Pregnancy is magical and what you get at the end of it is priceless. The period after childbirth also known as postpartum period has its own challenges. A lot of new mothers face agonizing postpartum issues like vaginal tears, sore breasts, sore perineum, hemorrhoids, etc. Continue reading to understand more about one such problem that bothers many new mothers – postpartum rectal bleeding.
What Is Postpartum Rectal Bleeding?
One of the most common problem faced by many new mothers after delivery is postpartum rectal bleeding. A lot of women might experience bleeding through the anus that can cause pain and discomfort soon after delivery. Hemorrhoids which are enlarged veins in and around the anus and rectum commonly bring about rectal bleeding after delivery. Common causes of hemorrhoids are abdominal pressure due to constipation or because of pushing during labor. Hemorrhoids are also common during pregnancy, especially during the last trimester, and in the first few weeks after giving birth.
How Can I Prevent Postpartum Rectal Bleeding?
After you give birth, it is very common to have sluggish bowels. Preventing the formation of hemorrhoids is the only way to prevent the postpartum rectal bleeding. As hemorrhoids appear mainly as a result of constipation, measures to avoid constipation decreases the chances of getting hemorrhoids during the postpartum period. This can be done by:
- Starting your day by drinking a warm beverage
- Including fiber-rich fruits, vegetables, and cereals in your daily menu
- Drinking plenty of water
- Taking a probiotic supplement which can ease constipation
- Whenever you have an urge to go to the toilet, never try to suppress the urge and relieve as soon as possible. The more you wait or suppress the urge, the more chances of getting constipated
- Exercise regularly. Practicing yoga, walking, swimming, etc. are exercises that help to increase the movement of the food through the intestine
10 Ways To Cure Postpartum Rectal Bleeding
Many simple and easy ways are there for managing postpartum rectal bleeding and soothing the anal fissures and rupture that lead to bleeding. Here are some of them:
- Ice pack followed by a warm sitz bath: Interchanging hot and cold treatments will help to cure the postpartum rectal bleeding (oyu can do it separately if you prefer it that way). For this, start with an ice pack followed by a warm sitz bath
- Ice packs provide relief by cooling the affected area and temporarily numbing the nerves, thereby, reducing the sensation of pain. The swollen veins in the rectum will shrink when you apply cold packs, which will in turn help in preventing bleeding. Apply an ice pack covered in a thin washcloth or towel. Do not use it for more than 10 to 15 minutes at a stretch to prevent over-chilling which is dangerous
- A sitz bath is soaking the anal region in water. For this, you can use a sitz bath which is a portable small basin that fits over the toilet and is filled up with a few inches of warm water. Sitting in the tub for about 15-20 minutes after each bowel movement or repeating it, two to four times a day will help to soothe the pain and discomfort of hemorrhoids. This method will help in relaxing the muscles, maximize the blood flow and relieve irritation and pain
- Keeping the skin around hemorrhoids as clean and dry as possible will speed up the healing process. Use delicate, white, unscented toilet tissue, rather than the colored or scented one, which can cause irritation. The moist tissues saturated with witch hazel quickly heals postpartum rectal bleeding
- Practice Kegel exercise: It is important to strengthen and tone the muscles around the vagina and urethra, for faster postpartum recovery. So practicing Kegel exercises will also help the hemorrhoids to heal faster without causing more agony and distress
- Sit right: Sitting on a pillow or a soft cushion helps to get rid of the pressure on the rectum. Similarly, sitting in a rocking chair or a recliner will be more comfortable than sitting on a straight seat
- Take a stool softener: Taking a stool softener as prescribed by your doctor will help to pass the stool without effort, thereby leading to fast healing of fissures and ruptures
- Reduce the rectal pressure generating activities: The pressure in the rectal area is the main culprit that causes hemorrhoids. Therefore, it is necessary to reduce the factors that contribute to rectal pressure. Some of the activities that increase the rectal pressure and hence the risk of hemorrhoids or aggravate the existing hemorrhoids thereby prompting rectal bleeding are:
- Lifting heavy objects
- Sitting on the toilet too long
- Straining to have a bowel movement
- Spend less time in the toilet: Sitting on the toilet for long periods of time aggravates the pain and discomfort of hemorrhoids as the pressure placed on the veins in the rectum increases. Remember, the toilet is not a place to read a newspaper or a place to take a break from your tasks. Get up from the toilet as soon as you can
- Use hemorrhoid cream: Using an over the counter hemorrhoid cream, which can be in the form of ointments, suppository or spray, can help with diminishing the itching and uneasiness for a brief period. Always consult your doctor before putting on something in the rectal area, particularly if you have had an episiotomy or a tear that reaches out to the rectum. Applying anything including suppositories into the rectum or anal region without any medical advice can create further problems
- Witch hazel: Witch hazel bark is a popular herb, broadly used for the treatment of hemorrhoids. It has antiseptic properties. This helps in easing the pain, itching and irritation associated with hemorrhoids. Apart from its antiseptic property, witch hazel is also an astringent. Therefore, it makes the hemorrhoids shrink, thereby stopping the bleeding associated with it.
Switching bathroom tissue with hazel wipes and wiping the rectal area several times during the day helps to reduce the swelling and irritation. You can also soak cotton balls in a witch hazel solution and apply it directly on the affected area. This will give instant relief
- Avoid getting constipated: As mentioned earlier, constipation aggravates hemorrhoid, and cause rectal bleeding. Therefore, it is very important to take necessary steps to avoid constipation. Include high fiber food like fruits, vegetables, bran and fiber rich cereals in your diet
- Oral Painkillers: If you don’t get relief from any of the above methods, you can check with your doctor who can prescribe you medicines to provide relief and ease pain. These medicines can make the healing process faster
It is very normal to experience rectal bleeding after delivery. You must not worry as it will go on its own with time. But if it continues for a long time, do consult your doctor and let him know about this problem
Did any of you face postpartum rectal bleeding? What measures did you take? Please do share it in the comments section below.