Hemorrhoids in pregnancy: what they are, how to deal with them and what they are caused by

Hemorrhoids in pregnancy

Hemorrhoids are the tissue pads of the canal that contribute to the discrimination of rectal contents, the maintenance of continence and evacuation. Under normal conditions they are there and are not felt. But if they swell and become inflamed they can generate discomfort, pain, bleeding, the feeling of swelling in the area, itching, and make bowel movement extremely unpleasant.

Hemorrhoids, understood as the dysfunction of the same (hemorrhoidal pathology) are relatively frequent in pregnancy and usually resolve after childbirth. In the following article, in addition to treating the symptoms and causes of hemorrhoids, we will list some of the most common (and most effective) treatments and lifestyle changes that can help reduce or eliminate the symptomatology.

Hemorrhoids in pregnancy

Bleeding and itching are the most common symptoms of hemorrhoids in pregnancy, and often associated with a sense of weight and bulk in the level.

Your health care provider will likely understand that you have hemorrhoids simply from your description of your symptoms. Otherwise he may prescribe a colon-proctological examination.

During the colon-proctological visit, the specialist will inspect the rectal area, proceed with a digital rectal examination, and possibly perform an anoscopy or sigmoidoscopy. These are simple, fast and painless procedures.

Hemorrhoids can be internal, which generally do not cause pain, but can sometimes cause minor bleeding, or external if the veins swell and become visible from outside the anus.

Symptoms of hemorrhoids

Symptoms of hemorrhoids may include:

  • itching, pain or swelling around the anus;
  • pain during the passage of feces and subsequently a secretion of mucus;
  • a bulge near the anus;
  • bleeding (bright red) during and after defecation.

If you notice blood on toilet paper or stool it’s important to talk to a doctor: it could be the result of hemorrhoids, but it could also signal a more serious health condition.

Causes of hemorrhoids in pregnancy

Some statistical studies indicate that 25% of pregnant women offer hemorrhoidal pathology. The main causes of hemorrhoids in pregnancy are:

  • The fetus – puts pressure on the pelvic area and intestines. Its weight presses on the veins of the area, slowing down the flow of blood, which accumulates, swelling the veins.
  • Increased blood volume – during the entire pregnancy the amount of blood in the woman’s body should be increased.
  • Constipation – during pregnancy increases the risk of constipation: hormonal changes slow down the digestion process, which does not favor regular bowel movements. The extra weight of the intestine presses on the veins of the anus making the passage of blood more tiring. Forcing yourself to go out of body adds even more pressure on these veins.

Treatments and lifestyles to counteract the formation of hemorrhoids in pregnancy

Let’s see some of the tips and home treatments that are most effective in preventing and treating hemorrhoids:

  • Resolve the problem of constipation – having regular bowel movements can relieve the pressure on the hemorrhoids, and therefore reduce if not eliminate their swelling. The less effort is exerted in the evacuation phase, the less stress is applied to these veins. Eating foods rich in fiber and drinking the right amount of fluids every day should be enough to solve the problem of constipation. If this were not the case, your doctor could prescribe some medication against constipation or could recommend taking some supplements that help intestinal regularity.
  • Incorporate Kegel exercises into your daily exercise routine to encourage healthy blood circulation in the anus and rectum – these exercises strengthen the pelvic floor muscles that help support the rectum and can improve circulation to the rectal area. Kegel exercises can be practiced almost anywhere – at home, in the car, at the office – but you must first learn how to do them correctly.
  • Get moving – take regular exercise until the end of the pregnancy.
  • Controlling body weight – do not gain weight beyond the recommended amount as excess weight creates unnecessary additional pressure on the rectum.
  • Change some simple lifestyle habits – don’t stand or sit for too long. Lie on your side, to relieve pressure on the pelvic area and intestines. Don’t strain yourself or linger too long on the toilet.
  • Take paracetamol (to deal with pain) – according to the methods and doses indicated in the package leaflet.
  • Use hemorrhoid creams (to reduce itching, pain and inflammation) – your doctor will know which one is best for your circumstances.
  • Use cold therapy to reduce swelling and get temporary pain relief – by applying an ice pack to the affected area.
  • Use a donut-shaped pillow to relieve pressure in the rectum area – if, for work or other needs, it is necessary to maintain the sitting position for several hours.
  • Apply baking soda topically (to relieve itching).

If the treatments and advice described above are not sufficient to solve the problem, the doctor may advise you to proceed with non-surgical treatments such as elastic ligation or sclerosing injections: procedures that can be performed on an outpatient basis and without anesthesia.

Acupuncture can also help.

Frequent questions

When are you most likely to suffer from hemorrhoids during pregnancy?

Hemorrhoids are more likely to occur during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy.

Will hemorrhoids continue after I have my baby?

In most cases, hemorrhoids disappear after the birth of the baby. If you find that your hemorrhoids don’t improve even shortly after giving birth, talk to your doctor.

Could hemorrhoids be a sign of something more serious?

If you think you have hemorrhoids it is important to tell your doctor. Symptoms such as bleeding can be a sign of more serious conditions such as bowel cancer.

Katherine Johnson, M.D., is a board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist with clinical expertise in general obstetrics and gynecology, family planning, women’s health, and gynecology.

She is affiliated with the Obstetrics and Gynecology division at an undisclosed healthcare institution and the online platform, Maternicity.com.

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