Hemorrhoid symptoms during pregnancy

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Pregnancy and Hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids During Pregnancy: Causes, Treatment and Prevention

Unfortunately, hemorrhoids during pregnancy are common. Hemorrhoids are varicose (swollen) veins of the rectum and are usually painful. They most often appear during the third trimester.

What causes hemorrhoids when you are pregnant?

Hemorrhoids are related to constipation. Constipation combined with increased pressure on the rectum and perineum is the primary reason that women experience these. Prolonged standing may also be a factor contributing to hemorrhoids.

What can you do to treat hemorrhoids when you are pregnant?

The good news is that the problem usually improves after the baby is born. In the meantime, there are a number of things you can do to treat hemorrhoids.

The following may help relieve hemorrhoids:

  • Place baking soda (wet or dry) on the area to reduce itching
  • Take a warm bath with baking soda in the water
  • Use witch hazel to reduce swelling or bleeding
  • Avoid sitting for long periods
  • Use Tucks Medicated Pads

What can you do to prevent hemorrhoids during pregnancy?

The best thing to do to prevent hemorrhoids during pregnancy is to avoid getting constipated. If you are constipated, avoid straining during bowel movements.

Try the following to prevent constipation:

  • Eat a high fiber diet
  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • Drink prune juice
  • Do not delay going to the bathroom
  • Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables
  • Know what foods you need to avoid while pregnant

ALWAYS check with your health care provider before taking any medication for hemorrhoids.

More Helpful Articles:

  • Exercise and Pregnancy
  • Eating for Two When Over or Under Weight

Compiled using information from the following source:

Mayo Clinic Guide To A Healthy Pregnancy Harms, Roger W., M.D., et al, Part 3.

Pregnancy Hemorrhoids: What You Need to Know

There are many home remedies and lifestyle modifications you can try to reduce hemorrhoids.

It’s a good idea not to ignore them, since untreated hemorrhoids may get worse with time and may cause complications such as increased pain, or in rare cases anemia from bleeding.

You may also need to reach out to your doctor to diagnose and treat your hemorrhoids. Since hemorrhoids are not the only cause of bleeding near your anus, it’s always a good idea to speak to your doctor if you notice new bleeding when you wipe or in your stool.

Home remedies

There are many things you can do at home to relieve and prevent hemorrhoids.

home remedies for hemorrhoids

  • Use wipes or pads that contain witch hazel.
  • Use gentle, flushable wipes when you use the toilet.
  • Use a sitz bath or soak in clean warm water for 10 minutes at a time a few times a day.
  • Take Epsom salt baths in warm water that’s not too hot.
  • Hold an ice pack on the area for a few minutes several times a day.
  • Move around frequently and try not to sit for too long to avoid extra pressure on your anus.
  • Drink lots of water and eat foods high in fiber to help keep stools soft.
  • Avoid straining while having a bowel movement or sitting on the toilet for long periods of time.
  • Perform Kegel exercises to strengthen muscles.
  • Lie on your side rather than sitting to reduce pressure on your anus.

You can shop for many of these items online:

  • hemorrhoid pads
  • flushable wipes
  • sitz bath
  • Epsom salt
  • ice bags

Medical treatment

You may want to see a doctor before treating hemorrhoids at home. This will ensure you get a proper diagnosis and understand the treatment options available to you.

During pregnancy, always speak to your doctor before taking any medication, including those you apply to your skin. This will ensure treatments do not pose a risk to your baby.

Your doctor may be able to recommend a safe laxative or a suppository to relieve constipation. Witch hazel may also be a homeopathic treatment for hemorrhoids during pregnancy, but always talk to your doctor first.

Some prescription oral treatments, like ruto-sides and hidrosmine, are available for treating hemorrhoids, but they may not be safe for pregnancy or breastfeeding.

Topical treatments available over-the-counter or by prescription may help hemorrhoids, but they may not be safe for pregnancy. Make sure to discuss them with your doctor.

These topical medications may include pain-relieving or anti-inflammatory ingredients.

Medical treatment for hemorrhoids includes:

  • Rubber band ligation. During banding, a small rubber band is placed around the base of a hemorrhoid. The band stops the flow of blood into the hemorrhoid and eventually the hemorrhoid will fall off. This usually takes 10 to 12 days. Scar tissue is formed during this process that helps prevent the hemorrhoid form recurring in that same location.
  • Sclerotherapy. A chemical solution is injected directly into the hemorrhoid. This causes it to shrink and to form scar tissue. It’s possible for a hemorrhoid to return after this treatment.
  • Hemorrhoidectomy. This is a surgical procedure to remove hemorrhoids. It’s associated with several risks, including general anesthesia, risk of damage to the muscles of the anus, more pain, and a longer recovery time. As a result, this treatment is only recommended for severe hemorrhoids or when there are complications, such as many hemorrhoids or hemorrhoids that have prolapsed.
  • Stapledhemorrhoidopexy. The hemorrhoidal tissue is placed back inside the anus and held in place using surgical staples.

