Hemorrhoids During Pregnancy

Hemorrhoids During Pregnancy

What are Hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids are swollen blood vessels in and around the anus and lower rectum that can cause itching, burning, pain, or bleeding. Hemorrhoids can either be inside the rectum (internal) or outside the rectum (external). External hemorrhoids are more likely to bleed and be itchy, while internal hemorrhoids are typically more painful and can also have some bleeding.

Hemorrhoids During Pregnancy

Hemorrhoids are quite common during pregnancy, particularly during the third trimester. Pregnancy hemorrhoids are no different than ones you may experience when you are not pregnant. Some women get hemorrhoids for the first time when they’re pregnant. Women who have had hemorrhoids in the past are more likely to get them again when they’re pregnant.

Causes

As a baby grows in the womb, a woman’s uterus becomes larger and puts pressure on the veins near the anus and rectum. As the pressure builds, these veins may become swollen and painful. In addition, pregnant women frequently experience constipation, which contributes to hemorrhoids. One cause of constipation during pregnancy may be the enlarged uterus pushes against the bowel. In addition, the increase in the hormone progesterone during pregnancy can contribute to the development of hemorrhoids, because it relaxes the walls of your veins, making them more prone to swelling. During pregnancy, a woman’s blood volume will increase by about 50 percent. The increase in blood volume, which enlarges veins, can also contribute to hemorrhoids during pregnancy.

Other causes of hemorrhoids during pregnancy may include:

  • Straining during bowel movements
  • Straining from carrying extra pregnancy weight
  • Sitting or standing for long periods of time

Prevention

The most effective way to prevent hemorrhoids is to keep your stools soft, so they pass easily and do not cause irritation. Here are some tips that you can immediately incorporate into your regular daily routine.

1. To Relieve or Prevent Constipation, Fill Up on Fiber and Fluids.

This includes fruits (such as raspberries, pears, apples and bananas), vegetables (such as artichokes, green peas, broccoli and Brussels sprouts) and whole grains (such as barley, bran flakes, oatmeal and brown rice). High-fiber foods help prevent hemorrhoids because they soften stool as well as increase its bulk. As a result, the amount of straining during a bowel movement is reduced; straining during a bowel movement can aggravate symptoms from existing hemorrhoids. People often do not get the recommended amount of fiber in their diet (25 grams a day for women and 38 grams a day for men). Studies have shown that over-the-counter fiber supplements, such as Metamucil and Citrucel are effective in softening stools. As a result, they improve overall symptoms and bleeding from hemorrhoids. Note: when taking fiber supplements, be sure to drink at least 8 glasses of water or other liquids per day for best results. In addition, staying well hydrated is beneficial to one’s overall health, and also key to having healthy bowel movements. Drinking 6-8 glasses of water and other non-alcoholic liquids every day will help keep your digestive system running smoothly and your stools soft.

2. Avoid Straining

Holding your breath and straining during a bowel movement increases the pressure in the veins in the rectum, which is one of the most common causes of painful or bleeding hemorrhoids. Remember, it’s not really about pushing as much as just relaxing and letting your body do what it does naturally.

3. Don’t ignore mother nature

As soon as you feel the urge to relieve your bowels, go immediately to the toilet. If the urge passes and there is a delay in getting to the toilet, stools can become dry, harder to pass and cause irritation to hemorrhoids. Remember, keeping your stools soft is important.

4. Exercise
Long periods of inactivity and being overweight can both contribute to hemorrhoid problems. Daily Kegel exercises are also helpful, because they strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. Staying active through regular exercise will not only help you lose weight, but also prevents constipation and reduces pressure on anal veins. Stay away from weight-lifting squats and similar motions that increase abdominal pressure; these exercises can actually contribute to hemorrhoids.

5. Don’t turn the bathroom into a library.
Sitting for long periods of time, particularly on the toilet, can increase the pressure on the veins in the anus. Your time in the bathroom should be thought of as a necessity, not an extended break. If you keep reading material on the toilet tank, or check your phone while on the toilet, consider relocating your reading material to another room and leaving your phone in your pocket. The more time you spend on the toilet, the more likely you will strain for bowel movements. Also, if you sit at a desk for a significant amount of time each day, consider using a standing desk for part of the day.

Treatment Options

If you are experiencing hemorrhoids during pregnancy, call the hemorrhoid specialists today at Avalon Hemorrhoid at (626) 310-0771 for a consultation.

 

Citations:

  • https://www.everydayhealth.com/hemorrhoids/guide/pregnancy/
  • https://www.webmd.com/baby/hemorrhoids-during-pregnancy
  • https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-by-week/expert-answers/hemorrhoids-during-pregnancy/faq-20058149
  • https://www.thebump.com/a/hemorrhoids-during-pregnancy

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