Hemorrhoids are one of the most common anorectal diseases affecting millions of people worldwide. They occur when veins in the rectum and anus swell and dilate. This enlargement can be caused by a variety of factors, including increased pressure in the pelvic and rectal areas.


Why does pregnancy increase the risk of hemorrhoids?


Pregnancy is a time of significant physical and hormonal changes that can affect various aspects of a woman's health. One of the common problems during pregnancy is hemorrhoids.


Let's take a closer look at the reasons for the increased risk of hemorrhoids during pregnancy:


1. Physical pressure


One of the main reasons for the increased risk of hemorrhoids during pregnancy is the physical pressure that the growing uterus exerts on the pelvic veins. As the size and weight of the fetus increases the pressure in the lower part of the mother's body increases significantly. This pressure can impede normal blood flow and cause the veins in the rectum and anus to swell.


2. Hormonal changes


Hormonal changes during pregnancy also play a significant role in the development of hemorrhoids. The hormone progesterone, which is produced in greater quantities during pregnancy, has a relaxing effect on the walls of blood vessels. This can cause the veins to dilate and increase the likelihood of hemorrhoids. Additionally, progesterone can slow down bowel movements, which increases the risk of constipation—another contributing factor to hemorrhoids.


3. Reduced physical activity


Many pregnant women reduce their physical activity due to discomfort or medical reasons. Reduced activity can slow blood circulation and contribute to the development of hemorrhoids. Regular physical activity is important to maintain normal circulation and prevent constipation.


4. Increased blood volume


During pregnancy, the volume of blood in a woman's body increases significantly to support the developing fetus. This increased amount of blood puts extra pressure on the blood vessels, including the veins in the pelvic area.


5. The role of the birth process


The birth process itself, especially if it is prolonged and requires intense straining, can lead to the appearance or worsening of hemorrhoids. Pressure and tension during labor can increase the pressure on the rectal veins, causing them to swell.


Symptoms of hemorrhoids


Symptoms of hemorrhoids in pregnant women can vary depending on the severity of the condition and the individual characteristics of the body:

  • Pain and discomfort - one of the most common symptoms of hemorrhoids is pain. It can be mild to severe and is usually felt around the anus. The pain often worsens with defecation, prolonged sitting or physical exertion;
  • Itching and irritation - itching is usually due to inflammation and swelling of the veins, as well as irritation of the skin around the anus;
  • Bleeding - bleeding can be small or significant and is often painless, but its presence requires attention and consultation with a doctor;
  • Swelling and formation of lumps - with external hemorrhoids, swelling and formation of hard lumps around the anus are often observed. These lumps can be tender and painful to the touch. Swelling can cause significant discomfort and make daily activities such as sitting and walking difficult;
  • Discharge and wetness - some women may notice increased wetness and discharge around the anus, which is associated with hemorrhoid inflammation. This moisture can lead to additional irritation and itching.


Prevention of hemorrhoids during pregnancy


Prevention of hemorrhoids during pregnancy is possible with several simple but effective measures. These strategies can help reduce risk and ease potential discomfort.


1. Maintaining a healthy diet


Nutrition plays a key role in preventing hemorrhoids. Here are some basic recommendations:

  • Eating foods rich in fiber - fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes are excellent sources of fiber. Fibers support digestion and facilitate defecation, which reduces the risk of constipation and, accordingly, of hemorrhoids;
  • Avoiding refined and processed foods - white bread, pasta and sweets can make constipation worse. Avoid them or consume them in moderation;
  • Hydration - drink plenty of water throughout the day. Adequate hydration helps soften stools and ease their passage through the digestive tract.


Maintaining a healthy diet


2. Proper hygiene and care of the area


Maintaining good hygiene can help prevent hemorrhoids and relieve discomfort:

  • Gentle cleaning - after going to the toilet, use wet wipes without fragrance or water to clean the anus. Avoid aggressive soaps and scented products that can irritate the skin;
  • Warm baths - short warm baths can help reduce inflammation and relieve symptoms. Soak in the tub for 10-15 minutes several times a day if needed.


3. More attention when going to the toilet


Habits can also play an important role in preventing hemorrhoids:

  • Avoiding straining - do not strain excessively during bowel movements. The pressure can cause the rectal veins to swell and form hemorrhoids;
  • Go as needed regularly - try to establish a regular bowel rhythm. Do not hold stools when you feel the need;
  • Appropriate posture - use a small stool under your feet when on the toilet. This can help straighten the rectum better and make bowel movements easier.


4. Reduce stress and tension


Stress can make many health problems worse, including hemorrhoids:

  • Relaxation techniques - practice techniques such as deep breathing, meditation or yoga to reduce stress and tension;
  • Sufficient sleep - get enough rest and sleep. Adequate sleep helps the body recover and function properly.