Your doctor may suggest packing the site of the hemorrhoid with absorbent bandages to avoid excessive bleeding.

Dealing with hemorrhoids during pregnancy

And it burns, burns, burns… Just another delightful pregnancy issue that many moms-to-be can look forward to — hemorrhoids. The good news is that, in most cases, hemorrhoids during pregnancy can be treated naturally at home. Better yet, you can try to avoid them altogether.

What are hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids are swollen blood vessels in the rectal area. They range in size from as small as a bead to as large as nickel and can be inside or outside the rectum.

“Pain and itching are the main symptoms. They usually worsen during bowel movements,” said Cathleen Harris, MD, an OB/Gyn on the HonorHealth medical staff. Hemorrhoids also tend to bleed. “Pregnancy hemorrhoids are no different than the ones you may experience when you’re not pregnant,” she noted.

Why are they more common during pregnancy?

Although hemorrhoids can appear at any time, most moms-to-be get them in the third trimester, starting around week 28.

Increased blood flow to the pelvic area, as well as pressure from the enlarging uterus and growing baby, can cause the veins that run through the anus to swell.

Hemorrhoids can also can result from constipation. Thanks to pregnancy hormones, bowels slow down during pregnancy. When stool is hard, the extra straining to eliminate it can put pressure on veins in your rectal area, causing them to become inflamed and bulge. “On top of that, higher progesterone levels cause the walls of the veins to relax and allow them to swell more easily,” said Dr. Harris.

If you had hemorrhoids before pregnancy, you’re more likely to have them during pregnancy. Hemorrhoids may also develop postpartum as a result of pushing during labor.

How can you prevent hemorrhoids during pregnancy?

Your body undergoes a lot of changes when you’re expecting, and swelling veins can be one of them. Talk to other expectant moms during prenatal classes, share experiences or ask your instructor about natural remedies.

These steps may help you avoid hemorrhoids during pregnancy:

Avoid constipation

  • Eat a high-fiber diet. Choose from fresh avocados, beans and other fruits and vegetables sold in Arizona.
  • Don’t delay going to the bathroom when you feel the urge to have a bowel movement. Make sure you don’t sit on the toilet longer than necessary because this puts pressure on your rectal area.
  • If you’re already constipated, ask your healthcare provider about a fiber supplement or stool softener.
  • Choose a food-based prenatal vitamin. Synthetic vitamins, especially iron, can cause constipation. Food-based prenatal vitamins are more absorbable.

Keep moving

  • Get regular and safe exercise right up to your due date — as long as your provider says it’s OK.
  • Do Kegel exercises. They increase circulation in the rectal area and strengthen the muscles around the anus.
  • Don’t sit or stand for long stretches of time. If your job involves sitting at a desk, get up and move around for a few minutes every hour or so.

Promote good habits

  • Drink plenty of water and other fluids. If you aren’t drinking enough, your body will reabsorb water through the colon, leaving dry stool that’s hard to push out.
  • Lie on your side when sleeping, reading or watching TV to take the pressure off your rectal veins.
  • Try not to gain more than the recommended amount of weight because the more you gain, the more pressure on the rectum.

How can you treat symptoms during pregnancy?

If you experience symptoms, try one of these remedies:

  • Cold therapy can help reduce swelling and bring temporary relief. Apply an ice pack (with a covering) to the affected area.
  • Soak in warm water several times a day. If you don’t have a bathtub, you can buy a sitz bath. After getting out of the tub, pat the area dry, and then point your hair dryer on low heat on the area. It can feel quite comforting.
  • If sitting is uncomfortable, get a donut-shaped pillow to ease the pressure.
  • Apply witch hazel pads to the area and change the pads frequently. Witch hazel has a cooling effect and helps reduce swelling.
  • Baking soda – used wet or dry – can be applied topically to help alleviate itching.
  • Coconut oil can relieve pain and inflammation. So can pure aloe vera without added chemicals and fragrances or arnica.
  • Stay clean and use soft, unscented toilet tissue or unscented wipes to avoid more irritation in the affected area.
  • Acupuncture.

When should you see your healthcare provider?

Consult your provider if preventive efforts and home treatments don’t help, or if you have severe pain or rectal bleeding. In some cases, you may need professional help shrink your hemorrhoids.

Also, always check with your provider before taking any medication for hemorrhoids while you’re pregnant. There are a lot of hemorrhoid relief products available. Keep in mind that most of these products should be used for no more than a week to avoid such side effects as skin irritation or thinning.

