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Hemorrhoids During Pregnancy: Cause, Symptoms & How to Deal

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Table of Contents

Hemorrhoids or more commonly known as piles can be itchy, uncomfortable, and downright painful. While it may be making you extremely uncomfortable now, know that they’re harmless and common.  All the while causing trouble to more than half of all pregnant women. But here’s some good news: There’s a whole lot you can do to treat them, and thankfully they should go away after delivery.

Let’s learn more about what causes them and a few safe and effective ways to treat hemorrhoids during pregnancy.

What are hemorrhoids ?

Hemorrhoids are essentially varicose veins present in the rectum. The reason why they’re also known as piles is due to the resemblance they bear to a pile of grapes or marbles.

Are hemorrhoids during pregnancy different from regular hemorrhoids?

Even though no one likes to talk about them, hemorrhoids are a fact of life for a lot of people, especially for women during pregnancy. They are veins present inside or outside of your anus that temporarily become large and swollen. Hemorrhoids develop usually during pregnancy, particularly in the third trimester and during or shortly after childbirth. You may have hemorrhoids only during your pregnancy, or during other times in your life as well.

For every woman, the cause of hemorrhoids may be unique to their pregnancy. With home-based remedies and certain lifestyle adjustments, you can often treat or prevent hemorrhoids.

When does it start during pregnancy?

Although they can appear at any time, hemorrhoids are particularly common in the mid-second to third trimesters of pregnancies.

What is the cause of hemorrhoids during pregnancy?

Hemorrhoids may take place due to the pressure from your growing uterus which starts around week 25. Besides, the additional increased blood flow to the pelvic area can cause swelling, bulging, and itching in the rectal veins.

Constipation can also provoke or even cause hemorrhoids. This is because when stool is hard, the extra straining you’ll need can put pressure on the veins in your rectal area and cause them to swell and bulge. As a result of pushing during labor, they may also develop postpartum.

What can you expect if you have hemorrhoids during pregnancy?

There are a total of two types of hemorrhoids: a) internal hemorrhoids, which are inside of your body, and b) external hemorrhoids, which are outside of your body. Depending on which type you have your symptoms may vary.

What are the symptoms you could have during pregnancy?

Some common symptoms of external hemorrhoids include-

  • burning
  • itching
  • painful bowel movements
  • bleeding (you may notice blood when you wipe after a bowel movement)
  • a raised area of skin near your anus
  • swelling

In some cases, you may also develop a blood clot in an external hemorrhoid. They are generally hard, inflamed, and more painful and are known as thrombosed hemorrhoids.

Internal hemorrhoids, on the other hand, do not have certain fixed symptoms. There’s a possibility to push out internal hemorrhoids when having a bowel movement. If or when this happens, you may experience bleeding and discomfort.

What can you do about hemorrhoids during pregnancy?

  • Remember to stay regular

The best hemorrhoid treatment during pregnancy is to drink plenty of water and up your fiber intake regularly to avoid constipation.

  • Kegel exercises

Doing Kegel exercises during pregnancy can help prevent hemorrhoids as it improves circulation to the area.

  • Try to sleep on your side

It’s beneficial as this reduces pressure on the affected area. Try lying down on your left side a few times a day to relieve the pressure on your rectal veins. Avoid lying on your back (which you shouldn’t be doing anyway after your first trimester).

  • Try to keep moving

Try to take a five-minute-long brisk walk every hour or so to improve circulation to the area and flush things out. Try not to sit or stand for long stretches at a time. Keep up safe pregnancy exercises right until your due date, only if you have the seal of approval from your doctor.

  • Don’t try to force it

Try not to strain or linger on the toilet.

  • Stay clean

After bowel movements, use warm water and white two-ply toilet paper to wipe. Try not to wipe too hard, as it can irritate sensitive tissues. Use wipes if toilet paper seems too harsh for your sensitive backside.

  • Warm bath

Having a 10-15-minute long soak in the tub will help you stay clean and can also help reduce discomfort.

