This is a paid collaboration with The Independent Pharmacy
Ah, pregnancy. That time of life when you are blooming and radiant and…. well, let’s be honest… not everyone feels blooming and radiant all the time during pregnancy. You might have morning sickness or heartburn or feel the need to pee every half hour or perhaps you’ll get piles.
Also known as haemorrhoids, piles are, to give them their NHS definition, “swellings containing enlarged blood vessels inside or around your bottom (the rectum and anus)”.
Yes, it’s embarrassing to talk about and because people don’t talk about it you might have a huge shock if it happens to you. But you shouldn’t feel ashamed or embarrassed. It happens to lots of women during pregnancy. In fact anyone can get piles at any time – but women often experience them for the first time during pregnancy because hormones make their veins relax.
The first realisation that something’s wrong might be noticing a lump hanging outside the anus, which may need to be pushed back in after passing a stool (poo).
Other symptoms include itching, aching, soreness or swelling around your anus; pain while passing a stool and a mucus discharge afterwards; bleeding after passing a stool – the blood is usually bright red
If you’re unsure if you definitely have piles or are worried then your GP is always your first port of call. But you can also seek advice from a pharmacist – including online pharmacies such as The Independent Pharmacy – a great option for busy mums who may struggle to find the time to get to an actual pharmacist.
Based in Bristol and founded by two pharmacists, The Independent Pharmacy’s virtual service is a perfectly safe way to acquire private prescription medication. The service is fully registered and regulated by the relevant medical bodies and you’ll have to complete online health assessments to ensure any products meet your medical needs, so you can be assured you are receiving high quality care from start to finish.
Of course, prevention and managing symptoms is important alongside medication and there are ways to ease the piles.
Constipation – and straining while on the toilet – is a common cause of piles so if this is the case try to keep stools soft and regular by eating plenty of food that is high in fibre (for example wholemeal bread, fruit and vegetables) as well as drinking plenty of water.
Avoiding standing for long periods can also help manage symptoms and reduce the risk of piles reappearing, as can taking regular exercise to improve circulation.
Gently holding a cloth wrung out in iced water against the piles can ease the pain, while using moist toilet paper rather than dry can also help.
If the piles stick out you can gently push them back in using a lubricating jelly.