For many women, hemorrhoid symptoms resolve after delivery. If they persist, surgical treatment might be recommended.

Find an OB/GYN

Common Causes of Hemorrhoids During Pregnancy and How to Prevent Them

Pregnant women who experience constipation are prone to getting hemorrhoids.

As your uterus gets bigger during pregnancy, the pressure it puts on veins can cause them to swell, leading to hemorrhoids. Thinkstock

Hemorrhoids — swollen veins in the anus and rectum — are common during pregnancy, especially in the third trimester when the enlarged uterus puts pressure on the veins.

Hemorrhoids can be painful. They may also itch, sting, or bleed, especially during or after a bowel movement.

While your body is going through all sorts of physical changes during pregnancy, hemorrhoids can be one more unwanted irritation. But the good news is that they generally aren’t harmful to your health or the health of your baby, and they’re usually a short-term problem. Though pushing during labor can worsen hemorrhoids, they typically go away on their own after you give birth. (1)

Some women get hemorrhoids for the first time when they’re pregnant. But if you’ve had hemorrhoids before, you’re more likely to get them again when you’re pregnant.

What Can Cause Hemorrhoids During Pregnancy

As your unborn baby grows, your uterus gets bigger and begins to press against your pelvis. This growth puts a lot of pressure on the veins near your anus and rectum, and these veins may become swollen and painful as a result.

The increase in the hormone progesterone during pregnancy can also contribute to the development of hemorrhoids, as it relaxes the walls of your veins, making them more prone to swelling. An increase in blood volume, which enlarges veins, can also contribute to hemorrhoids during pregnancy. (1)

Three common additional causes of hemorrhoids during pregnancy include:

  • Straining during bowel movements
  • Straining from carrying extra pregnancy weight
  • Sitting or standing for long periods of time

Hemorrhoids are most common in pregnant women who experience constipation.

As many as 38 percent of pregnant women become constipated at some point during their pregnancy, according to research published in the journal BMJ Clinical Evidence. (2)

One cause of constipation during pregnancy may be when the growing uterus pushes against the bowel. Iron supplements you may take can also contribute to constipation, so it’s worth trying to get the iron you need naturally through your diet. (3)

Pregnancy hormones can also slow down the movement of food through the digestive tract, making constipation more likely.

How to Prevent Hemorrhoids During Pregnancy

Avoiding constipation is key to preventing hemorrhoids during pregnancy. Here are some tips for preventing constipation:

Eat lots of high-fiber foods. There are plenty of good ways to incorporate more fiber into your diet. Fiber-filled foods include fruits like pears (especially when you include the skin), avocados, and berries; vegetables such as broccoli, artichokes, and Brussels sprouts; whole grains such as oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa, and even popcorn; legumes including various kinds of beans, lentils, and green peas; and don’t forget nuts and seeds.

RELATED: 10 High-Fiber Foods to Add to Your Diet

Drink plenty of fluids. Aim for 10 8-ounce glasses of water each day.

Use the toilet as soon as you feel the urge. “Holding it in” can contribute to constipation.

Try not to sit or stand for long periods of time. If you sit down at work, make sure to get up and walk around for a few minutes every hour. At home, try to rest on your side when reading or watching TV, to relieve downward pressure on your rectal veins.

Ask your doctor about using a stool softener. This can help if other methods fail to ease your constipation. Using laxative pills for constipation is not recommended during pregnancy, as they can cause dehydration and might stimulate uterine contractions. (3)

Do Kegel exercises daily. Kegel exercises strengthen the pelvic floor muscles that help support your rectum and can improve circulation in the rectal area. You can do Kegel exercises just about anywhere — at home, in your car, at the office — but first you need to make sure you’re isolating and contracting the correct muscles.

Identify the right muscles by stopping urination midstream. (This is strictly for the purpose of identifying which muscles we’re talking about — you don’t want to do Kegels while urinating, as this could increase your risk for a urinary tract infection). (4)

Once you know which muscles to use, tighten them and hold the contraction for five seconds. Then relax for five seconds. Work up to holding the contraction for 10 seconds. Try to do at least three sets of 10 reps a day.

RELATED: 10 Foods to Help Relieve Constipation

RELATED: Constipation Causes, Symptoms, and Relief

How to Treat Hemorrhoids During Pregnancy

Hemorrhoids usually get better on their own after pregnancy, but there are a number of things you can do to ease any itching and pain in the meantime:

Soak your rectal area in warm water several times a day. A sitz bath, or small basin that fits over the toilet seat, can help. These devices can be purchased at most drug stores. You can also fill your regular bathtub with a few inches of warm water to create a similar effect.

