Pregnancy and Hemorrhoids

March 14, 2019

Hemorrhoids and Pregnancy (Part 1 of 8: What are Hemorrhoids?)
What a shame that this most wonderful event in life can be marred by the misery of hemorrhoids! But, in can, so the most important thing you can do is to keep your perspective about this wonderful time.
The second most important thing is to do everything you can to deal with your hemorrhoids, before and after the pregnancy. Above anything else, make sure your doctor confirms that symptoms such as pain, bleeding, or itching are in fact due to hemorrhoids and not to something more serious that needs attention.
Why are hemorrhoids so common during pregnancy? There are several factors that contribute: changes in hormones, stretching of pelvic structures, increased blood supply to the pelvis causing congestion in vessels, increased weight, and constipation to name a few. Whatever the cause, it is important that you do all you can do deal with the hemorrhoids in order to relieve symptoms and minimize worsening of the hemorrhoids after the little darlin’ has arrived!
Now, let’s talk about hemorrhoids. WHAT ARE HEMORRHOIDS ANYWAY? First of all, if you have hemorrhoids, sometimes called “piles”, you are not alone. Did you know that the Bible even mentions hemorrhoids? “and he smote the men of the city, both small and great, and they had “emerods” in their secret parts.”
Men and women of all ages and walks of life suffer from them even though they are seldom discussed “out loud”. Fewer than one third of sufferers are believed to even be willing to seek medical attention. (Statistics which report the occurrence of hemorrhoids have been questioned because of the reluctance of many people to even admit they have them!)
So what is this embarrassing condition? Hemorrhoids, or piles, are swollen blood vessels in the lower part of the intestine in either the rectum or the anus. They are twisted and lumpy, similar to varicose veins and can be located inside the rectum (internal hemorrhoids) or completely outside the anus (external hemorrhoids).
Internal hemorrhoids are generally not too painful because there are not many sensitive nerve endings located inside the rectum. However, they can become irritated and bright red blood may be noticed either on the toilet paper or in the toilet.
However, if the hemorrhoids are located on the outside (external) they may rupture and develop a blood clot called a “thrombus” often creating a sensation of sitting on something hard (the feeling is sometimes described as sitting on a hard ball which is the origin of the word “piles” from the Latin word “pilae” meaning “balls”).
The thrombus (clot) may develop for no apparent reason or may develop after straining with bowel movement or after hard physical exercise. External hemorrhoids may create problems with keeping the area clean because of soreness. While hemorrhoids may be simply labeled as internal or external, they can also be classified by degree of severity.
First degree hemorrhoids are internal and do not bleed during a bowel movement;
Second degree hemorrhoids actually bulge out from the anus during bowel movements and then return to the inside. (They may or may not bleed.)
A third degree hemorrhoid also bulges outside the body during bowel movement but needs to be manually pushed back into the rectum with the fingers.
Fourth degree hemorrhoids bulge outside the body at all times.
Internal hemorrhoids that bleed but do not prolapse are designated as first-degree hemorrhoids. Those that prolapse and reduce spontaneously (with or without bleeding) are second-degree hemorrhoids. The symptoms, home care, available treatments, and potential complications vary depending upon the kind and severity of the hemorrhoids. Jokes are often made about “piles” but in fact, hemorrhoids are not to be ignored and I’ll

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