Postpartum Constipation: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment
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Constipation after delivery is a common condition in expectant mothers. Many pregnant women have constipation problems during and after pregnancy due to fewer bowel movements during this period. This discomfort may continue after birth or may occur for the first time after birth. Generally speaking, this problem is when bowel movements are slow for any reason, so stool stays in the intestines for a long time and becomes dry. In such a situation, going to the toilet becomes more difficult than normal. It is an alarming situation for the body, which is trying to heal and recover, to encounter constipation after birth.
What Causes Postpartum Constipation?
- Insomnia and Fatigue: Actually, this problem is known as the common problem of all parents. After birth, when you come home with your baby, you begin to live in accordance with his needs. Mothers who are tired and sleepless due to situations such as babies sleeping or waking up frequently and getting hungry at night may experience changes in their bowel habits due to these reasons. Sleep disorder and lack of sleep can lead to stress, which can also cause constipation.
- Stress and Anxiety: Your newborn baby changes your life in many ways. In addition to the joy and joy it brings to the home, it is pretty normal to be stressed and anxious, albeit unintentionally. Complex emotions can affect your body’s stress hormones, causing problems in your digestive system. This is seen as a problem of diarrhea in some women and constipation in others.
- Dehydration and Diet: It is essential to take care of your baby for breastfeeding, sleeping, and other needs. However, when you are in the rush of this situation, it is even more important for you and your child to think about your self-care, nutrition, and health. You should pay attention to plenty of fluid intake, especially during breastfeeding. Because, due to not being able to meet the required amount of fluid for your body to perform its functions, dehydration, that is, fluid loss, occurs. This can negatively affect your bowel movements, causing constipation. So drinking plenty of water and other fluids throughout the day will protect your body. However, unconscious diets applied after birth can also cause constipation and various diseases.
- Low Activity: Resting and lying down after giving birth may undoubtedly be the things you want most. However, less standing time can slow down your digestive system. If you want to help your intestines be in a strong and healthy working condition, it will be useful to do light exercises, walk and keep the time spent standing for a little longer without tiring you. Because one of the causes of constipation after childbirth is inactivity and low activity.
- Some Medications Used: Some pain relievers used after childbirth can cause constipation. You will want to use these pain relievers because of your stitches, muscle, and headaches, and slow down bowel movements. However, although antibiotics usually cause diarrhea problems, they can also cause constipation in some cases.
- Vitamins: Vitamins, which can help and supplement nutrition after birth, also energize your body. Iron supplements, which can also be used in anemia problems that may occur after your baby is born, also help you recover your body. However, since these supplements can cause constipation, paying attention to what you eat and drinking plenty of fluids is useful.
What Causes Postpartum Hemorrhoids?
It is the name given to the enlarged veins in the upper part of the anal canal. This ailment is popularly known as yeast or hemorrhoids. These vascular balls, usually seen in the last three months of pregnancy, may protrude from the anus and cause bleeding or itching. Constipation is the most common cause of hemorrhoids.
In mild cases of hemorrhoids, it can be treated with simple home remedies and medications given by your doctor. However, for this ailment to heal, the constipation problem must first be resolved.
How to Treat Postpartum Constipation?
Constipation problem after birth normally goes away within a few days to 1 week. Of course, you should give yourself some time off during this time. Mothers who have had a cesarean or normal birth may delay this need because they will have difficulty going to the toilet. This can cause the problem of constipation to become chronic. So how to deal with postpartum constipation? Here are some tips you can apply at home:
- Drink Plenty of Water: It is very important to drink 8 to 10 glasses of water during the day. However, you can also consume warm herbal teas. The fiber-containing foods you add to your meals will absorb the water you consume, and this will make stool softer and easier to pass.
- The Food You Eat Is Important: Foods with rich fiber content help in activating your digestive system. Whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, and breakfast cereals are great foods high in fiber.
- Snack: Applying snacks helps speed up your digestive system. Therefore, try to eat six meals a day as much as possible.
- Moving and Walking: During the recovery process after cesarean section, walking slowly without tiring yourself will also activate your intestines. In addition, if you want to make any exercise plan, it would be useful to consult your doctor.
- Foods to Avoid: It is very important for the digestive system not to consume certain foods, especially in the first ten days. These foods are; fast food products, fries, junk food, rice, and potatoes.
- Foods Rich in Iron Content: If postpartum iron supplements trigger your constipation, even more, include foods rich in iron in your meals. These; chicken, red meat, dark leafy vegetables, and beans.
- Coping with Stress: For this, try relaxing techniques such as meditation, warm showers, and relaxing light exercises, and make sure to take time for yourself to sleep.
When to see Doctor?
Postpartum constipation is common in most women. It can be solved with a few simple applications at home. However, it is recommended to contact your doctor if you are constipated and have symptoms such as:
- Excessive rectal bleeding
- Severe stomach or rectal pain
- Blood or mucus in stool
- Diarrhea problem that can be seen alternately with constipation
- Severe and painful swelling in the vagina, vulva, or perineum
- Absence of bowel movements on the 3rd day after birth
Postpartum constipation resolves on its own in most women. Natural treatment solutions that can be done at home, a daily healthy diet, and light exercises can help improve this condition. In more severe cases of constipation, your doctor may stop or change some of the medications given.
You can share your experiences and questions with us as comments!
We wish you healthy days.