Apply ice packs or cold compresses to the area several times a day. The cold can reduce swelling and help relieve pain.

Keep the anus clean and dry. Try using moist towelettes or baby wipes to gently clean the area after bowel movements. This can be more gentle than dry toilet paper.

Be sure to pat — not wipe — the area dry after bathing or making a bowel movement. Excess moisture can cause irritation.

Apply baking soda (wet or dry) to the area to alleviate itching. (3)

Apply treatments containing witch hazel. Products like Tucks Medicated Cooling Pads can help keep the area clean and relieve pain and itching around the anus.

But before you use any products, be sure to ask your doctor or healthcare provider to recommend a topical hemorrhoid cream or medicated wipe that’s safe to take during your pregnancy.

Additional reporting by Deborah Shapiro.

What’s Up With Pregnancy Hemorrhoids?

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Hemorrhoids are itchy, painful varicose veins in the rectum, and they’re extremely common during pregnancy. According to Jeanne Faulkner, R.N., hemorrhoids aren’t dangerous most of the time, but they’re mighty unpleasant. Here’s everything you need to know about diagnosing, preventing, and treating hemorrhoids while pregnant.

  • RELATED: 21 Most Embarrassing Pregnancy Problems

How Do You Get Hemorrhoids During Pregnancy?

Pregnancy hemorrhoids occur when blood vessels around your rectum become stretched and swollen. They might be caused by the increased pressure exerted on your veins by the weight of your uterus. Hormonal changes and constipation (another common pregnancy complaint) are also contributing factors. You can even get hemorrhoids from the intense pushing you’ll do when delivering your baby.

What Do Hemorrhoids Look Like?

Two types of hemorrhoids can occur during pregnancy: internal and external. Internal hemorrhoids can cause painless, light-colored blood around your stool or on your toilet paper after wiping. Occasionally, these internal hemorrhoids can protrude, and you will feel soft swollen masses when wiping. On the other hand, external hemorrhoids can cause painful, hard lumps around your rectum.

  • RELATED: All About Postpartum Hemorrhoids

What Do Hemorrhoids Feel Like?

According to Faulkner, pregnancy hemorrhoids feel “like a lump sticking out of your butt. They’re itchy and painful; they burn and sometimes bleed.”

Are Hemorrhoids Dangerous?

Although hemorrhoids are not dangerous to you or your baby, you should tell your doctor about any rectal bleeding that lasts more than a day or two. He or she will determine if you need to come in to the office to have them checked out, or if a prescription will do the trick.

  • RELATED: Postpartum Care Kit for New Moms

Pregnancy Hemorrhoids Prevention

“You want to avoid getting hemorrhoids by drinking lots of extra fluids, and eating a high-fiber diet full of fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Exercise helps the intestines move things along. The bottom line: avoid constipation,” recommends Faulkner. Pregnant women also shouldn’t put on too much weight; stick to the guidelines given by your healthcare provider. What’s more, don’t sit or stand for long periods without taking a break. Keep in mind, though, that some women will take all preventative measures and still end up with hemorrhoids while pregnant.

How Long Do Hemorrhoids Last?

If you get a hemorrhoid flare-up, it will probably only last a few days, but during that time there are several ways to feel better: Relieve discomfort by wiping the affected area with witch hazel pads or applying an ice pack. Ease itching with a warm soak or sitz bath using an oatmeal bath product or baking soda. Look for toilet paper that’s extra soft or pre-moistened, and ask your practitioner about which over-the-counter hemorrhoid remedies are safest to use during pregnancy.

  • RELATED: How to Get Rid of Hemorrhoids

Even with these treatment methods, however, it’s possible to have larger hemorrhoids that last several months. Take heart in the fact that hemorrhoids in pregnancy usually disappear in the weeks after the baby is born.

  • By Jeanne Faulkner, R.N. and Nicole Harris

There are many lovely aspects to being pregnant. The building sense of excitement, preparation for the new baby, just becoming a parent – the list is endless. But it’s only fair to say that pregnancy is not always pleasant. Right up on the list of the not so wonderful pregnancy experiences are haemorrhoids. You may have heard them referred to as “piles” – which are the same thing, just a different name.

Essentially, haemorrhoids are varicose veins of the rectum and one of the more common physical conditions during pregnancy. They don’t actually constitute a complication because they are so common – around 20-50% of women will experience pregnancy haemorrhoids to a greater or lesser degree. Most women don’t have an issue with haemorrhoids though until their third trimester.

Why do haemorrhoids occur during pregnancy?

The increasing weight of the baby as it grows within the uterus places pressure on all of the mother’s internal organs and tissues. Space becomes limited so there is a slowing down and pooling of the blood flow into and out of the veins which supply the mother’s pelvis. The veins in the bowel wall become distended and engorged, which also weakens them.

