I never thought I would ever experience hemorrhoids in my life, not even during pregnancy. I mean, I’m young, active, and fairly healthy. I knew that it was a common occurrence for mothers postpartum but I still thought, “Nope, not me.”
But I’ve since flushed all those naïve thoughts down the toilet… (hah)
You see, I remember my first time pooping after I had given birth. I was bleeding from my butt hole. And if you couldn’t tell, I was mortified.
After many panic-stricken thoughts on the toilet, I flashed back to my pregnant self laying on the hospital bed, pushing so god damn hard that I defecated all over myself while my dear husband watched (front row seats I should mention), and then I knew right then and there, yup, hemorrhoids. Oh yea, definitely.
So there you go. If you didn’t think it could happen to you, well think again momma!
I had to deal with hemorrhoids after birth, along with other postpartum troubles – PUPPP, breast feeding, sleep deprivation, anxiety… You know, the usual.
Read my post about “PUPPP: It Began With Stretch Marks…”
For those who don’t know, hemorrhoids are where the veins around the rectum swell with blood and fluids. This is due to increased pressure in that area such as when you are constipated or in this case, pushing out a tiny human from your vajayjay (aka vaginal delivery)! This increased pressure pushes against the vein walls in the rectum causing it to weaken. Over time blood will collect in pockets where the vein walls are weak and voila – the birth of a hemorrhoid. The weak vein walls can also burst and bleed! It can develop inside the rectum and/or outside around the anus. And fun (not so fun) fact, you can have multiple hemorrhoids inside and outside of your butt hole all at the same time!
Fortunately, I didn’t have to deal with my hemorrhoids for too long. They lasted for about 2 months postpartum which is more than I can say for the other moms out there (my thoughts and prayers are with you). Hemorrhoids can develop anytime during pregnancy, pre- and postpartum! During pregnancy your uterus expands for your growing baby. This applies pressure on the veins in your rectum causing them to weaken and swell. They should go away once you’ve given birth. For those who have hemorrhoids after birth, they can last for a couple of days. If they last longer and you can’t find relief, please speak to your doctor!
Oh, and did I mention they were painful?
There were times where I was literally afraid to use the washroom. I would use any excuse to avoid sitting on the toilet but oh, was I so wrong! You see, the longer you wait, the worse it gets. It was like I was literally passing razor blades through my anus! Oh, how lovely motherhood is!
But it’s the truth and it’s all too common. So let’s talk about it. Let’s raise awareness about the glorious hemorrhoids of pregnancy and let’s remind each other that there’s nothing to be embarrassed about.
There were many home remedies along with a topical drug prescription that I used to relieve the pain of hemorrhoids. But my one and only saving grace was WATER. I can’t stress enough how important water is, especially postpartum when your body is out of whack and trying to heal. Water is absolutely essential. Not only is it good for hemorrhoids, but it helps with your milk supply, to reduce the swelling in your feet (edema) and so much more.
In my case, increasing my water intake helped soften my stool so it was waaaay easier to pass and I didn’t have to strain as much. Especially for those suffering from constipation after birth, drink lots of water.
When you’re sitting on the toilet and biting down on a towel, you’ll remember this and thank me.
In combination with increased water intake, here are some other very helpful tips to relieve your poor, poor butt hole:
Apple Cider Vinegar
I know what you’re thinking because I thought the exact same thing! You would think that applying an acid to your already burning anus would make it worse, right? Well apple cider vinegar has antibacterial and anti–inflammatory properties and many have suggested that it provides immediate pain relief! It’s true, it really works! Apply the apple cider vinegar with a cotton ball or dilute it in your warm (not hot) bath water or your sitz bath. Doctors do warn that excessive use can lead to further irritation and burning so make sure to apply it sparingly and only as needed.
Soak your bottom in a sitz bath for about 15 minutes! Usually, upon discharge from the hospital, you should have received a sitz bath tub that you can use to soak your bottom in. If not, they are available at your local pharmacy or online.
If you don’t have a sitz bath tub, no worries. A bath tub works just as well. I like to mix in lots of epsom salt into my warm bath water. Epsom salts dissolve into magnesium and sulfate in water which will be absorbed into the skin to soothe the area. You can also use baking soda, or even dilute some apple cider vinegar as well!
Your doctor may prescribe some hemorrhoid cream which you can apply with an applicator directly in your rectum and around your anus. This cream is a corticosteroid which reduces inflammation such as redness, itching and swelling. The ointment that I was prescribed is called Anodan-HC. It contains 0.5% hydrocortisone acetate (which is the corticosteroid that reduces inflammation) and 0.5% zinc sulfate (which forms a barrier and protects skin from moisture).
Relieving pressure off of your bottom
Sit on a pillow or cushion, rocking chair or recliner that shifts your weight off of your bottom to another part of your body. This decreases pressure off of your bottom.
When duty calls, don’t avoid it!
I’m so guilty for this! I was literally scared sh*tless (hah) to poop because of the pain so I postponed it for as long as I could. Worst decision ever! If you need to go, go right away. Don’t wait! Delaying it will cause your feces to harden which makes it so much more painful to pass. This is because your body is reabsorbing the water from your stool when it sits in your rectum. Trust me, I know it hurts, but it will hurt so much more if you avoid it. Get it over and done with. You will feel so much better.
I hope this post provides help and support to those going through the same troubles I did when I had hemorrhoids!
You’re not alone and remember, it will pass!
Please feel free to share your stories, struggles, or advice in the comments below. We love hearing from our readers! Thanks for reading everyone!