An unfortunate reality of pregnancy is that all that baby weight pushing down upon our organs can cause discomfort down there. I usually experience hemorrhoids postpartum, but for some moms, it can begin during the second or third trimesters. These nasty little things are actually related to varicose veins (another pregnancy problem!). Here are my tips for treating hemorrhoids (either before or after you give birth).
1 — eat and drink well
Try to keep your bowel movements soft and regular by drinking lots of water and eating well. Fruits, vegetables and whole grains all help. Doula Lori Bregman also recommends drinking prune juice with flaxseeds and taking 1 tbsp of coconut oil before bed to help soften stools.
2 — grab an over-the-counter remedy
Hemoclin is an over-the-counter remedy available at most pharmacies and drug stores as well as online (because really, who wants to be seen picking it up in the store?). This clear water-based gel delivers no pain, no mess, and no stains. It provides cooling relief from anal discomforts (yes, I can confirm this statement).
3 — try witch hazel pads
Witch hazel has astringent and cooling properties. Soak several cotton pads with witch hazel and apply to your hemorrhoids several times daily. For added comfort, chill the pads in the freezer before applying them. Bregman also recommends adding a few drops of vitamin E oil to your pads. You can also buy Tucks, which are pre-made witch hazel pads, as most pharmacies.
4 — make an essential oil compress
Essential Oils recommends a soothing cypress compress for hemorrhoids. The authors explain, “Cypress essential oil has a toning effect on the veins… Here it is combined with detoxifying lemon and geranium essential oils, and juniper essential oil, which has an astringent action that is helpful for shrinking … hemorrhoids.” Add 3 drops each of cypress, lemon and juniper essential oils with 1 drop of geranium essential oil to 2 tsp of sunflower oil, then add to a bowl full of cold water. Soak a wash cloth in the water, squeeze out, and sit on the compress for 10 minutes.
5 — take a sitz bath
Keeping your perineal area clean after childbirth is very important and can help with managing hemorrhoids. A soak in warm water once or twice a day can help with discomfort down there. Bregman recommends adding 1/4 cup witch hazel and 1/2 cup sea salt, as well as a few drops of lavender, to your bath.
6 — apply baking soda to hemorrhoids
Baking soda can help reduce itching. Add some to your bath, or apply wet or dry directly to your hemorrhoids.
7 — get moving
Changing position can also help with hemorrhoids by improving your circulation. Avoid long periods of sitting or standing (which can also contribute to back aches). Try to move about or vary your positions. Exercise isn’t my favourite thing to do either either eight months pregnant or immediately postpartum, but even a small workout can help with hemorrhoids and other problems. Bregman recommends several gentle exercises specifically for hemorrhoids.
Have you suffered from hemorrhoids, either before or after giving birth? What helped you?