Postpartum Hemorrhoids: What You Need to Know

Postpartum Hemorrhoids: What You Need to Know

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.

Sure, 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.

Yes, turns out hemorrhoids and giving birth are a compatible match.

Here’s why and also how you can get some relief.

In this article 📝

  • Postpartum hemorrhoids symptoms
  • What causes hemorrhoids after birth?
  • What causes hemorrhoids during pregnancy?
  • Do postpartum hemorrhoids go away?
  • How long do hemorrhoids last after giving birth?
  • How to get rid of hemorrhoids after birth?

Postpartum hemorrhoids symptoms

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:

Internal hemorrhoids: These types of hemorrhoids are far inside your rectum, and you usually can’t feel them. They’re marked by painless bleeding during a bowel movement.

External hemorrhoids: These are located under the skin surrounding the anus. You’ll be able to feel them and may experience pain localized to that area.

But 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.

What causes 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 if experiencing a second or third pregnancy- with one study finding 85% of women to have hemorrhoids during pregnancy.

So, if it helps at all, you’re not alone.

Hemorrhoids happen 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.

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.

What causes hemorrhoids during pregnancy?

Hemorrhoids actually appear much more readily during pregnancy because of the increase of pressure bearing down on your pelvic area.

And this happens for a few different reasons:

  • Your growing baby: The weight of your bundle of joy can put pressure on your pelvic area and bowel. This can press onto the veins surrounding the anus, resulting in slow-moving or stagnant blood flow. Because of this, the blood starts to pool and swell inside your veins—causing hemorrhoids.
  • Constipation: Hormonal changes can cause your digestion to slow down, which can result in constipation. Here the extra waste within your bowel can enhance the pressure within the veins, making it harder for blood to flow. Add to that, straining to induce a poo can add even more pressure.
  • Increased blood volume: It’s amazing how many different changes your body goes through during pregnancy—with an increase in blood volume being one of them. This increase means that the veins have to work even harder to move blood throughout the body, predisposing blood to pool in the veins around the body.

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 to get rid of hemorrhoids after birth?

There’s no magic pill for getting rid of postpartum hemorrhoids, but there’s definitely ways to the pain and discomfort and speed up the healing process.

Here’s how to soothe hemorrhoids after birth:

  • 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. The American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists (ACOG) even goes so far as to recommend witch hazel pads for treating pregnancy-related hemorrhoids.
  • 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: Pelvic floor exercises are 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.

Just another step in your journey through postpartum recovery

Take care of yourself, mama.


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