I was at a workshop all about pelvic floor, geared toward pregnant and postpartum women. As is common for most workshops I have been to, the teacher began our time together with having each person introduce themselves~ their name, where they are in their pregnancy if they are pregnant, and a question: what is your favorite and least favorite thing about pregnancy?
I was just a few months out of my own pregnancy and was finally sitting normally again, so I knew exactly what my least favorite thing about pregnancy would be. I was one of the closest to her, so I spoke before most of the group:
"Hi, my name is Jasmine. I am 3 months postpartum, and I love absolutely everything about pregnancy! My least favorite is definitely hemorrhoids."
All around the room, young women in expensive yoga clothes with tiny little baby bumps raised their eyebrows and looked shocked. Yup. I said it, and anyone who has had more than one child has probably experienced the unmentionable postpartum annoyance that is hemorrhoids.
As we continued introductions around the room it became obvious that as 99% of the women were still pregnant with their first, I'm sure most of them were thinking to themselves, "Sure, that happened to her, but it would never happen to me!"
But here's the thing. It doesn't matter who you are or how expensive your yoga pants are- hemorrhoids don't discriminate. And aside from being unsightly, embarrassing, or whatever else you associate with having hemorrhoids, when you have just given birth to a child and your bits are already pretty sore, hemorrhoids can be downright painful!
If you've got 'em, you want them gone as soon as possible, so I am going to share with you some remedies that are actually effective so you can move on with your life and sit like a normal human being.
A little side not- I didn't get hemorrhoids with my first labor, but I did with the next two. So don't think that just because you escaped the first time that you will be so lucky the next. I recommend being prepared ahead of time because there is just nothing worse than waiting for shipping or making a trip to the store when you are bleeding and your insides are falling out. You want to be home in bed, congratulating yourself on your preparedness and forethought.
Firstly, where do hemorrhoids come from?
The inter-webs will have you believe that hemorrhoids are mostly a result of dehydration, not enough fiber and constipation. Any Google search gives you advice for not straining during a bowel movement, eating more fresh fruits and vegetables, drinking more water... all good things. But postpartum hemorrhoids are a little harder to avoid because during a vaginal delivery there is quite a bit of force involved in pushing your baby out. And well... straining is kind of a part of the package. With all of that pressure, the veins in the rectum may become swollen. Sometimes women find themselves pushing for very long periods of time, and hemorrhoids as a result of an extended period of pushing makes sense, but as I said in the beginning, they don't discriminate, because even a quick labor and delivery can cause the uncomfortable little beasts.
Control what you can control and let go of the rest...
Eating a healthy diet during your pregnancy, getting plenty of exercise and keeping hydrated will absolutely help to prevent hemmies as much as you can. Keeping your pelvic floor in tip top shape will also benefit your booty! Make sure to work your pelvic floor correctly and often throughout your pregnancy for an easier delivery and the possibility of lessening your chances of painful hemorrhoids.
Don't panic, here's how to get back to your normal bum as quickly as possible.
1.) What I am going to share with you are the things that have worked for myself and clients. Not everything will work for you, and some remedies may take a few days, but don't fret! I've had great success with these easy solutions.
My absolute favorite remedy for hemorrhoids might be the most unlikely. It is a tea by Euphoric Herbals called Vascular Toning Tea. Yes, like a tea that you drink! You can check it out here..
Euphoric Herbals is a small company doing big things with herbs. Her teas aren't just tasty- they work! This toning tea is like a miracle in a mug and resolved any issues in just a few days, bringing relief after day 1. (Check out her other blends while you are there for breastfeeding, fertility, and even a tea to help you sleep.)
If you are very desperate or dealing with a particularly painful problem, you can make a compress out of the tea by brewing the tea in a muslin cloth bag, letting the water cool to room temperature, squeezing out some of the liquid and them placing the bag directly on the affected area for a period of time. You may even place the bag in the fridge or freezer to make a cold compress, using the cold temperature to provide relief and lesson inflammation.
2.) Sitz baths are a favorite postpartum for so many reasons! And this is one of them. Make an herbal sitz bath using herbs such as calendula flowers, chickweed, yarrow, comfrey and plantain leaf. You can create a strong brew of the herbs overnight in a large mason jar or two, and pour the liquid directly into your bath. Or, similar to the tea above, you can place the herbs into a tea bag and create a compress.
3.) Earth Mama Angel Baby has done a lot of the hard work for you by creating their postpartum sitz tea bags. I love these for creating a brew to put inside of your peri bottle postpartum, and the soaked tea bags make a great compress, or another strong brew that you can place directly into your bath.
4.) The postpartum poo... bring it up in any mom group and sit back while you listen to story after story and watch the knowing head nods, because we have all been there! The irrational terror of pushing in those first days after giving birth is real, and when you have hemorrhoids... I mean, what are you even supposed to do?! I avoided it as long as physically possible. (They recommend NOT to do that by the way.) But there is an answer to our postpartum woes, and should apparently be decor in every bathroom, because the list of benefits is long. It is the squatty potty! And it need not be an ugly plastic contraption that you are embarrassed for guests to see. This bamboo squatty on Amazon is so pretty and gives your bathroom a spa feel, and it even has a foot massager built in!! (You will never want to leave your porcelain throne.)
Hopefully you have the ability to spend most of your time postpartum lying in bed and getting acquainted with your new little babe, so even if hemorrhoids are an issue they can become an after thought. And if you do find yourself plagued with the unmentionable- I'm sending you my love and hopes that these remedies being you relief.