It is common to suffer from hemorrhoids while pregnant. This condition often presents during the third trimester of pregnancy and up to the first month after delivery. The good news is that there are ways to ease symptoms of hemorrhoids, and they will most likely go away after delivery once your body returns to its pre-pregnancy state.
It is common for pregnant women to develop hemorrhoids due to increased abdominal pressure, hormones, and constipation.
Hemorrhoids are likely to resolve after delivery.
At-home remedies focus on lifestyle changes such as improving diet and toileting habits.
There is no harm to the baby if you have hemorrhoids while pregnant; however, it could affect your quality of life.
Hemorrhoids are inflamed veins around the anus that are irritated and swollen. Hemorrhoids can be internal, meaning you can't see them, or they can be easily visualized, such as with external hemorrhoids.
Around 15% to 41% of pregnant women are likely to get this condition. It can be more common in pregnant women who are older and have had multiple pregnancies.
When hemorrhoids are not extremely large, managing them involves removing the irritating symptoms. Read on to find out what you can do to get relief from hemorrhoids while pregnant.
Ways to get rid of hemorrhoids
It's understandable for pregnant women to question how to get rid of hemorrhoids during pregnancy. This condition can be quite bothersome, and there are some tactics you can try to manage hemorrhoids safely at home without surgery.
Increase your fiber and water intake
Fiber and water are essential to keep stool soft and will help to keep your system flowing easily. When you have soft stool, it is easier to pass through the intestines and helps prevent you from straining and increasing pressure around the anus.
Try a sitz bath
Warm water can help to increase blood flow to the area around the anus, helping with healing. Creating a sitz bath can be accomplished by simply filling your bathtub with a small amount of warm water. There are even special devices you can purchase online that fit over the toilet, which are made specifically for this use.
Using either method, ensure the water isn't too hot and there are only a few inches of water. If either is too tricky, spray the area with a water bottle filled with warm water.
Improve your toileting
It's best not to do anything that increases pressure in the perineal area. Don't sit on the toilet for a long time; if you can, get something that you can rest your feet on while sitting there. Also, try not to strain while you have a bowel movement. It would be better to get up, walk around, and drink water rather than force yourself to have a bowel movement.
Stool softeners and medicated wipes
Talk with your doctor before starting any medication, even the kind you put on your skin. To avoid straining and prevent constipation, you may need to add a stool softener to your regimen.
You can also use medicated wipes that contain witch hazel to help alleviate any itchiness you may be experiencing. While it may not eliminate the hemorrhoids, it can help with that annoying symptom.
Ice packs for symptom control
Try using ice packs to help soothe the pain. Ice can also help to control any swelling you may be experiencing. There are various packs you can purchase online for this reason.
You can also create one at home using a Ziploc, ice, and a towel to wrap it. Don't leave the ice on for too long, or have it touch your skin directly. Remove the pack after about 15 minutes, and use a towel or shirt to create a barrier.
There are surgical options available. Hemorrhoids causing severe problems or bleeding might require surgery after all other methods have been exhausted. These procedures can be done in the office, while some require going to the hospital or surgery center.
What causes hemorrhoids during pregnancy
Why are pregnant women so prone to developing this condition? During pregnancy, a woman's body is literally under a lot of pressure.
The momma-to-be now has extra blood volume to care for the fetus. This increase in blood volume causes veins to become large in multiple body areas, including the anus.
The uterus is growing and expanding in the woman's abdomen. This expansion will also cause an increase in pressure on the perianal area.
Constipation can be expected during pregnancy due to hormones and that ever-growing uterus. If you are constipated, then you are most likely straining to have a bowel movement. Straining to have a bowel movement will increase pressure around your anus, increasing the risk of hemorrhoids or their size.
Avoid hemorrhoids during pregnancy
You can try to avoid getting hemorrhoids while pregnant if you think about what causes them in the first place. Do things that will stop or reverse the increased pressure in the perianal area.
Tips to avoid pregnancy hemorrhoids:
- Drink at least 1.5 Liters of water daily.
- Eat a high-fiber diet.
- Eat whole grains.
- Try snacking on prunes.
- Do not ignore any urges to defecate when you feel them.
- Try to get on a schedule for having bowel movements, starting with about 30 minutes after each meal or around the same time each day.
- Keep your bowels moving by taking walks daily.
Risks of having hemorrhoids while pregnant
Rest assured that there is no direct harm to the unborn fetus if you have hemorrhoids during pregnancy. However, they can be highly bothersome and affect the mother's experience depending on the level of discomfort and the degree to which they affect your everyday activities.
In some situations, depending on the location of hemorrhoids and whether they are external or internal, they could potentially cause problems that need surgical evaluation.
In severe situations, hemorrhoids could be complicated by developing a blood clot, cause the strangulation of another hemorrhoid, become a skin tag once resolved, and even possibly lead to infection.
Pregnancy hemorrhoids – when to see a doctor:
Knowing when to see a doctor for hemorrhoids during pregnancy is essential. Always communicate with your healthcare team so they can advise you on the proper steps to follow.
You should contact your doctor if you experience the following symptoms:
- Unrelieved hemorrhoids after one week of at-home treatment.
- Rectal bleeding with large amounts of blood.
- Pain that is unrelieved with sitz baths.
- You want to try over-the-counter medications to treat hemorrhoids.
Hemorrhoids are common during pregnancy as a result of the changes that take place in the body during this time. While there is not usually any harm to the fetus or the mom by having hemorrhoids, it can affect the mother's quality of life. However, having hemorrhoids while pregnant can be managed by balancing your diet, increasing your fluid intake, and changing your toileting habits.