In case you’ve had a bathroom accident where you saw blood after passing stool or felt a bump near your anal region, don’t worry. This condition is called piles, a common occurrence seen in most individuals. Piles in pregnancy is a common problem.
What are piles?
Also known as hemorrhoids, piles are described as varicose veins in your bottom, which includes the rectum and anus. There is a short tube that connects your rectum with your anus. When this swells up, it leads to piles. Piles can be extremely painful.
Piles in women
It might be a surprising fact that 80% of the people in India face problems related to constipation and a good amount of them confront the problem of piles later. Even across the world, every 1 in 20 Americans has symptomatic hemorrhoids. As they age, the risk of hemorrhoids increases.
Piles, as we know, are basically the collection of tissues and veins that become swollen and inflamed. They are found outside or inside the anus and their size can vary.
Here, in this blog, we will talk about the problem of piles in women and how it can be curbed. One of the most prominent reasons for piles is said to be chronic constipation. Apart from that chronic diarrhea, lifting heavy weights, pregnancy, or straining while passing stools are also very common reasons that contribute to the development of piles in women.
Are women more prone to piles than men?
The problem of piles is common in both women and men, irrespective of gender. Most of the people suffer from piles by the age of 50.
Why Piles during pregnancy?
During Pregnancy, the volume of blood circulating around your body increases, resulting in an increase in certain hormones in your body, especially human progesterone. This can make the walls around blood vessels to get relaxed and can cause piles. The risk of getting piles is significantly higher in 3rd trimester whereas it has been recorded that nearly 75% – 85% of women get piles during pregnancy or right after childbirth. The weight of growing baby adds more pressure on your veins, along with constipation (common during pregnancy) also increases the chances of piles in pregnancy.
The Major Reasons for Piles in women:
When you’re pregnant, high levels of the hormone progesterone relax the walls of your blood vessels. The volume of blood circulating around the body increases. This makes you more prone to piles and varicose veins when you’re pregnant. Constipation adds fuel to the fire sometimes and contributes to being another major reason for piles during pregnancy. The most common period you can observe developing piles during pregnancy is your third trimester.
You may develop piles that are usually the result of increased pressure on your lower rectum. During pregnancy, the baby puts extra pressure on this area. Hence, hemorrhoids can develop both during and after pregnancy. They are most common in vaginal deliveries.
Few aspects of pregnancy that makes constipation more likely to occur are as follows:
- Higher progesterone levels make stool harder to pass
- Lower levels of the hormone- Motilin plasma levels that increase intestinal movement.
- Less physical activities
- Consuming iron and calcium supplements which causes constipation
- Extending the size of the uterus slows down fecal movement.
- History of constipation or diarrhea before you conceive
Symptoms of Piles During Pregnancy
- Bleeding from your bottom. This will be painless. You can notice blood after you’ve passed your stool.
- Itching around your bottom region.
- Feeling the need to pass your stool even after you’ve just passed it.
- After you’ve passed your stool, you can see a small and soft lump hanging out of your bottom.
- Discharge of mucus after passing your stool.
- Inability to control your bowels.
Although piles in pregnant women do not affect the baby, it can be frustrating to go through them. Usually, piles aren’t painful. Strangulated piles, on the other hand, where the blood vessels slip out of your body and constrict and swell up, can be painful. However, this is a rare occurrence.
Note: Sometimes you might not feel these symptoms apparently and soon as hemorrhoids might be inside your rectal area.
Piles in Pregnant women
The volume of blood that circulates in the body is high for pregnant women. Also, levels of progesterone are also very high in during pregnancy. These cause the walls of your blood vessels to relax. And, the veins that run below your womb can get swollen because of the weight of the baby.
Due to this reason, you’re at a higher risk of suffering from varicose veins and piles during pregnancy. Another commonly seen problem during pregnancy is constipation, which can also lead to piles.
Piles are a common occurrence in pregnant women and are seen in about a quarter of pregnant women. It is also possible to develop piles during labor when the mother pushes the baby out.
How you can avoid piles during pregnancy
- Make sure to include a lot of fiber in your diet, food that consists of cereal, brown rice, and especially fruits and vegetables.
- To avoid getting dehydrated, make sure you drink plenty of water.
- Get as much exercise as possible, even if it means taking a short walk.
- When you feel those potty urges, pass your stool. By waiting it out, the stool only becomes harder and drier, which makes it difficult to pass.
- Keep a small seat below your feet when you pass stool. This might help ease your bowels.
- Practice pelvic floor exercises every day.
Also Read: Piles in Females: An image-based study
Treatments Available for Relief of piles
- Sitz bath pan that fits over your toilet seat. That helps you create a Sitz bath without getting your bathtub filled up. This will soothe your swelling and pain, reducing the feeling of discomfort.
- Applying topical cream as directed by a medical professional.
- Applying anti-itch ointments will help you with less itchiness and irritation when applied. This will lead to fewer infections and aggravated wounds. Example – hydrocortisone cream.
- Using gentle baby wipes to cleanse your bottom after using the toilet.
- Using ice packs inside cloth several times a day. This helps in reducing swelling.
- Not delaying the bowel movement as soon as your body signals you to visit the bathroom.
- Using witch hazel– soaked pads to get relief from itching. They have anti-inflammatory properties that soothe up the burning sensation.
Simple steps for expecting mothers to avoid or prevent piles
Even though piles are common during pregnancy, you’ll be happy to know, by following some steps you can avoid getting piles. Regularly drink enough fluids to avoid becoming dehydrated and constipated, maintain your diet of food, try increasing your fiber intake including fruit, veg, and wholemeal bread. Sometimes, a lack of physical activity is also responsible for piles, so you can exercise regularly to help improve your circulation. Ensure that you don’t strain too much in the loo, simply take your time or try again later. You can drink some water or eat some food high in fiber to help you go.
These steps are tried & tested, widely known and proven home-remedies to lower the risk of piles during pregnancy. If you get piles anyway, you can try certain bulk-forming laxative or pelvic floor exercises daily to help you during the gestation period.
In the majority of the cases, as your body is recovering from delivery, piles also shrink and disappear. Take a shower after you deliver and wipe that area clean and gently pat it dry. After delivery, constipation can make your piles worse or even cause them.
So, it is important that you include enough fiber in your diet to make prevent constipation. It is also important that you stay active. Inform your midwife about any problems you might be facing, and you might get help with laxatives.
With many treatments available for piles, you might tend to try out the one most easily accessible to you. However, consulting your GP before you resort to any treatment is always a better option.
Have you heard about Piles Laser treatment?
This procedure does not involve any cuts or wounds, unlike the traditional procedures. During laser treatment, laser energy is simply directed and delivered to the affected area which helps the hemorrhoidal nodes to shrink from inside. This helps in reducing the blood supply leading to abnormal growth of hemorrhoids. It is performed followed by negligible pain or bleeding. It also prevents recurrence and long hospital stays.
These measures will surely help you to get relief and curb them to some extent. You just have to be regular with the precautionary measures and instructions that will help you avoid facing piles during or after pregnancy or otherwise. Keeping your digestion smooth with the help of bulking agents and stool softeners will also help you prevent straining while passing the stool. This will also help you in avoiding those pondering hours you usually spend straining your bottom veins over toilet seats.
So, ladies, take care!
Note: All the medical aids and methods are to be performed under the guidance of a certified medical professional.