What are haemorrhoids?
Haemorrhoids (piles) are sore, swollen veins (varicose veins) at the rectum. They can be internal (often painless) or external (often painful). Symptoms include pain, rectal itching, bleeding after bowel movements, or a swollen area around the anus.
Haemorrhoids are common during pregnancy as an enlarged uterus puts pressure on veins in the pelvis, and also pregnancy hormones increase likelihood of constipation and straining. Straining during delivery also increases hemorrhoidal risk, with 28-45% of women reporting symptoms of haemorrhoids at 4 weeks post-partum. Haemorrhoids are more commonly reported after a vaginal delivery. 38.93% of Australians have reported suffering from haemorrhoids in their lifetime.
How are postpartum haemorrhoids treated?
• Avoiding/treating constipation and straining
• Avoiding sitting on the toilet for extended periods
• Sitz baths to relieve discomfort – soaking your bottom in warm water and Epsom salts 2-4times a day for 10-15 mins
• Topical haemorrhoid creams. There are over-the-counter creams, ointments, and sprays designed to provide short-term relief
• Icepack can be applied to get immediate relief from pain and swelling
• Anti-inflammatory medications
How can a pelvic health physio help?
• Advise on appropriate fluid and dietary measures, fibre supplementation and/or stool softeners to prevent/treat constipation
• Education on various techniques to facilitate safe and effective emptying of the bowel
Will my haemorrhoids get better?
With treatment, the pain and swelling of haemorrhoids should decrease dramatically within a few days to weeks after delivery. The time it takes haemorrhoids to completely disappear depends largely on future pregnancies and avoidance of constipation/straining and other causative factors.
Can’t I just have surgery?
As long as the cause of haemorrhoids is addressed, in the vast majority of cases haemorrhoids will disappear on their own without any intervention. Ligation (banding) or haemorrhoidectomy (surgical removal) is not without complications and is often done only as a last resort.
Any bleeding, pain or lumps felt in the rectum should always be reviewed by your general practitioner to exclude any serious pathology.
If you are experiencing an issue with post-partum haemorrhoids. Call us on (08) 6389 2947 to find out more or make an appointment by clicking here to book online.