Hemorrhoids - oh boy!
I never in my wildest dreams thought I’d be blogging to the universe about such a delightful topic, but hey… this is a reality many of us moms face. Ugh!
Hemorrhoids are varicose veins (swollen veins) that appear in the rectal area. They are often itchy or painful (oh yeah) and can sometimes rupture and bleed.
Hemorrhoids occur when straining or pressure causes the veins in your rectum to swell and enlarge. During pregnancy, your growing uterus can increase the pressure on the veins lower in the body. This can lead to spider veins and varicose veins in your legs, but also hemorrhoids. And those great pregnancy hormones that keep things perking along can also cause the walls of your veins to relax, allowing them to swell more easily. Straining, especially during hard bowel movements, traps more blood in the swollen veins, which can make hemorrhoids very painful. Straining can even cause hemorrhoids to protrude from the rectum.
If you have had hemorrhoids before pregnancy, you’re more likely to get them again while pregnant. They may also develop or flare up with the straining of labor, and there’s not much you can do at that point.
But you can help prevent hemorrhoids by making simple lifestyle changes that help keep you from getting constipated. Drink plenty of liquids; eat foods high in fiber; exercise regularly; don’t delay – trot to the pot as soon as you feel the urge; don’t gain too much weight; avoid long periods of standing or sitting. If you’re one of the lucky ones who acquired this “pain in the caboose,” there are things you can learn to help relieve the uncomfortable side effects.