You know those social media posts of brand new mamas fresh from childbirth, basking in that very specific luminescent glow?
Sorry, but we’re about to add some nuance to that perfect picture—and it comes in the shape of postpartum hemorrhoids.
Yes, giving birth is an incredible experience—but it’s not all peaches and happy snaps. Post-pregnancy piles exist, and they might just be more common than you think.
Hemorrhoids are basically swollen veins around your butt area—and when those veins swell enough, they may appear as little lumps protruding out of your anus. Awesome, right?
Hemorrhoids come in all shapes and sizes.
They can be internal or external and can feel anything from a little itchy to seriously sore.
Perhaps one of their most striking features is that they can cause rectal bleeding that you might notice when you poop.
This may be because a blood clot has developed in an internal hemorrhoid and needs to make its way out.
Hemorrhoids and giving birth are a compatible match. Here’s why, and also how you can get some relief.
In this article 📝
- Hemorrhoids after childbirth FAQs
- How common are hemorrhoids after birth?
- Do postpartum hemorrhoids go away?
- How long do hemorrhoids last after giving birth?
- How do I get rid of postpartum hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids after childbirth FAQs
It’s often referred to as the fourth trimester because, while your baby is no longer inside of you, this time is still a significant part of having a healthy pregnancy.
As both you and your baby adjust to this new era, there are some growing pains that may kick into gear.
Physical symptoms, from gas to breast engorgement to various aches and pains, can be accompanied by very real mental health challenges.
(While we’re on the topic, postpartum depression (PPD) is real. While feeling emotional is normal after childbirth, PPD requires treatment. If you’re struggling, reach out—to a doctor, friend, family member, or your Peanut community. You don’t have to do this alone.)
One of the many complaints of the fourth trimester is postpartum hemorrhoids. So how common are they, what causes them, and how long are they going to stick around for? Let’s dive in.
How common are hemorrhoids after birth?
Postpartum hemorrhoids are common—so common, in fact, that 43% of the women in this study developed them.
And this study came up with comparable results, with a third of new mamas developing hemorrhoids in the postpartum period.
(The stats appear to be even higher when it comes to developing them during pregnancy—perhaps as in as many as half of all pregnancies. They usually rear their head in the third trimester. )
So, if it helps at all, you’re not alone.
Hemorrhoids occur during and after pregnancy for various reasons.
While you’re pregnant, your blood volume increases significantly, meaning your veins expand.
Add to this the fact that your uterus is expanding, and it’s not hard to see that the veins beneath it may be feeling the pressure.
Then you actually give birth—and all the pushing that you do for this mighty task can make a delicate situation even more so. (It makes sense then that postpartum hemorrhoids are more common after vaginal delivery.)
Another factor is that constipation is also really common in the postpartum time—47% after vaginal delivery and 57% after c-section—and the strain to the general area is further increased.
Do postpartum hemorrhoids go away?
And now for the very important next question: Will hemorrhoids go away on their own after pregnancy?
The good news is that yes, in most cases, they should disappear on their own. Your job is to make yourself as comfortable as possible in the meantime.
So, um, hate to be rude—but when do postpartum hemorrhoids go away? 🤔
How long do hemorrhoids last after giving birth?
Postpartum hemorrhoids should clear up within the weeks of the postpartum period. Luckily, the pain and swelling should die down after a few days.
But if they aren’t going away or you notice blood in your poop, it’s worth having a checkup with your doctor.
Thrombosed hemorrhoids (that’s when a blood clot develops in an internal hemorrhoid) generally clear up on their own without surgery, but there is a slight chance you might need a minor procedure to help you out.
How do I get rid of postpartum hemorrhoids?
If you’re wondering how to get rid of postpartum hemorrhoids, there’s, unfortunately, no magic pill. But there are definitely steps to take to ease the pain and discomfort, and speed up the healing process.
Here are our top tips:
- Sitz bath. Your healthcare practitioner may have spoken to you about the wonders of the postpartum sitz bath. It’s basically a warm bath that targets your perineum (the area between your vagina and anus), promoting blood flow and healing. You typically pop the small bath on your toilet seat or in your tub. Wait about three days before you get going to avoid infection. Also, check with your doctor about what you can add to your sitz bath. It’s generally okay to pop some salt, baking soda, and/or apple cider vinegar into the water.
- Peri bottle. This is basically a little squirt bottle that allows you to clean the area without too much trouble.
- Witch hazel pads. These can numb the area and help you feel more comfortable.
- Hemorrhoid creams, sprays, and suppositories. The good news is that they exist. Just check in with your doctor to see which option is best for you. (Suppositories, for example, might be a bad idea if you’ve had anepisiotomy or an injury to your perineal area.)
- Painkillers. It should be okay to take ibuprofen and acetaminophen for the pain. (Again, checking in with your doctor first is a good idea.)
- Ice packs. Yep, they’re a miracle cure for so many things and they definitely help relieve some of the discomfort of hemorrhoids.
- Mind how you sit. There’s no better time to treat your tush. A recliner chair can do wonders. As can a waffle cushion or soft pillow. Opt for lying down or standing over sitting. You have complete license to lounge around over this time.
- Keep hydrated and fibered up. Always a good idea, but definitely when you’re constipated. Some gentle exercise can help. As can a stool softener, if need be.
- Pelvic floor exercises. They’re a good idea in the postpartum period anyway—particularly if you’re experiencing any sort of incontinence—and they can also help stave off your chances of developing hemorrhoids in the future.
In rare cases, if your hemorrhoids aren’t healing on their own, a medical procedure may be recommended. The options are:
- Rubber band ligation. Basically, a rubber band is placed around the hemorrhoid to cut off blood flow to it.
- Sclerotherapy. A chemical solution is injected into the area to shrink the blood vessel.
- Hemorrhoidectomy. This will only be done in very severe cases and involves removing the hemorrhoid completely.
But most of the time, with a little TLC, postpartum hemorrhoids should clear up on their own.
Take care of yourself, mama.
You might be interested in:
Your Guide to Postpartum Swelling
How My Experience With Postpartum Depression Changed My Life
A Guide to the Postpartum Recovery Process
All About Postpartum Psychosis
Your Guide to Postpartum Anxiety Symptoms
How to Deal With Postpartum Gas
10 Ideas for a Nutritious Postpartum Diet
A Guide to the Best Types of Postpartum Massage
Postpartum Exercise Tips
An Intro to Postpartum Yoga
Why Do I Get Postpartum Night Sweats?
What are the Possible Postpartum Complications?
What’s Causing My Postpartum Headache?