Piles, clinically termed as Hemorrhoids, is one of the most common diseases seen among people during recent times. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), in India, roughly 41 million people suffer from piles and nearly 40% of these are pregnant women. Although hemorrhoids is not a life-threatening disease, it can prove to be dangerous and can cause serious complications, if ignored in the early stages. Dr. Nanda Rajaneesh, Surgical Oncologist, Laparoscopic Surgeon at Apollo Spectra Hospital, Koramangala, Bangalore explains how piles during pregnancy can be treated and prevented.
Though both men and women equally suffer from hemorrhoids, the risk of developing hemorrhoids is high among women due to extreme changes their body goes through during pregnancy, childbirth, menstrual cycles and hormonal changes.
Causes of piles during pregnancy
Hemorrhoids are seen among pregnant women, both pre and post-delivery. It is caused due to:
- Hormonal changes make veins relax and result in bulging and protrusion of the tissue around the anal region
- The chances of hemorrhoids increase if you have a family history of hemorrhoids
- Most women in their third trimester of pregnancy will experience them.
- During pregnancy, the rapid increase in the uterus size, constipation and a sharp increase in the progesterone hormone levels makes way for haemorrhoids
- Occasionally the abnormal swelling of varicose veins in the legs and in the vulva also leads to haemorrhoids during pregnancy.
How to prevent piles during pregnancy?
Post-delivery, lactation and breastfeeding the baby drains large amounts of water from the bodies of the mother, leading to hard stools and constipation. Here are some ways with which pregnant women can prevent piles during pregnancy.
- Due to a lot of water drainage, most pregnant and lactating women experience fluid loss. Lack of water can cause piles. Thus, drinking a lot of water is suggested during and after pregnancy.
- Watch your diet and include nutritious meals to your plate. Add seasonal foods preferably hydrating foods such as oranges, watermelon, green veggies, etc. that replenish the body with water.
- Doctor advise reducing meat intake when you are pregnant and when you are lactating to prevent piles.
- Do some sort of physical exercising daily to prevent piles. Sedentary lifestyle is a major risk factor for hemorrhoids and so, being physically active is very important for women.
Treatment of Piles In Pregnant Women
If diagnosed at an early stage, Piles can be treated without any invasive procedures. The treatment of this condition varies depending on the size and type of hemorrhoids.
- Low-grade hemorrhoids can be treated with few dietary and lifestyle modifications.
- In mild cases, the symptoms can resolve with some over-the-counter drugs called laxatives.
- Patients who have hard stools can be prescribed these laxatives to soften the stools.
- Low grade piles patients have also advised a “sitz” bath. According to this treatment, the patient sits in the tub, with the water reaching up to the hip level for 10-15 minutes, this will reduce the inflammation, constipation and pain caused by hemorrhoids.
There are certain home remedies for piles such as use of witch hazel on the internet but do not consider them without consultation especially when you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Also, even if you are taking any medicine or over-the-counter drug to treat hemorrhoids, make sure it is prescribed by the doctor as per your medical condition. There are several medicines and homeopathic treatments for piles that are not safe for use by pregnant and nursing mothers. It is better to avoid them or get verified by a doctor before use to reduce risk on your and your baby’s health.
A few lifestyle changes here and there can keep the disease of Piles at bay but it's important that we pay attention to the changes in our body and seek help. We must get rid of the social stigma and hesitation associated with Piles in order to get expert assistance and get diagnosed in time to avoid any invasive procedures.
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