What Causes Hemorrhoids During Pregnancy?

A woman's body becomes very sensitive and delicate during pregnancy. The body is more prone to develop hemorrhoids during the phase. The common cause of hemorrhoids during pregnancy is the growing size of the uterus. During this phase, the uterus and the blood volume increases that cause pressure on the veins in and around the anus. As a result, these veins swell and the problem of hemorrhoids triggers.

Constipation and hemorrhoids are also interrelated. The bowel movement slows down due to the overflow of progesterone and estrogen hormones during pregnancy. Because of this, the rectal area and excretory canal experience straining which leads to constipation. We can also blame the prenatal vitamins prescribed to the pregnant women. These prenatal vitamins contain high level of synthetic irons due to which the problem of constipation arises that may lead to hemorrhoids.

So, we can say that the increased pressure on the perineum and rectum caused by the increasing weight of uterus combined with constipation is the main reason due to which pregnant ladies suffer from hemorrhoids.

What Causes Hemorrhoids During Pregnancy?

Prevention of Hemorrhoids During Pregnancy

Here are some of the preventive measures you should adopt to prevent the problem of hemorrhoids during pregnancy:

  • Avoid Constipation- You should avoid constipation by all means during the crucial phase. Take care of your diet properly. Have adequate amount of water (at least 8 to 10 glasses) everyday and include fiber-rich foods in your diet. High intake of liquid and fiber helps in keeping the body hydrated and the stools soft. In this way, you can avoid constipation and straining and thus preventing the development of hemorrhoids during pregnancy.
  • Avoid Straining- You should not strain whenever you feel the urge of having a bowel movement. Don't strain yourself and don't ignore the urge also. Both of these reasons can become the cause of developing hemorrhoids during pregnancy.
  • Avoid Sitting or Standing for Long- In order to prevent hemorrhoids during pregnancy, one should avoid sitting or standing for too long and also don't stress yourself. When you sit or stand for too long, the lower abdomen areas get pressurised by the fetus that may cause straining. You should take proper rest and do little exercise or walk for about 5 minutes every hour or so.
  • Avoid Sitting on the Toilet Seat for Long time- You should not sit on the toilet seat for too long as doing this will only build pressure on the rectal area. You can put your feet on a small tool while you use the toilet. It will help in easy and quick passing of the stools.
  • Avoid Wearing Slim Fit Clothes- You should avoid wearing slim fit clothes. Doctors advise to wear loose fitted clothes such as dresses and maxis instead of tights and pants during the phase. The reason being is that that pelvic area of a woman is over sensitive during pregnancy and wearing tight fitting clothes increases the friction leading to discomfort and irritation. On the contrary, loose dresses do not get rubbed against the skin making the skin supple and let it breathe. Along with this, you should wear clean cotton panties during pregnancy as it keeps the anus and vagina dry and fresh throughout the day.
  • Avoid Lifting Heavy Object to Prevent Hemorrhoids During Pregnancy- You should not lift any heavy objects during pregnancy. As you know, the uterus and parts involving genitals and the lower abdomen become very sensitive during the phase. If you lift any heavy object, it can put stress on the fetus leading to hemorrhoids and it can affect your back and spine too.
  • Maintain Your Weight- Being pregnant does not mean that you should not care about maintaining your weight. Overeating should be avoided as it is not good for your body structure and the fetus as well. Being overweight during pregnancy may cause obesity in the growing baby and as a result, you might develop hemorrhoids during pregnancy. You should also give heed to your diet after delivery. Following a diet prescribed by the dietician, is very essential during the crucial phase.
  • Avoid Mental Stress to Prevent Hemorrhoids During Pregnancy: A woman's body already takes so much stress by providing the fetus with required amount of nutrition, respiratory gases and by keeping the amniotic sac intact with a number of hormones. In this situation, if you take mental stress, it will only affect the functioning of pituitary gland resulting in the unbalanced system of the hormones in your body. Because of this stress, the fetus may get affected and the problem of constipation and straining may trigger. The hormonal imbalance can become the reason for developing hemorrhoids during pregnancy as there is build up of pressure on the rectal area as well.

