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Pregnancy and Hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids are bulging veins that form in the anus and the rectum. Also known as piles, it is caused by excessive pressure on the rectal veins. They commonly afflict people over the age of 50, but are also common in pregnant women. Though hemorrhoids are never life threatening, they can be annoying and painful.

Hemorrhoids are a very common occurrence among pregnant women and mostly affect them in the third trimester. During pregnancy, as the pressure increases due to the growing uterus, the blood vessels near the rectal and anal region stretch, thus stretching the skin surrounding it.

Reasons for Development of Hemorrhoids during Pregnancy

There are several reasons for the increase in pressure in the anal and rectal region and the development of hemorrhoids in pregnancy:

  • The uterus and the fetus are both growing, putting more pressure on the veins in the lower pelvic area
  • Hormones released during pregnancy results in the enlargement of blood vessels.
  • Excessive pressure on the hemorrhoidal vessels during childbirth.
  • Increase in blood circulation in the abdominal area results in the engorgement of the blood vessels
  • Women frequently suffer from constipation during pregnancy, which increases the straining and pressure on blood vessels during bowel movement.

How to Prevent Hemorrhoids during Pregnancy

Here are some steps to minimize or prevent hemorrhoids during pregnancy:

  • Empty the bowels as soon as you feel the urge.

  • Avoid spending more time sitting on the toilet, as it increases the pressure on the veins surrounding the anus.

  • Increase the fiber content in your diet and drink lots of fluids. High fiber content helps in the formation of softer stools, thereby reducing the chances of constipation and the excessive pressure resulting from straining.

  • Doing Kegel exercises about 50 to 100 times a day, helps increase blood circulation in the rectal region.

Treating Hemorrhoids during Pregnancy

Suffering from hemorrhoids during pregnancy can lead to a lot of discomfort for the expectant mother. Pregnant women need to take extra precautions and care to avoid complications and discomfort arising from this condition. Here are some safe and effective treatments for hemorrhoids during pregnancy:

  • Dry toilet tissues may cause irritation when you are suffering from hemorrhoids during pregnancy. Using wet tissues or pre-moistened cleansers for wiping can effectively reduce the irritation and pain resulting from hemorrhoids.

  • Using witch hazel pads can help to reduce the bleeding and swelling.

  • Safe and easy to use medicated hemorrhoid treatment pads also prove beneficial for hemorrhoid treatment.

  • Keeping your body properly hydrated helps to avoid constipation, one of the major causes for the development of hemorrhoids. Water helps in the formation of softer and bulkier stools thus enabling easier bowel movements.

  • Taking a sitz bath for about 20 minutes can prove to be very effective in relieving the pain and swelling. A sitz bath consists of a plastic basin placed on the toilet bowl. It is then filled up with warm water and one can soak the affected area in this warm bath.

  • Placing a small amount of baking soda on the hemorrhoids will help stop the itching.

  • Applying ice packs to the affected area can provide relief from the pain and itching caused by the hemorrhoids. Wrapping ice in a soft tissue paper and then sitting on it, helps to provide relief from the discomfort. You can also choose to add witch hazel to the ice pack.

  • Keeping your feet elevated and resting on your side helps in hemorrhoid treatment. Also it is advisable not to sit in one position for long periods.

  • Ask your doctor to recommend some kind of safe medicated suppository or topical anesthetic to provide relief from the discomforting symptomsof hemorrhoids. But these products should not be used for long periods, as they may lead to more inflammation.

Understanding the reasons for the development of hemorrhoids can help in avoiding its occurrence and minimizing the discomfort from the condition.