For most women, the postpartum period may be accompanied by bleeding from rectal area. The presence of rectal bleeding is usually due to hemorrhoids, which develop during pregnancy or during the labor process.
Hemorrhoids can develop during pregnancy due to pressure of big sized uterus on the veins in the anal region, causing them to swell. Bleeding from rectal area is quite common, especially during the last trimester.
During the labor process, the pushing and the strain causes the veins around the anal region to rupture or swell, thereby causing rectal bleeding.
The condition can be worsened in case of constipation, which is prevalent during pregnancy and postpartum, due to hormonal fluctuations. Excessive straining due to constipation may cause hemorrhoids or the existing hemorrhoids to rupture and bleed.
Passing of hard stools due to constipation can also cause cracks in the skin around the anus, termed as anal fissures and causes bleeding.
Another cause for rectal bleeding can be episiotomy (an additional cut in the perineal area around the vagina to aid delivery) after-effects, which may worsen in case of an infection.
In addition to these, any postpartum gastro-intestinal disease can also cause rectal bleeding.
Bleeding From Rectal Area – Remedy & Care
Usually hemorrhoids recede on their own in couple of weeks. However, these simple measures can ease the pain and help recover quickly.
Since constipation is one of the main cause for rectal bleeding, it is important to take measures to prevent or ease constipation. Including ample amount of fiber in the diet through food intake (oatmeal, wheat bran, flaxseed etc.) or natural supplements like psyllium.
Fiber rich diets assist the bowel movements and reduce constipation. However, you should never avoid clearing your bowels due to the fear of pain as this will only worsen the condition.
Drink lots of water (around 3-4 liters) daily. Dehydration will reduce blood flow to the rectal area and will thereby prolong recovery.
Maintain hygiene around the rectal area after every visit to the restroom. Drying the rectal area is advisable since it helps in avoiding infections. In fact, maintaining the area dry is of prime importance in dealing with bleeding from rectal area. Use pads to absorb the bleeding.
Ice packs and cold compresses can also provide temporary relief by vaso-constricting the blood vessels, thereby reducing the bleeding. Alternating hot & cold treatment is recommended in order to ease the pain.
Avoid using scented toilet tissues since this can cause irritation.
Avoid sitting in the same positions or standing for long periods. Alternate between sitting, lying, standing and walking.
In case the pain and bleeding is under control, light exercise like walking will help improve blood circulation to the rectal area and will assist in healing quickly. Kegel exercises are known to help since it increases blood supply to the pelvic areas.
While postpartum rectal bleeding due to hemorrhoids may be painful and frustrating, any presence of severe abdominal pain, high fever, excessive bleeding, nausea/vomiting, tachycardia, dizziness and severe dehydration beyond a few weeks may require immediate medical intervention and treatment.