Pregnancy is a beautiful and transformative journey, but it often comes with a set of challenges, and one of the common discomforts many expectant mothers face is the development of haemorrhoids. Haemorrhoids, which are swollen veins in the rectum and anus, can be particularly troublesome during pregnancy due to increased pressure on the pelvic region and hormonal changes. While these may be a common occurrence, there are proactive steps recommended by a leading colorectal surgeon in Melbourne that you can take to prevent this health condition and manage haemorrhoids symptoms effectively. Remember, if it makes you more comfortable, you can always request a female surgeon.
Why Haemorrhoids Occur During Pregnancy
We have haemorrhoids all the time – but when they become inflamed and swollen, that’s when it becomes a health issue. Haemorrhoids during pregnancy are very common, affecting around 1 in 3 people.
They are primarily a result of increased pressure on the blood vessels in the pelvic region. As the uterus expands to accommodate the growing baby, it exerts pressure on the veins in the rectum and anus, leading to swelling, inflammation, and other uncomfortable haemorrhoids symptoms.
Additionally, hormonal changes, especially the increased production of progesterone, can contribute to the relaxation of the veins, making pregnant women more susceptible to developing haemorrhoids.
Certain factors can increase the likelihood of developing haemorrhoids during pregnancy. These include:
- Constipation: Straining during bowel movements due to constipation can exacerbate the pressure on the veins in the pelvic area, increasing the risk of haemorrhoids.
- Weight gain: Excessive weight gain during pregnancy can contribute to added pressure on the pelvic blood vessels.
- Genetics: A family history of haemorrhoids may increase the likelihood of developing them during pregnancy.
- Prolonged sitting or standing: Being in the same position for extended periods can impede blood circulation, potentially leading to the development of haemorrhoids.
- Lack of exercise: Regular physical activity helps maintain proper blood flow and digestion, reducing the risk of constipation and haemorrhoids.
What to Do to Prevent Haemorrhoids
- Stay Hydrated: Drinking plenty of water is crucial to maintaining soft and regular bowel movements, preventing constipation, and reducing the strain on the rectal veins.
- Fibre-Rich Diet: Incorporating high-fibre foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains into your diet can promote healthy digestion and help prevent constipation.
- Regular Exercise: Engaging in moderate exercise, such as walking or swimming, promotes blood circulation and aids in preventing constipation.
- Take Breaks: If your work or routine involves prolonged sitting or standing, take regular breaks to stretch and move around. This can help alleviate pressure on the pelvic blood vessels.
- Kegel Exercises: Strengthening pelvic floor muscles through Kegel exercises can improve circulation in the pelvic area and reduce the risk of haemorrhoids.
- Use Proper Toilet Habits: Avoid straining during bowel movements, and don’t sit on the toilet for extended periods. Use a step stool to elevate your feet, promoting a more natural position for bowel movements.
- Topical Treatments: Over-the-counter creams or ointments containing witch hazel or hydrocortisone can help soothe the symptoms of haemorrhoids. Always consult with your healthcare provider before using any medication during pregnancy.
When to See a Colorectal Surgeon in Melbourne
While preventive measures can significantly reduce the risk of haemorrhoids during pregnancy, it’s essential to be aware of when to seek professional guidance:
- Persistent Symptoms: If you experience persistent discomfort or pain, which are common haemorrhoids symptoms indicating a more severe case, consult your healthcare provider.
- Unresponsive to Home Remedies: If home remedies and lifestyle changes do not alleviate your symptoms, it’s crucial to seek medical advice for appropriate intervention.
- Severe Pain: Severe pain or a lump near your anus may indicate a thrombosed haemorrhoid, requiring prompt medical attention.
- Bleeding: If you see any bleeding or blood in your stool, it’s best to see your colorectal surgeon in Melbourne as soon as you can.
Don’t Struggle with Haemorrhoids – Speak to a Leading Female Surgeon for Treatment
Haemorrhoids during pregnancy are a common concern, but with proactive measures, they can be effectively prevented and managed. By adopting a healthy lifestyle, staying vigilant for potential risk factors, and seeking timely medical advice from your colorectal surgeon in Melbourne when needed, expectant mothers can navigate this aspect of pregnancy with greater comfort and confidence. Remember that every pregnancy is unique, so it’s essential to tailor these strategies to your individual needs in consultation with your healthcare provider and request a female surgeon if you’re experiencing haemorrhoids symptoms.