Pregnancy hormones also cause a general relaxation of the tissues, including the vein walls. This means they are not as firm as they usually are, so they tend to swell and enlarge.

Another contributing factor is the overall increase in the mother’s circulating blood volume. In order for her baby to be well oxygenated and have an adequate supply of nutrients, the amount of blood a mother carries needs to increase from its normal amount by another 50%. All this extra fluid and blood needs to be transported by her veins and arteries. It is common for the valves and vessel walls to struggle to return the blood back up to the mother’s heart and lungs to load up again on oxygen.

If you had haemorrhoids before pregnancy, then you are more likely to develop them when pregnant. Pushing during the second stage of labour can also lead to haemorrhoids developing. If the second stage is long and protracted, there is an even greater risk.

What can I do to prevent haemorrhoids?

There are lots of things which can be done, but there is no guarantee of success. But you could try any or all of the following tips to try and reduce the likelihood of you developing pregnancy haemorrhoids;

  • Avoid constipation. Hard, dry bowel motions are much more difficult to pass and they contribute to haemorrhoids.
  • Drink lots of water – aim for at least 2.5 litres a day. Water helps to keep poos soft and makes them easier to pass.
  • Fruit juice, herbal teas and fluids all help to avoid constipation.
  • Avoid sitting on the toilet for long periods of time. Stay for as long as you need to but avoid placing any unnecessary and prolonged pressure on the bowel and rectum.
  • Place your feet on a stool when you’re doing a poo. This helps to build the right level of intra-pelvic pressure.
  • Avoid straining to poo. If you don’t need to go then get up and move away from the toilet.
  • Don’t ignore the sensations of needing to empty your bowels. Overriding this signal leads to problems with constipation. Over time, it also affects the tone and sensations of the lower bowel so it does not work as effectively as it should.
  • Make sure your diet is high in fibre and roughage. Fruits, vegetables, bran, oats, cereals and wholegrains are bulk forming and easier to pass.
  • Avoid eating large amounts of red meat, white bread and processed foods. Indigestible fibre works like a broom in the bowel and helps to avoid sluggishness.

How will I know if I’ve got haemorrhoids?

Haemorrhoids can occur internally or externally. If they are internal you may not be aware you have them until you notice some blood on the toilet paper. External haemorrhoids feel like a bulge coming out of the anus and have a grape like appearance. If you are in doubt, then get a mirror and have a look. They are not the prettiest of sights, so be prepared.

The size of the haemorrhoid/s is not necessarily an indicator of how they feel. Some women describe the pain of haemorrhoids as being “like a knife in my bottom” or a “hot poker”. If, however, you can see you have haemorrhoids but don’t have any pain, then don’t worry. But still mention this to your maternity care provider.

Bleeding can also occur if the haemorrhoids are distended and large. This can be very scary as it is easy to be confused about where exactly the blood is coming from. Have a check with your health care professional if you are at all concerned. It’s always better to be sure.

Women who have vulval varicosities (varicose veins of the vulva) tend to be more prone to developing haemorrhoids. Being overweight before pregnancy, carrying multiples; extra fluid or being inactive all contribute to the risk of pregnancy haemorrhoids.

Haemorrhoids can feel very uncomfortable, and create and aching feeling in and around the anus. They can also feel itchy and create pressure – all very distinctive sensations if you’ve not had them before.

Some women find that after sex, there is an increase in the aching and throbbing sensation around their haemorrhoids. This is due to a general increase in blood flow and engorgement to the vaginal / perineal / anal area during intercourse.

Haemorrhoid treatment – what really works

It’s important that you find out first if what you think could be haemorrhoids, really are. Your GP or maternity care provider will be able to tell you for sure. Don’t feel shy, you can be sure they’ve seen a million haemorrhoids before and if they’ve had a baby themselves, will be able to empathise with you.

There are a number of haemorrhoid treatment options – each varies in their effectiveness. Ultimately, treatment helps to alleviate the symptoms, rather than get rid of them altogether. Most women find they don’t really feel completely free of symptoms until after they’ve had their baby. And even then, it can take some weeks for haemorrhoids to resolve altogether.

