In at least half of pregnant women, the risks associated with the appearance of hemorrhoids increase during the third trimester of pregnancy.
There are two different types of hemorrhoids – internal and external hemorrhoids:
- Internal hemorrhoids may require treatment, including medication or non-surgical methods such as rubber band ligation
- External hemorrhoids do not require treatment unless they cause discomfort
In this article you will find information about the symptoms, causes and treatment options for hemorrhoids during pregnancy.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms can vary depending on whether the hemorrhoids are external or internal.
Internal hemorrhoids form in the rectum. Symptoms include:
- Rectal bleeding: A person may notice bright red blood on the toilet paper or in the toilet bowl
- Prolapsing Hemorrhoid: This occurs when an internal hemorrhoid falls through the anus due to strain
If a person has a prolapsed hemorrhoid, they may feel pain and discomfort. Otherwise, internal hemorrhoids are usually not painful.
External hemorrhoids form on the outside of the anus. Symptoms may include:
- itching around the anus
- painful, hard lumps near the anus
- pain in the anus or pain that is worse when sitting
What can cause hemorrhoids?
When veins are functioning normally, blood flows through them moving in one direction. The extra weight and pressure on the pelvis can cause the veins in the lower body to swell, causing unpleasant problems such as hemorrhoids.
Hemorrhoids are common during pregnancy as pressure from the growing weight of the developing fetus in the uterus affects the pelvis.
There are several common causes of hemorrhoids that include:
- increased blood volume
- chronic constipation
- straining during bowel movements
- low fiber diet
- sitting on the toilet for longer periods of time
- lifting heavy objects
- the weakening of the supporting tissue around the anus
Hemorrhoids caused during pregnancy may gradually disappear on their own after delivery. However, a woman can relieve symptoms by:
- consuming more fiber
- doing exercises
- laying on the left side
- taking fiber supplements
- using ice or a cold compress
- applying witch hazel to external hemorrhoids with a cotton swab
Pregnant women can also use a sitz bath, it can help relieve the symptoms of hemorrhoids before and after childbirth.
How can you prevent the appearance of hemorrhoids?
Preventing hemorrhoids during pregnancy involves a number of healthy habits and lifestyle changes. To prevent their appearance, it is good to consume food with a high fiber content, drink enough fluids and avoid lifting heavy objects.
When should you visit a doctor?
Pregnant women should see a doctor if hemorrhoid symptoms become painful and interfere with daily life. It's also a good idea to see a doctor if:
- the hemorrhoid becomes thrombosed or bluish
- symptoms worsen
- profuse bleeding occurs
It is always a good idea to seek medical advice if you experience any of these symptoms. After pregnancy, hemorrhoids begin to disappear on their own. If they don't go away, but start to get worse, it's a good idea to consult your doctor to get proper advice and treatment.