Although few women would admit it, as many as 20-50% of pregnant women experience hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoids are unsightly, pea or grape size swollen blood vessels in the rectal area. They are sometimes called piles. Hemorrhoids are actually varicose veins that arise inside the rectum or protrude out the anus; thus, they are classified as internal and external hemorrhoids and the external hemorrhoids are “graded” 1-4, based on severity and extent of protusion. Pregnant women suffering from hemorrhoids experience itching, burning, uncomfortability, pain and less frequently rectal bleeding.
Causes—increased pressure in the pelvic area, enlarging uterus, increased blood flow leading to swelling, bulging & dilating; constipation aggravates, straining to have a bowel movement
Prevention—drink fluids, mostly water, increase fiber (fruits and veggies- 20 to 30 grams), Kegel exercise and incorporate over-the-counter stool softeners; sleep on your right side; move around—don’t sit or stand for hours; don’t strain; wipe clean; avoiding heavy lifting; petroleum jelly;
Treatments—baking soda (itch); herbs such as witch hazel, shepherd’s purse, lavender and juniper (swelling) pads and anti-inflammatory creams (Tucks pads, Preparation H), ice pack, soak in warm water; alternate cold and hot treatments
If bleeding or severe pain, consult a doctor