  • Avoid becoming constipated.
  • There are a range of creams available over the counter (OTC) which helps to reduce engorgement. NB Make sure you speak with the pharmacist before using any medication or treatments during pregnancy.
  • There are also creams available which help to lubricate the anal passage and make it easier to pass soft poos.
  • You may need to take an aperients – this helps to soften the poo and helps to regulate bowel frequency.
  • Medicated pads impregnated with cream or lotions can also be bought from pharmacies.
  • Some creams and ointments contain local anaesthetic and numbing agents; these can be very effective for localised pain.
  • Cold packs/washers and cool baths can help.
  • Ice-packs are also helpful, but not for long periods. Make sure you cover the pack with a soft cloth and be very particular about hygiene.
  • Witch hazel is a natural remedy which reduces haemorrhoid swelling. Cool the witch hazel down first and then let it soak into a cotton wall ball. Place this against the haemorrhoid.
  • Bi-carbonate of soda dissolved in a warm bath can also be soothing.
  • Avoid any heavy lifting. This increases intra-abdominal and pelvic floor pressure.
  • If you need to empty your bladder, don’t hold off. There really isn’t too much space in the pelvis and pressure in one area can have a flow on effect to the adjacent organs and tissues.
  • Keeping the anal area very clean is important. After a bowel motion make sure you clean yourself very thoroughly with soft toilet paper and wipes. You may find that wetting the toilet paper, having a shower or using a soft cloth is more comfortable.
  • Don’t eat too much salt or salty food. Salt/sodium leads to water retention and extra circulating blood volume.
  • Avoid eating excessively spicy foods. This can lead to further pain as they are passed.
  • Avoid scratching if you are itchy. This can damage the vein walls and weaken them further.
  • Keep up your Kegels exercises. These help to maintain pelvic floor strength and tone which ultimately means that everything is more likely to stay where it should be.
  • Sleep on your side, rather than your back or semi-upright. Your left side is the best position to alleviate pelvic/anal engorgement.
  • Exercise regularly. The simple act of going for a walk each and every day helps to increase circulation and improve digestion. Having a “sluggish” bowel does not help.
  • Avoid gaining too much weight. A healthy weight gain in pregnancy is around 10-12 kgs, any more will increase your risk of a whole range of complications.
  • Avoid standing or sitting for long periods of time. Doing this “pools” the blood in your bottom region.
  • A donut shaped O pillow may be useful. Though there is some disagreement from health care practitioners that these restrict the blood flow out of the area.

One final tip

Haemorrhoids can be much more painful when they protrude from the anus. This leads to further engorgement and pain. Gently pushing the haemorrhoid back inside the anus reduces the discomfort and engorgement. Speak with your health care practitioner about the best and safest way to do this.

Ways to prevent and treat hemorrhoids during pregnancy

Hemorrhoids are swollen veins at the end of the large intestine/anus. They often stick out from the anus (external hemorrhoids). They can also be located on the inside of the lower intestine (internal hemorrhoids). Bleeding, itching and pain are common hemorrhoid symptoms.

Hemorrhoids are common during pregnancy, because the enlarged uterus places pressure on the large vein (inferior vena cava) that drains the veins of the large intestine. Constipation, a common problem during pregnancy, causes less frequent and more strained bowel movements. The bowels commonly move more slowly during pregnancy. And iron in prenatal vitamins also can cause constipation.

To prevent or ease constipation and hemorrhoids:

  • Eat a high-fiber diet (lots of whole fruits, vegetables and whole grains).
  • Drink plenty of fluids, especially water.
  • Don’t strain (push hard) during a bowel movement.
  • Increase the amount of exercise you get every day.

To treat the itching or pain of hemorrhoids:

  • Keep the anus clean by wiping carefully or using a squirt bottle after each bowel movement. Gently wipe from the front to the back. Baby wipes or hemorrhoid pads are usually gentler than toilet paper. If you use toilet paper, use only soft, un-dyed, unscented toilet paper.
  • Take warm soaks in a tub or a sitz bath. Warm water can help shrink or soothe hemorrhoids. Add baking soda to the water to relieve itching.
  • Apply ice pack compresses.
  • An over-the-counter or prescription medicine to apply to hemorrhoids to relieve the itching.
  • A stool softener to prevent straining.

Posted In Health Information, Pregnancy, Women’s

Jordan Coauette, MD

Hemorrhoids During Pregnancy

If you’re experiencing hemorrhoids during your pregnancy, you’re not alone. Hemorrhoids appear often during pregnancy, typically around the third trimester.

Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in and around the rectum. In this article, we’ll discuss the causes, symptoms, and treatments for hemorrhoids during pregnancy to help you treat them properly.

What Causes Hemorrhoids During Pregnancy?

As we already mentioned, hemorrhoids are common during pregnancy. They’re common during pregnancy because of the two following factors:

Constipation is a leading cause of hemorrhoids during pregnancy. This is because the production of progesterone increases while you are pregnant. Progesterone slows down your intestinal tract which can cause you to strain during painful bowel movements, often leading to hemorrhoids.

Your growing uterus is another leading cause of hemorrhoids. As it grows, pressure develops on your pelvis. This often slows down blood flow from the lower half of your body and increases swelling in your veins.

