - get a non-alcoholic with hazel, soak a cotton pad and gently wipe over the area
- use coconut oil to coat area to avoid chafing when you have to be up and about all day
- take baths with epsom salts and baking soda
- use the inside of a piece of fresh aloe to soothe the area after the bath (not very comfortable due to the moisture, but this can be done before bed, after your bath)
All of these tricks seemed to help me get from feeling agonizing pain, to being able to go about my day comfortably, in a matter of days!
Did you deal with hemorrhoids during pregnancy, or at any point in time? What did you do to manage them?