Hemorrhoids in Pregnancy

Treating hemorrhoids during pregnancy

Hemorrhoids are varicose veins which are localized in your rectal region. External hemorrhoids are inflammations which occur only around the opening of your anus, on the outside of your body. Internal hemorrhoids, on the other hand, occur within the rectum and can cause more uncomfortable symptoms and are often trickier to treat.

There are three main reasons for the heightened occurrence of hemorrhoids in pregnancy: first, your growing uterus exerts pressure on the surrounding veins, and the effects of gravity can cause this pressure to extend down into your rectal area. Second, constipation is one of the most frequent pregnancy symptoms, and this can cause hemorrhoids to develop or inflame cases that are already present. Finally, hormonal changes can cause vein inflammation, which can in turn trigger internal or external hemorrhoids.


Hemorrhoids Symptoms

The classic symptoms of hemorrhoids include anal discomfort, itching and tenderness. You may feel as though there's a lump in your anus during bowel movements, and you may detect traces of blood in your feces or on the toilet paper after you wipe.

Treating Hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids treatments vary, depending on whether they're localized externally or have occurred internally. External hemorrhoids can be soothed by applying a cold pack or ice wrapped in a towel or cloth to the affected area. You can also soak a cold compress with witch hazel; many people report that this brings more effective and lasting relief. Alternating cold with heat can also be effective, as can taking a nice long soak in a warm bath. Over-the-counter and prescription topical treatments are also available for hemorrhoids that are particularly bothersome.

For internal hemorrhoids, try using stool softeners and drinking plenty of water to help prevent constipation and make bowel movements easier to pass. In most cases, internal hemorrhoids don't cause much discomfort and are only noticeable when passing bowel movements. Just like other varicose veins in pregnancy, most hemorrhoids are caused by uterine pressure on the surrounding blood vessels, and they will usually go away, either with additional treatment or on their own, after the baby is born and the uterus shrinks back to its normal size.