Hemorrhoids During Pregnancy

Hemorrhoids are actually veins that have become enlarged (sometimes because of constipation), found in the regions of the anus and lower rectum. The veins also get enlarged when the tissues around become loose. However, for most patients, there are no evident reasons that lead to the problem. 

Hemorrhoids and pregnancy

Hemorrhoids size increases in pregnancy. The symptoms of hemorrhoids in pregnant women become obvious only in the later stages of the pregnancy. The symptoms of hemorrhoids (like itching, constipation, pain and bleeding in the rectum) are aggravated during the second pregnancy. It makes sense to get the hemorrhoids treated soon after diagnosis. Other symptoms are thrombosis (swelling of the veins), mild cases of varicose veins in calf and lower leg and prolapse. Prolapse is a condition when the hemorrhoids situated in the lower rectum protrude through the anal sphincter muscle. 

Possible causes of hemorrhoids during pregnancy

  • There is more than normal pressure on the veins by the uterus during pregnancy, leading to their weakening
  • Higher risk of varicose veins because of increased blood circulation
  • Higher levels of progesterone and changing hormonal balance in pregnant women can increase the risk of softening of walls of the vein and their improper functioning
  • Frequent bouts of constipation and irregular bowel movement can also increase the pressure on the veins and weaken them

There are several types of oral medications and surgery (surgical clipping) that can treat hemorrhoids. Some women deliver babies through C-section, if they have been surgically treated for hemorrhoids, so that pressure on the rectum (during delivery) is avoided. It is important to be guided by the medical advice of a colorectal surgeon if you develop hemorrhoids during pregnancy.

There are quite a few simple, but effective methods by which the symptoms of hemorrhoids can be kept at bay during pregnancy.

  • Learn to perform Kegel exercises; these exercises can add strength to the muscles that hold the rectum and prevent the occurrence of hemorrhoids. Kegel exercises also help improve blood circulation in the vaginal and rectal regions
  • Apply ice packs on painful areas to decrease inflammation
  • Take sitz baths. Supplies for the bath include a small bath soak the rectum in warm water for reducing symptoms of irritation and pain. Sitz bath supplies are available in drug stores
  • Use pre-moistened feminine wipes instead of toilet paper and wipe gently in order to prevent bleeding of the hemorrhoids
  • 100 ml of prune juice can be consumed daily in order to avoid constipation
  • A consistent high fiber diet through all the weeks of pregnancy
  • The high fiber diet must be combined with a good level of fluid intake (water, soups, porridges, milk, yogurt and unsweetened fruit juices)
  • Hemorrhoid pads containing witch hazel can be used


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