You may still be in the hospital, or perhaps you just got home and you are getting settled. You are going the bathroom and spraying yourself down with warm water to dilute the urine to keep the pain tolerable, and you gently pat yourself dry…
And then you realize, something is there that wasn’t there before.
If you were in a blissful haze of stool softeners and peri bottles while in the hospital, getting home and finding your bottom sore and, well, poufy, will not be an easy moment.
They may not get talked about, but hemorrhoids are a common occurrence after giving birth. The same muscles that are engaged when having a bowel movement are the muscles that are used in the pushing phase of labor.
Hemorrhoids are stretched and swollen veins in the anus or lower rectum.
But the reality of hemorrhoids doesn’t sink in until you are home and you are finally alone for a minute and you find swollen tissue around your anus and you don’t know what to do about it.
What do you do for hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids can heal. To ease the pain while they are healing, you can sit or soak in a warm tub. Witch hazel can be applied to pads or gauze, and placed on the affected areas (witch hazel is also commonly used to help with discomfort in a woman perineum while healing from an episiotomy wound).
Your health care provider can also suggest a topical hemorrhoid medication.
To help keep bowels soft and regular, and thus, keeping strain to a minimum (ie: pain to a minimum) eating a diet rich in fiber is important.
Want to chat with other Calgary moms about your postpartum or pregnancy experience? There’s a Facebook Group for that!
Quick bullets for hemorrhoid care:
- Refrain from straining while having a bowel movement by keeping stool soft and regular
- Ask your care provider for a stool softener if you are not able to manage stool pain through a diet high in fiber (fruits, vegetables, and whole grains)
- Drink plenty of water
- Soak in warm baths and apply witch hazel topically while healing
- If sitting is uncomfortable, roll a blanket or towel and place under one side of your bottom, relieving any direct pressure
Healing after birth takes time, and for some women, it is just a huge pain in the butt!