Symptoms of Hemorrhoids During Pregnancy

Hemorrhoids are very common. It is estimated that nearly 50% of pregnant women are affected by this condition. Though hemorrhoids don’t always cause symptoms, here’s what you should look out for.

Signs and symptoms of hemorrhoids may include:

  • Itching in your anal region
  • Irritation
  • Swelling
  • Pain
  • Discomfort
  • Bleeding during bowel movements
  • Sensitivity

Home Remedies for Hemorrhoids During Pregnancy

If you’re experiencing hemorrhoids, we understand that what you really want to know is how to get rid of them. Let’s take a look at several at-home remedies for treating hemorrhoids.

Baking Soda: Baking soda will help reduce itching when applied to the affected area, you can also take a bath and add baking soda to the water.

Stay Active: Keep your blood flowing by refraining from sitting for long periods at a time.

Hygiene: After each bowel movement, clean the affected area thoroughly. You can use wet wipes infused with witch hazel which will help with inflammation.

Always consult with your physician before trying at-home remedies to make sure it’s safe for you and your baby.

Consult With OB-GYN Women’s Centre About Hemorrhoids During Pregnancy

If you have bleeding hemorrhoids during pregnancy that continue to worsen despite trying at-home treatments, contact your provider.

At OB-GYN Women’s Centre of Lakewood Ranch, we are passionate about helping every woman. Whether you need advice or treatment, we are here to help you. Please call us today or schedule an appointment online.

7 Possible Causes for Anus Pain

Anal pain can have a variety of causes.

1. Sitting for a long time

Sitting down for a long time, especially on a hard surface, can cause temporary anal pain by putting pressure on anal nerves and muscles. Even sitting for a short time on a hard surface can cause anal pain that lasts for hours after you get up.

You don’t need to see your doctor for this kind of pain.

If the pain persists for a few days after a long period of sitting, see your doctor. They can diagnose any injury to your anus muscles, tailbone, or the surrounding structures.

2. Diarrhea

Diarrhea happens when you pass watery, loose stool more than three times in a day. Diarrhea can have many causes, such as dietary changes (being dehydrated or not eating enough fiber), and infections like gastroenteritis, colitis, or diverticulitis.

Frequently passing stool can make your anus sore. This can get worse from wiping or cleaning. Your anal tissue can become raw and bleed, too.

Other diarrhea symptoms include:

  • feeling bloated or gassy
  • cramping in your lower abdomen
  • feeling nauseous
  • not being able to hold in your stool

Diarrhea often goes away on its own. Seek emergency medical attention if you have any of the following symptoms, though:

  • diarrhea for more than two days
  • fever
  • blood in your stool
  • black or discolored stool
  • loss of consciousness

3. Injury

Falling on your butt can injure the muscles, bones, or nerves around the anus. The sudden impact of a hard surface can bruise or damage your skin, muscles, or nerve endings as well as potentially fracture bones.

This type of injury is most common during activities like contact sports, such as football and soccer, or activities like skateboarding, rollerblading, or gymnastics.

Depending on how severe the injury is, pain may radiate up from your anus to your lower back and feel like a constant ache or throb. You may notice bruises on your buttocks.

Seek immediate medical attention if:

  • the pain is sharp and constant
  • you can’t walk or get up without severe pain
  • you lose sensation in your lower back or in one or both legs

4. Fissures

Anal fissures happen when your anal tissues tear. Passing especially hard or large stool is the most common culprit. The pain is often sudden and sharp at first. Your anus may ache for hours or days afterward until the fissure heals.

Symptoms of an anal fissure include:

  • feeling sudden, unusual pain in or around your anus when you pass stool
  • bleeding from your anus, especially when you wipe
  • pain that lasts for hours after you pass stool

Fissures don’t always require immediate medical treatment. See your doctor if the pain persists or gets significantly worse when you sit down, pass stool, or walk.

5. Hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids happen when anal blood vessels are swollen. Straining to pass stool or being constipated are often the causes of hemorrhoids.

When you have a hemorrhoid, you may feel a lump near your anus. The pain may be generally dull but sharp when you sit down. You may not feel comfortable sitting without a special cushion or pillow. In some cases, you may not notice any symptoms.

Common symptoms of hemorrhoids include:

  • constant pain, soreness, or itching around your anus
  • bleeding from your anus when you pass stool
  • sharp anal pain if blood in the hemorrhoid becomes clotted

Hemorrhoids can go away on their own, but severe hemorrhoids may require medical treatment. See your doctor right away if you:

  • have trouble passing stool
  • can’t sit without sharp or severe pain
  • notice blood in your stool

6. Menstruation

Menstruation can cause anal pain along with other symptoms related to your digestive tract.

