Preventing and treating hemorrhoids during pregnancy

Hemorrhoids are common during pregnancy. What can we do to prevent them, and how can we treat them when they do occur?

Hemorrhoids are common during pregnancy. What can we do to prevent them, and how can we treat them when they do occur?

Pregnancy-related hemorrhoids mainly appear during the second or third trimester, when the uterus increasingly expands and puts pressure on the veins in the anal area. Pregnant women also sometimes suffer from constipation, which can also increase the risk of developing hemorrhoids.

Some tips for prevention:

  • Go to the bathroom as soon as you feel the need. Delaying a bowel movement increases the pressure on the anal blood vessels and increases the likelihood of constipation.
  • Avoid bearing down with too much force, and do not stay on the toilet for more than five minutes, as this position puts a lot of pressure on the anal area. Placing your feet on a small footstool helps remedy this problem.
  • Eat a balanced, high-fibre diet, and drink water regularly, whenever you are thirsty. Once again, the goal is to prevent constipation.
  • Avoid lifting or carrying heavy loads. Your baby’s weight is already putting enough pressure on you. Delegate!
  • Stay active throughout your pregnancy, with your doctor’s approval. Just remember to adapt the type of activity and intensity as your pregnancy progresses. Physical activity stimulates the digestive system, which helps prevent constipation.
  • Avoid standing up or sitting down for long periods.

 

If you develop hemorrhoids despite all your efforts, here is how you can relieve them:

  • Take sitz baths in lukewarm water two to three times a day. You can add baking soda to the water, as it will help relieve the itching.
  • If the hemorrhoids are external, clean the anal area very gently with a fragrance-free “baby wipe” or moistened toilet paper, after each bowel movement.
  • To relieve the itching, apply cold compresses to the anal area for ten minutes, three to four times a day.
  • Wear cotton underwear, because cotton does not hold humidity as much as synthetic fibres.
  • Do not lift any heavy loads.

If you still have problems despite these measures, your pharmacist can help you choose a non-prescription medication to relieve your symptoms. If you’ve had hemorrhoids in the past and your doctor prescribed a medication for you at the time, your pharmacist can determine whether the treatment is still appropriate for you and may be able to renew your prescription. Don’t hesitate to consult your pharmacist!

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