Treatment for Hemorrhoids During Pregnancy

Even after the utmost care, if you develop the problem of hemorrhoids during pregnancy, you should consult your doctor immediately to get it treated. Along with this you can get rid of the problem of hemorrhoids during pregnancy by taking help of the following cures:

  • Probiotic Food- If the problem of hemorrhoids triggers during pregnancy, then the very first and foremost treatment is the food. Probiotic foods such as fermented cheese and yogurt etc that help in balancing the bacteria in the gut, are very beneficial in treating hemorrhoids during pregnancy. They help in maintaining the weight and also in better digestion.
  • Regular Cleaning of the Affected Area- You should clean your rectal area with wet tissues or wipes on a regular basis. This practice will help in maintaining the personal hygiene and reducing the risk of developing hemorrhoids during pregnancy. Even if the problem is already developed, you can treat it faster by cleaning the affected area regularly. You can also soak baby wipes or tissues in any lubricant like moisturizer, witch hazel or antiseptic and apply this on the affected area for better results. It will be good if you can use baby wipes as they are softer and less scratchy than tissues and toilet papers. So, use baby wipes instead of the regular hard textured toilet papers, to moisten and clean the affected area. In this way the skin won't get rashes even after multiple times of cleaning of the area.
  • Medication- You should consult your doctor before starting any medication that involve topical anesthesia to treat hemorrhoids during pregnancy. An extract known as 'tanning' in these medication, reduces the allergies and irritation from the infected area. You can find many medicated creams, sprays and wipes in the market that are very helpful in treating the problem of hemorrhoids during pregnancy. You can apply them on the rectal area after the prescription from the doctor. Ensuring the safety of the fetus is very essential as this is the first priority.
  • Acupuncture: This mild process is time consuming but it is a good option to treat moderate hemorrhoids during pregnancy effectively. In this process, needles are pressed on the acupressure points. The problem of hemorrhoids triggers when the rectal area lacks proper blood circulation leading to blood clotting. So, if the blood circulation is to be blamed, then what can be best than treating the problem with the method that itself is meant for recirculation of the blood.
  • Antioxidant Food- You should take fresh fruits and leafy green vegetables as they are good source of antioxidants. We usually tend to ignore the importance of the balance of antioxidants in our body. Being rich in vitamins, antioxidants help in the strengthening of the blood vessels, preventing the collapse of the capillaries, reducing the bleeding and treating hemorrhoids during pregnancy at a faster pace.
  • Stool Softeners- You may take the help of stool softeners to ease the problem of hemorrhoids during pregnancy. They are medicines available in both suppository and oral form. You should take them only after the prescription from your doctor. The doctor will recommend the suitable form for you or he/she will tell exactly whether you should take the help of the stool softeners or not. Generally any medicine besides the pregnancy ones is best avoided as the fetus may get affected from this.
  • Vitamin E- It is an antioxidant that contains amino acids in high amount. It can be very helpful when it comes to treating hemorrhoids during pregnancy. You can easily cut vitamin E capsules and apply the oil on the infected area. This oil acts as a lubricant and soothes the pain and irritation caused by hemorrhoids during pregnancy.
  • Arnica Gel- This is an anti- inflammatory, non-greasy product. When you apply the gel on the affected area, it gets absorbed by the skin easily and immediately. The active ingredients Thymol and Arnica Montana found in it, increases the blood circulation in the capillaries of the infected region giving relief from hemorrhoids.
  • Proper Sleep- Undisturbed and adequate sleep is very essential for a pregnant lady. So, you should have a good sleep of about 8 hours at night. If you have already developed the problem of hemorrhoids, proper sleeping pattern will help you in reducing the stress on the lower area.
  • Sleeping Position:- According to the studies, pregnant ladies should adopt 'SOS' (sleep on side), and avoid sleeping on their back. This practice helps in reducing the pressure on the lower region and gives relief from the stress. It will be even better if you sleep on your left side. This will help in increasing the amount of blood and nutrients that reach the placenta and the baby. Try to keep the legs and knees bent and put a cushion between the legs.
  • Yoga: You should do exercises which include breathe in and breathe out technique, every day during pregnancy. In this way, you can maintain your stress level and also you will remain peaceful and calm. Yoga also helps in increasing blood circulation and muscular stability. This practice will help in keeping hemorrhoids during pregnancy at bay.
  • Home Remedies: You can also take help of home remedies to get rid of hemorrhoids during pregnancy. They are very effective and somehow provide you relief from the pain and irritation caused by the problem. You can apply ice packs, aloe vera, coconut oil or witch hazel on the problem area, have warm or apple cider vinegar sitz baths and many more to get relief from the problem hemorrhoids during pregnancy.

Don't be so anxious if you are suffering from the same. Many women suffer from hemorrhoids as the problem is very common during pregnancy. They mostly appear during the 3rd trimester of the pregnancy. The good thing is that the problem gets solved after the child birth in most of the cases.

When you are pregnant, you have the responsibility of two souls on your shoulders. Let your doctor know about all the activities you are doing or the solutions you are opting for to cure the problem. So, if you are doing something wrong, he/she can make you aware about this before it gets too late! Consult your doctor before doing any exercise.

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Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD, FFARCSI

Last Modified On: August 8, 2017

Pain Assist Inc.

Pramod Kerkar
  Note: Information provided is not a substitute for physician, hospital or any form of medical care. Examination and Investigation is necessary for correct diagnosis.

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