Pregnancy Hemorrhoids (Piles): Prevention and treatments
It is common to get painful hemorrhoids (commonly known as piles) during or after pregnancy, so how can you prevent it and what are the treatments available?
As you’re excitedly counting down the days to your baby’s arrival, you’ve probably noticed all the changes that your body is going through.
Some are pleasant, like that beautiful pregnancy glow most people talk about — but some are unexpected and even painful, such as hemorrhoids, otherwise known as piles.
It is quite a common problem here, with one in three people suffering from piles, and Singapore has even been touted as the “piles capital of the world”!
Hemorrhoids often occur after the age of 30, with over half of those aged 50 and up displaying symptoms, but pregnant women and new mums are also particularly susceptible to it.
So what exactly causes hemorrhoids and what can you do to avoid getting this painful problem during and after your pregnancy?
Signs of hemorrhoids
Hemorrhoids can be an internal or external problem that develops in or around the anus.
These occur inside of the rectum, are mostly painless and usually can’t be seen or felt.
However, if the condition worsens then it could protrude out of your anus which causes pain and discomfort.
This can be found around the sensitive skin at the anal region and can cause painful swelling, itchiness or even bleeding.
If a blood clot forms there, this could also create a hard lump around your anus.
Here are other signs and symptoms to watch out for:
- Bright red blood in your stool or on your toilet paper when you wipe
- Any swelling at your anal region
- Itchiness or irritation around your anus
- Feelings of pain or discomfort
- A sensitive or painful lump near the anus
- Anal fissures and skin tags
Hemorrhoids can be a painful and uncomfortable problem which is common in pregnant women due to the extra pressure on your anal region from the weight of your growing baby.
Other causes may include:
- Straining too hard during bowel movements
- Sitting for too long on the toilet
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Being overweight or obese
- Anal intercourse
- Lack of fibre in your diet
- Not drinking enough water
- Lack of exercise
- The iron in your prenatal vitamins may cause constipation which could lead to piles
- Irregular bowel movements
How can you prevent piles during your pregnancy and what are the treatments available? Go to the next page to find out!
How to prevent piles
Although any serious complications arising from having hemorrhoids is rare, this painful problem is something which actually can be prevented.
Diet and exercise
Drink plenty of water and other fluids (juice, milk, etc) and ensure that you’re getting enough fibre in your diet which includes lots of whole fruits and vegetables and also whole grains.
Light to moderate exercise is recommended for pregnant mums and it can also help to ease or prevent hemorrhoids.
Having a sedentary lifestyle and sitting on hard chairs/ surfaces for too long can also lead to this common problem.
Avoid straining or pushing too hard when you’re having a bowel movement as this could cause painful hemorrhoids to occur.
Don’t read a book or play games on your phone while sitting on the toilet either — save that for when you’re seated comfortably on your sofa or in bed.
When you feel the urge to go to the toilet, try not to hold it in for too long as this could cause constipation.
If you have hemorrhoids, here are some treatment methods for you to consider:
Stool softeners and fibre supplements
These will help ease your bowel movements to avoid straining or sitting on the toilet for prolonged periods.
Your doctor might also prescribe some special cream or ointment to be applied to the affected area or recommend a sitz bath.
However, this will only offer temporary relief and may not be effective depending on the severity of your problem.
If your hemorrhoids require more treatment, you might have to consider rubber band ligation.
This is when elastic rings are surgically applied above the hemorrhoids to cut off the blood supply which will cause it to drop off and if needed, the hemorrhoids might even have to be surgically removed.
Such surgical treatments may require multiple procedures to treat your hemorrhoid problem.
Hemorrhoid Energy Therapy (HET™) Bipolar System
For those who are not keen on surgery, you may want to consider the latest non-surgical treatment by the PanAsia Surgery Group.
This quick, gentle and efficient treatment uses low power energy to treat the hemorroids without causing any collateral tissue damage.
100% of patients surveyed who have experienced this treatment for internal hemorrhoids reported that they felt no pain or discomfort at all.
The HET™ Bipolar System will be inserted into your rectum and low power energy is then delivered to the blood supply that feeds enlarged hemorrhoids — this will help reduce the blood volume and also the size of the hemorrhoid.
The best part is that the whole procedure only takes a few seconds to complete in a single therapy session!
If you think you have hemorrhoids or are suffering from hemorrhoids, remember to bring this up with your doctor at your next check-up so you can get properly treated.
Did you suffer from hemorrhoids during or after your pregnancy? What did you do to help ease the discomfort and pain? Share your tips with other mums by leaving a comment below!