Pregnancy & Hemorrhoids: an Overview

Hemorrhoids are a common condition that can develop during pregnancy. The reasons for their development are fairly simple. Hemorrhoids can occur when there is prolonged pressure on the veins in the rectal area. The weight of the developing fetus strains these veins to the point that they can easily become hemorrhoids. This is most common in the third trimester when the baby reaches its maximum weight.

Pregnancy & HemorrhoidsBeyond the weight of the baby, other factors can cause the development of hemorrhoids during pregnancy. The pregnancy hormone, progesterone, can soften the walls of the rectum, making it easier for hemorrhoids to develop. It is also common for pregnant women to develop constipation. This results in straining while eliminating waste during bowel movements, which also can lead to hemorrhoids.

When hemorrhoids do develop, most women experience itching or pain in the area. Sometimes the hemorrhoid is visible and looks like inflamed tissue that looks a lot like a blister. Some women experience bleeding hemorrhoids, which occurs when the tissue lacerates. Also, varicose veins, which are similar to hemorrhoids, may occur in the legs.

Treatment of Hemorrhoids in Pregnancy

A large number of different treatment options are available for hemorrhoid sufferers during pregnancy. It is essential to eat a diet rich in fiber and high in fluids, both of which aid in the overall health of the bowels and the prevention of constipation.

Pregnant women typically use sitz baths to treat hemorrhoids , where they can sit in warm water that soaks the area around the anus. This helps relieve the symptoms typical of hemorrhoids. Other alternatives are cold compresses or ice packs. These have a very soothing effect, and pregnant women typically use them to greatly reduce the swelling and pain associated with hemorrhoids.

A great majority of pregnant women have reported success when using hemorrhoid pads, like Tucks. However, use great caution with any hemorrhoid treatment method because some can result in complications. Always consult your doctor before resorting to any form of hemorrhoid relief treatment.

One of the most popular treatments for pregnant women is a witch hazel pad. Witch hazel is a natural astringent that can relieve swelling and inflammation. While the pads are effective for some women, others have reported a worsening of their condition. 

Kegel exercises strengthen the muscles in the vaginal and rectal areas and can prevent hemorrhoids. Studies have shown that these same exercises help treat hemorrhoids by improving circulation in the rectal area and making it less likely that blood pool and swelling will occur.

It can be extremely disheartening to develop hemorrhoids during pregnancy, especially if the woman is experiencing a difficult one. However, it is quite common and is not a threat to the baby’s health or the mother’s.

Even though hemorrhoids are a common problem that occur in pregnant women, consult with your doctor, so you can be sure that the condition is in fact hemorrhoids. Your doctor can make sure that they don’t develop into a more serious condition or become extremely uncomfortable.