Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in the lowest part of your rectum and anus. Trust me when I say this, it is one of the most painful experiences anyone can ever have. Let us talk about this enormous pain in the butt.
Personally, I have had issue even before pregnancy with hemorrhoids and anal fissures. The natural and easy process of going to the bathroom has always been pretty painful, and bloody for a long time. I knew my diet was at fault. I didn’t really have a healthy diet back then.
And during my various check ups with the doctors, surgery was recommended. But since it did not have guaranteed results, I opted not to. Also, because the pain was manageable, and by that I mean, not killing me.
According to a paper published on National Center for Biotechnology website, one third of females have thrombosed external hemorrhoids or anal fissures in the postpartum period. So it is incredibly common, but not something that is spoken about much.
Towards the end of my pregnancy, it did get pretty awful, but still could be managed:
- Chilled organic cold pressed coconut oil helped; applied generously before and after going to the bathroom
- Warm water baths. Fill up the tub, and sit in some warn water, occasionally with a drop of Dettol, and it would soothe the areas.
- More often than not, having some food with fiber/laxative effect would tide me for a few days.
But post delivery, going for a poo become a nightmare. It was excruciatingly painful. So awful, that I have cried and given up. But that would not solve it, obviously. I mean, it got to a stage where I would have been happy to give birth naturally without medication, than go for a poo! It was horrendous.
Finally I consulted another doctor and decided to take a different approach, and here is what helped me. All of the below are safe for pregnant and breastfeeding moms.
- Fyobgel containing the active ingredient ispaghula husk, a fibre, which acts bulk-forming laxative. Each stachet needs to mixed in a glass of water and gulped down.
- Neohealar – both ointment and suppository – An herbal medication reduces pain, inflammation and pile size after a few days of treatment. The medication promises to soothe, heal and repair, and I must admit it does its job. And yes, I have used both, but if I had to pick only one, it would be the suppository.
- Laxative/Stool Softener – Duphalac – The obvious issue was constipation, and hence a laxative is important.
- Increased water intake. Kept a bottle next to me at all times, and made a conscious effort to drink more water. Keeping yourself hydrated is extremely important
- Routine. As difficult as it in the weeks after giving birth, there was no way out if I wanted to get better. Had to go at the same time. More or less. Everyday.
- Not waiting until its urgent. Having a routine also meant that there was a designated time to go, and I could also take my own time in the process and not hurry up. Going slowly is extremely important, not just to manage the pain, but also to ensure that it doesn’t get worse.
- Foot Stool. I mean something to keep your feet up, not the other “stool”. Keeping your feet raised will help give a slightly squatting position, which in turn helps the muscles relax. According to a Huffington Post article, “a squat opens the pipes and frees the flow entirely.”
- Diet: There is just no way out other than fixing your diet and increasing fiber intake.
Dr. Jacqueline Wolf, a gastroenterologist and associate professor of medicine at Harvard-affiliated Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, in the Harvard Heath Blog, says that it is the most important thing to add fiber to the diet.
She also suggests lubricating the process by mixing a tablespoon of mineral oil with applesauce or yogurt and eating it at breakfast or lunch. Another suggestion from Dr Wolf is to try using products such witch hazel infused pads and soothing creams to help manage pain. “Don’t overlook the relief offered by sitz baths. Using a basin that fits under the toilet seat, soak the inflamed area in warm water for 10 to 15 minutes, two to three times a day,” she adds.
The NHS website has the following advices:
- avoid straining to pass stools, as it may make your hemorrhoids worse
- use baby wipes or moist toilet paper, rather than dry toilet paper, to clean your bottom after passing a stool
- pat the area around your bottom rather than rubbing it.
If the pain continues to be unbearable even after trying these, maybe surgery is your only answer, and you definitely want to head to your doctor by then!