Hemorrhoids, or swollen veins in the rectum, are common during pregnancy. They may range in size from as small as a pea to as large as a grape and may occur inside or outside the rectum. Discomfort caused may also vary from mildly uncomfortable to bleeding and painful hemorrhoids. They usually appear during the third trimester of pregnancy. Some of them may get it for the first time during pregnancy, while those who have had it earlier have increased risk of developing it during pregnancy.
Chances of developing hemorrhoids during pregnancy increase due to
- Growth of the uterus – this causes increased pressure on the pelvic veins and veins below uterus. This may lead to swelling of the veins in the rectal area.
- Increase in hormone progesterone – progesterone is known to relax the walls of the veins, increasing the chances of their swelling.
- Constipation – Constipation is a common symptom during pregnancy and one may need to strain to pass stools. This straining may result in the formation of hemorrhoids.
Pain and itching in the rectal area are two telltale signs of hemorrhoids. These symptoms may worsen during bowel movements. Some may feel a small lump near the rectal area. For some others, it is felt as a general pressure in the rectum.
In most of the cases, hemorrhoids resolve on its own after delivery. During pregnancy, you may try the following tips to reduce the discomfort due to hemorrhoids.
- Cold compress: cold compress in the affected region may provide some relief. You can alternate between cold compress and sitz bath for better relief.
- Sitz bath: Sitz bath is a small plastic bin in which you can sit down. You can alternatively use a bathtub filled with warm water. Sit in warm water for 10-15 minutes for few times.
- Medications: Talk to your doctor about medications, if the discomfort is too much. The doctor may suggest a medicated suppository or a topical anesthetic for relief.
When should you call the doctor if you have hemorrhoids
Do remember to call your doctor if you do not get much relief from the home remedies, or if the pain is severe. Rectal bleeding is also an important symptom to inform the doctor.
Avoiding constipation is the best way to prevent hemorrhoids during pregnancy. If you do have constipation, try to avoid straining during bowel movements.
- Include fiber-rich foods in the menu
- Drink plenty of water
- Include more fruits and vegetables in the diet