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  • Read on to see the other five Ps to know about hemorrhoids during pregnancy.


    The Next 3 Ps to Remember: Preventing Piles in Pregnancy
    In the absence of other intestinal problems, functional constipation as the prequel to piles is relieved by increased oral fluid intake, fiber-rich foods, and moderate prenatal exercises which may improve the movement of the digestive tract.

    A word of caution on the immoderate use of laxatives on desperate attempts to soften stools : they function by stimulating the bowels to move which, in turn, stimulates muscles of the womb to have preterm contractions.  It is therefore prudent to hold off on them.

    Iron supplements, too, though vital to prevent anemia among expectant mothers, are linked to constipation. Iron is a metal that transports oxygen to the muscles for cell growth that, according to some studies, can send electromagnetic charges in the nerves and muscles of the bowels.  This aggravates the progesterone-induced constipation among moms-tobe, which is why it is opted to take durule forms of iron instead which have a reduced rate of release of the active substance which keeps the adverse effects like constipation at bay.

    The Final 2 Ps to Remember: Piles Panacea
    Here’s the panacea, or universal remedy, to hemorrhoids:

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    • A basic thing to do is keep the anorectal area clean with mild soap or diluted antiseptic like povidone iodine, as strong cleansers might irritate the inflamed pile and cause it to bleed.
    • Use donut rings, inflatable floaters, or rolled thick towels when sitting to minimize the pressure on the area.  Lie on your side when sleeping as this position is also of great benefit to the developing fetus. The weight of the womb when you lie on your back (supine position) hampers the oxygen, blood and nutrient supply of the fetus.
    • Anti-inflammatory creams with steroidal components are to be applied to ease swelling, itchiness and pain but with caution if there is concomitant or an accompanying infection.
    • Bland soothing creams/ointments with witchhazel, zinc oxide, petroleum can ease discomfort.
    • Strong painkillers are a no-no especially during the early trimester.  Instead, ice pack may be pressed on the area for 15-30 minutes for acute bouts of pain.
    • Do a hot sitz bath by submerging the pile on warm - not hot - water for at least 30 minutes.  Sitz baths are chair-shaped bathtubs in which one bathes in a sitting position, immersing only the hips and buttocks.  You can improvise with what you have at home.  The heat draws more blood circulating towards the pile and enhances wound healing.
    • Remember to pat - not rub - the area dry, as moist attracts bacteria and delays wound healing.

    Most pregnancy-caused piles settle upon childbirth as progesterone levels decline in the maternal blood.  Meantime, proper care and management must be followed to keep your pregnancy pain- and hassle-free.

    Dr. Lalaine Cartago-Garcia is a Diplomate and Fellow at the Philippine Obstetrics Gynecology Society, and a Fellow at the Philippine Society of Ultrasound in Obstetrics Gynecology.  She specializes in OBGyn Sonology and is affiliated with Asian Hosiptal Medical Center in Alabang and Perpetual Help Medical Center in Las PInas.

    Photo from flickr.com

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