Hemorrhoids: When you come home with more than a baby.

Hemorrhoids are common in more than 50% off the population for various reasons, but it isn't until you have a reason (like asking yourself if you have them) to look up hemorrhoids that you find out that fun fact. Sometimes they come from diet, sometimes they come from prolonged constipation, and sometimes, they happen because of pregnancy. 

When pregnant, the uterus applies a considerable amount of constant pressure on the anal cavity, increasing strain on the blood vessels that are close to the surface along the lower bowel and anus. When the blood vessels in these areas become swollen or distended (which some professionals believe is part of our lot in life as being upright walking mammals), they are commonly called hemorrhoids. 

They can be inside your body, or outside. And hemorrhoids can range from being mildly irritating to very painful. 

Luckily for most, many home remedies are helpful. 

FIBER - Regardless of age, eat more fiber. If you don't want to take Metamucil, try increasing your consumption of broccoli, beans, fruits, whole grains, and bran. If you do like taking Metamucil or other fiber supplements, start slow to help reduce other possible problems you don't want to google...excess flatulence. 

WATER - Along with fiber, drink more water. I know, I know, always with the "more water" for the pregnant people. But it rings true here too. More fiber and more water help ease the consistency of bowels movements with reduces constipation, straining, and discomfort if you already have hemorrhoids and are trying to heal. 

SITZ BATH - A soak in a warm sitz bath will help to ease pressure and discomfort, and will allow for clean water to move around your bottom, promoting increased circulation. They also feel good in of themselves, and if you have just given birth, a sitz bath is suggested for overall perineal healing. After your soak, dab your self dry, and perhaps even finish off with a Tucks medicated pad, a small disposable towelette with witch hazel. It is a natural disinfectant and has a pleasant cooling sensation. 

One more practical tip for those who need support because of hemorrhoids, a sore vagina, or fear of pooping after birth: COUNTER PRESSURE. 

When you are getting ready to use the toilet for a bowel movement, take your bathroom tissue, and put it directly on your anus before you start to push. Hold your hand and bath tissue in place while pushing to support the surrounding tissue. 

It sounds a little wonky, but counter pressure is a wonderful tool to use for many parts of your body. If you had a labor doula, it was probably used to support you in labor on your back or hips, and if you ever have a painful cough, hugging a pillow against your chest (or a stuffed animal for your little tykes) makes a cough not hurt as much. 

You are not alone, odd, or gross if you develop hemorrhoids during your pregnancy or any other time of life. If you find the suggestions offered here are not helping you personally, please contact your medical provider to explore more in-depth options for relief and long term healing.