Flickr photo by molecule MikePregnancy brings pretty glowing skin, shiny hair, and strong fingernails. Unfortunately it also may bring hemorrhoids. Three main culprits contribute to this painful annoyance:
1. Your uterus: It's growing to accommodate the fetus and this puts pressure on the pelvic veins. This increased weight can slow the flow of blood from the lower half of the body, thus amping up the pressure on the veins below the uterus causing it to become more dilated or swollen.
2. Constipation: This common problem during pregnancy can also birth a hemorrhoid from straining to release a bowel movement.
3. Progesterone: The hormone is released during pregnancy and it causes veins in the sensitive area to relax and swell more easily.
There's no way to prevent a hemorrhoid, but there are plenty of tips to help alleviate the pain. Dr. Margaret McKenzie, OB-GYN shares her recommendations here.
1. Apply an ice pack: Ice may help decrease swelling and discomfort. Tip: Use a frozen eye mask (try Spa Blue) and lay it vertical on the area (it's the perfect size!).
2. Soak your booty: Purchase a "sitz bath." It's a tub that fits on the toilet and will allow you to sit comfortably. Baths are often too hard to manage later in pregnancy and you can also slip and slide.
3. Consult your OB-GYN: Instead of buying an over-the-counter topical cream, Dr. McKenzie cautions, "Suppositories are better because they stay in place and decrease tissue inflammation."
Have any of you suffered from pregnancy-related hemorrhoids? What treatments worked best for you?