Dealing with Hemorrhoids and Varicose Veins: Those Uninvited Guests at Your Pregnancy Party
A Guide from About Women Ob-Gyn in Northern Virginia
Congratulations, mommy-to-be! Pregnancy is an incredible journey filled with excitement and joy. But let’s be real: it’s not all rainbows and butterflies.
Along with the adorable baby bump and the kicks, there might be some not so fun surprises in store, such as hemorrhoids and varicose veins, both of which can form due to effects of pregnancy such as increased blood volume or pressure in your pelvic area from the weight of your baby.
But don’t worry—About Women Ob-Gyn in Northern Virginia, serving you at offices in Woodbridge, Lorton, and Stafford, has got your back!
Hemorrhoids: Uninvited Guests During Pregnancy
First, let’s talk about hemorrhoids, those pesky uninvited guests, kind of like the most annoying person you have ever met showing up at your home here in the DMV on the day of your baby shower. These swollen blood vessels in the anal and rectal region can cause itching, discomfort, and even bleeding — ouch!
But we’re here to help you deal with them like a pro.
The hemorrhoids that may come to visit during your pregnancy fall into two categories:
- Internal hemorrhoids, which form inside the rectum but sometimes protrude into the anus. Bright-red blood in your stools is a telltale sign.
- External hemorrhoids, which form around the anal opening — symptoms include pain, itching, or bleeding when they become irritated by straining during a bowel movement or when you wipe afterward.
At About Women Ob-Gyn, we recommend the following to prevent or relieve hemorrhoids during pregnancy:
- Including plenty of fiber in your diet.
- Drinking plenty of water, which helps keep your bowels moving. Dehydration can lead to constipation, which, to hemorrhoids, is a partner in crime.
- Doing Kegel exercises — squeezing and relaxing the vaginal and rectal muscles — to improve muscle tone and blood flow.
- Moving and exercising regularly, as recommended by your obstetric provider. It is especially important to avoid sitting for long periods of time.
- Wearing comfortable, loose-fitting clothes whenever possible.
If your hemorrhoids are particularly bothersome, your women’s healthcare provider at About Women Ob-Gyn may also recommend the following to provide relief:
- Sitz baths — A soothing therapy that involves sitting in shallow water. Your provider can explain this in more detail.
- Pregnancy-safe stool softeners — But be sure to ask your provider before taking any medications during pregnancy.
Be sure to contact your provider if your hemorrhoids seem to be getting worse or bleeding excessively. That’s what we’re here for: to help you experience the healthiest, most comfortable pregnancy possible!
Varicose Veins: It’s All About the Flow
Next, let’s talk about those pesky varicose veins. Like hemorrhoids, they are one of the possible results when increased blood flow during pregnancy puts more pressure on valves. These valves have the job of making sure your veins are all one-way streets, with blood always flowing in the right direction.
With more pressure on the valves when you are pregnant, blood can back up and pool in the veins, making them more visually prominent on the skin surface or sometimes bulging outward.
During your prenatal visits at About Women Ob-Gyn, we’ll remind you of the things you can do to help prevent or manage varicose veins, which overlap somewhat with what you can do for hemorrhoids during pregnancy. Regular exercise can improve circulation and give hemorrhoids and varicose veins a run for their money.
And when you get a chance to relax, don’t be bashful — put your feet up and elevate your legs! This simple trick can offer some much-needed relief.
Since clothes that fit tightly at the waist, thighs, and legs can make varicose veins worse, we also recommend that you take every opportunity to dress for comfort while carrying your bundle-of-joy-to-be!
You’re Not Alone—We’re Here to Help You Manage Hemorrhoids and Varicose Veins During Pregnancy!
Remember you’re not alone on this journey. Many women experience hemorrhoids and varicose veins during pregnancy.
It’s just one unpleasant part of a pregnancy package that is also filled with delights that you will remember for a lifetime! At About Women Ob-Gyn, our team is here to listen and ensure you have a smooth and joyful pregnancy experience.
If you ever feel overwhelmed or the discomfort becomes too much, don’t hesitate to contact our office, serving the Northern Virginia region at our Woodbridge, Lorton, and Stafford locations. We’re honored to be a part of your journey to motherhood and are here to support you every step of the way.