These are, effectively, varicose veins that occur around the anus and are caused by the effect of the pregnancy hormone progesterone on the smooth muscle tissue of the veins.
Circulation is less efficient and varicosities can occur. They are also known as piles, and you may first notice them because there is some blood present after you've opened your bowels.
Haemorrhoids can range from being extremely painful to mildly itchy. Try to avoid becoming constipated, or straining to pass faeces, by making sure that you have adequate fibre in your diet - or try eating prunes, which work as a natural laxative.
As well as avoiding straining, keep the anus clean, washing carefully after each bowel movement. Try either a hot or cold compress (whichever works best for you) to ease the discomfort. Avoid standing for long periods, and practise pelvic floor exercises, which will help increase circulation and ease congestion.
There are a number of complementary approaches that are extremely effective in the treatment of haemorrhoids. This is particularly important postnatally, as the pain of haemorrhoids may make a mother sit awkwardly and get into a poor position for breastfeeding:
There is a specific acupuncture point in the calf which can ease the pain and swelling in a very short time.
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