5. Wear appropriate clothing


The right clothing can also help prevent hemorrhoids. Avoid tight clothing and underwear that can put pressure on the rectal area. Wear loose and breathable fabrics.


6. Avoiding heavy physical exertion


Heavy physical exertion can increase the pressure on the pelvic veins: If possible, avoid lifting heavy objects. If you have to lift something heavy, use proper technique – bend your knees and lift with your legs, not your back.


Treatment of hemorrhoids during pregnancy


Treating hemorrhoids during pregnancy is a delicate process, as the safety and health of both mother and baby must be considered. Here are a few approaches to treating hemorrhoids that are safe and effective during pregnancy:


1. Home remedies


Many home remedies can help relieve the symptoms of hemorrhoids:

  • Ice packs - applying cold packs to the affected area can reduce swelling and pain. Wrap ice in a towel and apply it to the hemorrhoids for 10-15 minutes;
  • Hygiene - keep the area around the anus clean and dry. Use mild, unscented soaps and water for washing. Avoid aggressive movements and friction.


Home remedies


2. Products for local application


Creams and ointments

Use creams and ointments containing pregnancy-safe ingredients such as witch hazel or hydrocortisone. They can relieve itching, pain, and inflammation.


Wet wipes

Use hypoallergenic wet wipes without alcohol and fragrances to clean after defecation. They are gentler than regular toilet paper.


3. Medications


Before taking any medication, it is important to consult your doctor:

  • Pain relievers - the doctor may recommend safe pain relievers such as acetaminophen for pain relief;
  • Laxatives:- in some cases the doctor may prescribe mild laxatives or fiber supplements to help prevent constipation.


When to seek medical help?


Although many cases of hemorrhoids can be treated with home remedies and lifestyle changes, there are situations in which it is important to seek medical attention. Timely consultation with a doctor can prevent complications and provide more effective treatment.

Here's when you should contact a specialist:

  • Severe and unbearable pain that is not relieved by home remedies or usual pain relievers;
  • Heavy or prolonged bleeding;
  • Increasing swelling and inflammation;
  • Change in defecation habits
  • Signs of infection
  • History of hemorrhoidal diseases


What to expect after giving birth?


After giving birth, a woman's body goes through many changes as it recovers from pregnancy and childbirth. Hemorrhoids that appeared or worsened during pregnancy can also undergo changes. Here's what to expect and how to deal with hemorrhoids during this period:


1. Gradual relief of symptoms


Many women find that their hemorrhoid symptoms begin to diminish after giving birth. This is due to the reduction of pressure on the pelvic veins after the baby is born. However, it is important to continue with appropriate care and prevention measures.


2. Continuing care


Continue to use the home remedies and topical treatments that have been effective during pregnancy. Warm baths, ice packs, and hemorrhoid creams can help relieve symptoms and speed recovery.


3. Diet and hydration


After giving birth, it is important to maintain a healthy diet rich in fiber and drink plenty of water. This will help maintain regular bowel movements and prevent constipation, which can worsen hemorrhoids.


4. Moderate physical activity


A gradual resumption of physical activity is important for the recovery of the body after childbirth. Start with light exercises such as walking and stretching, gradually increasing the intensity and duration of the workouts.


5. Avoid prolonged sitting and standing


Try to avoid prolonged sitting or standing, especially in the first weeks after giving birth. If you have to sit for a long time, use a soft pillow to reduce pressure on the pelvic veins.


6. Medical care and examinations


If hemorrhoids do not improve after childbirth or if symptoms worsen, it is important to consult a doctor. A doctor may suggest more specialized treatments or procedures if needed.


7. Special considerations for breastfeeding


If you're breastfeeding, it's important to check with your doctor before using any hemorrhoid medication to make sure it's safe for your baby. Many topical creams and ointments are safe, but it's always good to confirm with a medical professional.


8. Restoration of the pelvic floor


After giving birth, it is important to focus on pelvic floor muscle recovery. Kegel exercises can help strengthen these muscles and prevent hemorrhoids. Consult your doctor or physical therapist for appropriate exercises.


9. Long-term prevention


After you've recovered from childbirth, continue to maintain a healthy lifestyle that includes proper nutrition, regular physical activity, and proper hygiene habits. This will help prevent the recurrence of hemorrhoids in the future.


The postpartum period is a time of recovery and adaptation for a woman's body. Hemorrhoids that develop during pregnancy often begin to improve after delivery, but continued care and prevention are important for a full recovery.

Follow the recommendations for home remedies, maintain a healthy lifestyle and do not hesitate to seek medical help if necessary.



1. Mayo Clinic: Pregnancy week by week (25.05.2024)
2. Healthline: What to Know About Pregnancy Hemorrhoids (25.05.2024)