Your rectum and anus may be more sensitive during this time. This can make your anus feel tender, sore, or uncomfortable. Common period symptoms, such as diarrhea and bloating, can make anal pain even more pronounced.

You don’t need to see your doctor to treat these symptoms. They usually go away once your period is over.

7. Anal spasms (proctalgia fugax)

Anal spasms happen when you get sharp, unexpected anal pain due to anal sphincter muscle contractions. It’s relatively common. A 2013 review estimates it affects between 8 and 18 percent of people.

The cause of this condition isn’t well known. It’s more likely to occur if you have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or anxiety as well as after hemorrhoid surgery or a hysterectomy.

Signs of Approaching Labor

In addition to timing your contractions, consider how far away you are from your birth center or hospital and how dilated your cervix was at your last prenatal visit. You’ll also need to consider getting to the hospital sooner if your membranes have ruptured or if you’re extremely anxious or in more pain than you think is normal for early labor.

If you are preterm, pregnant with twins or multiples, or have other high-risk conditions, contact your doctor or midwife immediately if you think you might be going into labor. Any pregnant woman who experiences any of the following conditions should also contact her doctor or midwife without delay:

  • Rupture of membranes (water breaking)
  • Heavy vaginal bleeding
  • No movement from baby
  • Swelling of the face and hands
  • Blurred vision
  • Severe headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Intense stomach/abdominal pain
  • Sudden weight gain (more than four pounds in a week)
  • Seizures

Sources: University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology; Jane Forester, MD

  • By Elizabeth Stein, CNM, Sandra Gordon, and Dr. Laura Riley

American Baby

Hemorrhoids can be itchy, uncomfortable and downright painful. While it may not make you any more comfortable now, know that they’re harmless and common, afflicting more than half of all pregnant women. There is some good news: There’s a lot you can do to treat them, and thankfully they should go away after delivery.

Hemorrhoids are varicose veins in the rectum. They’re also known as piles because of the resemblance these swollen veins sometimes bear to a pile of grapes or marbles (now you know why they’re no fun to sit on).

When do hemorrhoids happen during pregnancy?

Hemorrhoids are especially common in the mid-second to third trimesters of pregnancy, although they can appear at any time.

What causes hemorrhoids during pregnancy?

Pressure from your enlarging uterus starting around week 25, plus increased blood flow to the pelvic area, can cause the veins in the rectal wall to swell, bulge and itch. Constipation can aggravate, or even cause, hemorrhoids (when stool is hard, the extra straining you’ll need to eliminate it can put pressure on the veins in your rectal area and cause them to swell and bulge).

Hemorrhoids may also develop postpartum as a result of pushing during labor.

What you can do about hemorrhoids during pregnancy

  • Stay regular. The best hemorrhoid treatment during pregnancy is to stay regular, so drink plenty of water and up your fiber intake to avoid constipation.
  • Do your Kegel exercises. In addition to preparing your perineal floor for birth, Kegel exercises during pregnancy can help prevent hemorrhoids by improving circulation to the area.
  • Sleep on your side. And not your back (which you shouldn’t be doing anyway after your first trimester) — this reduces pressure on the affected area. You can also try lying down on your left side a few times a day to relieve the pressure on your rectal veins.
  • Keep moving. Don’t sit or stand for long stretches at a time, Try taking a brisk five-minute walk every hour or so to improve circulation to the area and flush things out. And if you have your doctor’s OK, keep up safe pregnancy exercises right until your due date.
  • Don’t force it. Don’t strain or linger on the toilet.
  • Stay clean as a whistle. Use warm water and white two-ply toilet paper to wipe after bowel movements. Don’t wipe too hard, either, which can irritate sensitive tissues. Try wipes if toilet paper is too harsh for your sensitive backside.
  • Take a warm bath. A 10- to 15-minute soak in the tub will help you stay clean and may help reduce discomfort.
  • Try witch hazel or ice packs. These can both help soothe the sting of hemorrhoids.
  • Get a donut-shaped pillow. If sitting is really uncomfortable, it can ease the pressure.
  • Talk to your practitioner about hemorrhoid treatments. He or she may recommend a stool softener or topical cream to relieve the itching and pain.

Forget about your grandma’s cure — downing a spoonful of mineral oil — since it can carry valuable nutrients right out the back door.

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When to call your doctor about hemorrhoids during pregnancy

If you experience any bleeding, be sure to see your doctor. It could be it’s the hemorrhoids bleeding (likely when you’re bearing down during a bowel movement) or it may be an anal fissure (a small tear in the skin that lines the anus caused by straining from constipation, which may be incredibly painful). But it’s best to check in with your practitioner just to be safe.

Weirdest Pregnancy Symptoms

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