Did you know that 25% to 35% of women struggle with hemorrhoids during pregnancy, and 85% of women struggle with hemorrhoids during the third trimester?
It’s safe to say if you’re struggling with hemorrhoids—you’re not alone. Whether you’re already pregnant or planning to become pregnant, it’s important to understand what causes hemorrhoids so you can avoid developing them during your pregnancy.
Keep reading to discover what causes hemorrhoids during pregnancy, and if you’re already struggling with this painful problem, learn how to manage and treat them effectively.
What Are Hemorrhoids?
Simply put, our whole body is an intricate system of wires, hoses, and tubes. Blood vessels are the hoses. Imagine stepping on a hose that’s turned on and pumping out water. The hose would begin to swell and create a balloon where the water is being stopped, right?
That’s like what happens to our body when we have hemorrhoids. Essentially, one of your blood vessels becomes blocked (or “stepped on”) and creates a ballooning of the blood vessel. These “balloons” can occur internally, inside the rectum, or externally, outside the anus.
If you have external hemorrhoids, you’ll usually feel pressure, discomfort, or sharp pain when you sit down. You may also feel discomfort during bowel movements. Typically, internal hemorrhoids are less painful, but they may cause bleeding during and after a bowel movement, and they can also be pushed through the anus during a bowel movement.
What Causes Hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids can occur for various reasons. Typically, hemorrhoids during pregnancy are caused by the following.
Pelvic Floor Weakness
When your pelvic floor isn’t strong, the hoses, wires, and tubes within your body don’t have the support they need, making them vulnerable to hemorrhoids during pregnancy.
Constipation is another major cause of hemorrhoids. Harder stools put more pressure and tension on the tissues in your rectum and anus, contributing to hemorrhoids during pregnancy. You can read this blog post to learn helpful tips for preventing constipation during pregnancy.
Did you know that the position you sit on the toilet in isn’t the optimal position for alignment of the bladder and rectal tissues? Using a tool, like a Squatty Potty®, can relax your pelvic muscles and increase the rectum angle, making it easier to move stools through your system, reducing the likelihood of developing hemorrhoids during pregnancy.
Regular movements, like lifting heavy objects, become more cumbersome during pregnancy. Lifting may place abnormal pressure on your tissues, causing hemorrhoids. Many women also experience hemorrhoids during delivery due to irregular breathing patterns and excess pressure placed on the rectum and anus.
Tips for Experiencing Relief from Hemorrhoids
If you are already experiencing hemorrhoids and are looking for some relief, here are some ways to soothe and treat hemorrhoids.
- Topical treatments—Apply an over-the-counter hemorrhoid cream that contains hydrocortisone, like Preparation H, or apply a numbing agent, like witch hazel.
- Warm baths—Soak your anal area in a sitz bath with warm water for ten minutes 2-3 times per day, or take a warm bath with Epsom salts.
- High-fiber foods— Eating foods high in fiber, like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, will help reduce constipation, which removes pressure on your rectal tissue and can help alleviate hemorrhoids.
- Squatty Potty— Using a Squatty Potty can position your body in a natural, comfortable squatting position that optimally aligns the bladder and rectal tissue for better bowel movements that place less pressure on your rectum and anus.
What Is the Best Way to Treat & Prevent Hemorrhoids?
Although all the tips above are helpful, one of the best ways to treat and prevent hemorrhoids during pregnancy is with the expert help of a pelvic floor specialist.
Moment of Truth Physical Therapy helps pregnant women balance the tissue in the vagina and rectum to alleviate and prevent hemorrhoids. We also help women strengthen their pelvic floor with movements that provide extra support for the body’s hoses, wires, and tubes.
Prevent & Treat Hemorrhoids During Pregnancy with Moment of Truth Physical Therapy
If you’re struggling with hemorrhoids, you shouldn’t have to deal with the pain and discomfort they cause during the remainder of your pregnancy.
Our passionate, caring pelvic health specialists can help you strengthen your pelvic floor and develop a healthy, active lifestyle to prevent hemorrhoids. Contact our experienced team in Peoria, Arizona, to set up your free discovery session!