Do you know hemorrhoids are very common during pregnancy and cause more trouble for nursing mothers? During pregnancy, your body is likely to experience many changes. One such change is when your uterus expands with the growing fetus and enhances the weight of your belly. The additional weight on the uterus puts pressure on the anus or rectum.
Moreover, high levels of progesterone relax your blood vessels and make them swell and stretched due to the increasing weight of growing baby. That’s the reason why pregnant women are prone to hemorrhoids. Another common problem during pregnancy is constipation, which also causes hemorrhoids.
Hemorrhoids while breastfeeding
While hemorrhoids and its medications won’t harm the baby during breastfeeding, the condition is likely to cause a great discomfort to the nursing mother - as she has to sit for a long time while breastfeeding. Sitting for long hours can make hemorrhoids worse.
How to relieve hemorrhoids
To relieve hemorrhoid symptoms, breastfeeding moms can use an over-the-counter cream and make some simple lifestyle changes to make the condition less painful. Due to swollen veins in the rectal area, you’re likely to feel a soft mass sticking out of your anus. It can range from a size of a raisin up to a size of a grape, which is quite painful, itching and may even cause rectal bleeding during bowel movement.
Usually, hemorrhoids caused during pregnancy go away on their own after childbirth. But sometimes they persist even after giving birth for up to six months postpartum. Around 25-percent women experience hemorrhoids even after childbirth for about 5 to six months. The condition gets worse when you’re breastfeeding.
What to do to get relief?
Here are some easy ways to alleviate hemorrhoids:
- Try to avoid sitting or standing for long periods of time for reducing pressure on the rectal veins.
- Breastfeeding women are recommended to lie down when nursing, watching TV or reading.
- For temporary relief, you can take ibuprofen or acetaminophen, even if you are breastfeeding. However, try to avoid an overdose of the medicament when you’re nursing. It is better to consult your healthcare provider if the discomfort continues.
- You can apply an ice pack to the affected area to reduce inflammation and discomfort temporarily. The cold compress can also be saturated with witch hazel for a soothing effect.
- Soak yourself in warm water in a tub or sitz bath, which allows you to submerge your rectal area into warm water simply by sitting down. You can get sitz bath kit at a hospital or purchase it from any drugstore. You can try soaking your bottom in a sitz bath for 10 minutes at a time. It can be repeated twice or thrice per day until you see improvement.
- Alternate cold and warm treatment is also a good way to relieve the symptoms of hemorrhoids. All you need to do is apply an ice pack to the affected area and follow up with a warm sitz bath.
- After each bowel movement, you have to clean the bottom gently using the plastic squirt bottle that you’re usually given in a hospital. Apart from that, you can use wipes dipped in witch hazel for cleaning and leaving its soothing effect on the area. Try to only soft and unscented toilet paper to avoid irritating the affected area.
You have to consult your healthcare provider to prescribe you a safe topical anesthetic or suppository for treatment. Dr. Numb is an effective anesthetic cream
which dulls the skin patch, thereby preventing pain and burning sensation. Although many over-the-counter medications are available without a prescription, it is better to consult your physician, especially when you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. Always remember that these medications are intended for short-term usage. Prolonged usage may cause even more discomfort and inflammation.