Hemorrhoids affect between 20 and 50% of pregnant women. Unlike most other problems during pregnancy, hemorrhoids are not directly attributed to increasing hormone levels.
What are the causes of hemorrhoids during pregnancy?
The uterus is growing and that additional weight on the rectum is one cause for hemorrhoids. Moreover, constipation often occurring during pregnancy can cause straining and pushing that causes pressure on the veins of the rectum, which are already full of more blood than ever before, causing a bulge or hemorrhoid during pregnancy. If hemorrhoids appear after birth, more than likely the pressure of pushing your baby out through the birth canal caused the bulge.
Hemorrhoids during pregnancy are common and often last only a short while after birth. In some cases, however, hemorrhoids that appeared during pregnancy will not fade or may only shrink a small bit and continue to cause some pain or irritation for months after your baby is born. If rectal bleeding occurs, it is important to contact your health provider for further evaluation.
What are the treatments for hemorrhoids?
Prevention works better than any other treatment for hemorrhoids. Meals should be fiber rich and water intake increased during pregnancy. This works to keep bowel movements regular and prevent constipation. Cleansing the rectal area after a bowel movement can also help prevent hemorrhoids from popping out.
If hemorrhoids are already a problem, witch hazel or warm baths can help ease the itching and pain associated with bulging blood vessels. While some over-the-counter medications may be approved for use during pregnancy, it is important to ask your doctor before using any medications to treat hemorrhoids.
Constipation and Pregnancy