  • Witch hazel or ice packs

Using both can help soothe the sting caused by hemorrhoids.

  • Donut-shaped pillow

If you are feeling uncomfortable while sitting, it can ease the pressure.

  • Talk to your doctor about hemorrhoid treatments

They may suggest a stool softener or even a topical cream relieve the itching and pain.

When is the right time to call your doctor about hemorrhoids during pregnancy?

Be sure to see your doctor if you experience any bleeding. There’s a possibility that it could be the hemorrhoids bleeding (when you’re bearing down during a bowel movement) or it even may be an anal fissure (which is a small tear in the skin that lines the anus which is caused by straining from constipation, it can be incredibly painful). However, it’s best to check in with your doctor just to be on the safe side.

Will it go away after pregnancy?

As your hormone levels, blood volume, and intra-abdominal pressure decrease after delivery, your hemorrhoids may disappear completely without any treatments. As mentioned they commonly develop during pregnancy or in your third trimester or immediately after childbirth. If you experience extended straining during the second stage of labor you may develop hemorrhoids from childbirth.

That’s all about the hemorrhoids during pregnancy and what you could do about it to aid the said. You may also commonly find yourself losing your mucus plug during pregnancy. Click on the link and know all about it through the article curated by us at Parenthood bliss!

In Conclusion

Although hemorrhoids are fairly common during pregnancy, make sure to seek treatment immediately if you discover one since they can get worse. There are quite many home treatments you can try, however, you may need medical treatment as well. Consult your health care provider about any treatment that may affect your pregnancy.

Hemorrhoids During Pregnancy FAQs

1. What are hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in the rectum that have an opening at the bottom and can cause itching, burning, pain, or even bleeding. During pregnancy, hemorrhoids are natural to happen, especially in the third trimester. In case it ends up hurting way too much, make sure to contact your doctor if it bleeds or hurts.

2. How do you get rid of hemorrhoids during pregnancy?

Here are a few things you can do to help aid the hemorrhoids during pregnancy;
  • Soak in warm water - All you need to do is simply fill the tub with warm water and carefully soak the affected area
  • Avoid sitting for longer periods - When sitting for long hours, there is the pressure that is forced on the veins of your anus and rectum that could cause pain when you have hemorrhoids during pregnancy
  • Over-the-counter remedy -The best is to use witch hazel medicated pads and help aid the hemorrhoids
  • 3. How long do pregnancy hemorrhoids last?

    Although some may stick around for months, most hemorrhoids clear up on their own within a few weeks.

    4. What do hemorrhoids look like?

    A thrombosed hemorrhoid will appear as a lump at the anal verge and will be dark bluish. Meanwhile, non-thrombosed hemorrhoids look like rubbery lumps.

    5. What should I avoid eating if I have hemorrhoids?

    Cheese, chips, fast food, ice cream, meat, prepared food ( frozen and snacks), processed foods ( hot dogs and microwavable dinner), etc.

    Reviewed By:

    Esha Chainani - Obstetrician and Gynaecologist

    Esha Chainani - Obstetrician and Gynaecologist

    Dr. Esha Chainani is an Obstetrician, Gynaecologist, and laparoscopic surgeon who aims to break the stigma around women’s health by advocating an inclusive and open practice of obstetrics and gynecology and an author of several internationally published research papers and health articles in the media like the Swaddle.
    She also founded Premaa, a non-profit to reduce maternal morbidity and eventual maternal mortality by providing lower-income pregnant women living in urban areas with cell phone access through an app that can feature an entire section about contraception as well for a whole gamut of reproductive health.
    A panel for multiple health sessions including with the UN, USAID, BMC, gender at work, and multiple non-profit organisations, and is on the advisory panel of the South Indian medical students association.

    On behalf of the editorial team at Parenthoodbliss, we follow strict reporting guidelines and only use credible sources, along with peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and highly respected health organizations. To learn about how we maintain content accurate and up-to-date by reading our medical review and editorial policy.

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