July 11, 2024

Pregnancy is a miraculous journey that brings about numerous physical and emotional changes in a woman’s life. While the focus often centers on the joy and anticipation of motherhood, it’s important to address the less glamorous aspects of pregnancy as well. 

One such discomfort that many expectant mothers face is hemorrhoids. These swollen blood vessels in the rectal area can cause pain, itching, and discomfort, adding an extra layer of challenge to an already transformative time. 

In this article, we’ll delve into the causes of hemorrhoids during pregnancy and explore coping strategies that can help expecting mothers find relief.

Understanding Hemorrhoids During Pregnancy:

Hemorrhoids are a common condition characterized by swollen blood vessels in the rectal and anal area.

During pregnancy, the body undergoes hormonal and physical changes that can increase the risk of developing hemorrhoids. 

Factors contributing to their formation include:

a. Increased Pressure:

Increased pressure on the blood vessels in the pelvic area during pregnancy can lead to the development or worsening of hemorrhoids.

The growing uterus and the weight of the baby can put pressure on the veins in the lower abdomen and pelvis, obstructing the blood flow and causing veins to become swollen.

This increased pressure can lead to the formation of hemorrhoids, which are essentially swollen blood vessels around the anus or inside the rectum. 

Hormonal changes during pregnancy can also contribute to weakened blood vessel walls.

Constipation, which is common during pregnancy, can further exacerbate the situation by straining the area during bowel movements, increasing pressure on the veins and potentially leading to hemorrhoids.

b. Hormonal Changes:

Hormonal changes during pregnancy, specifically increased levels of progesterone, can lead to the relaxation of blood vessels and muscles in the body. 

This includes the blood vessels and muscles in the rectal area. As a result, the veins around the anus may become swollen and stretched, leading to hemorrhoids.

Additionally, the growing uterus can put pressure on the pelvic veins, further contributing to the development of hemorrhoids. 

Constipation, a common issue during pregnancy, can also exacerbate the situation by causing straining during bowel movements, which can increase the risk of hemorrhoids forming.

c. Constipation:

Constipation during pregnancy can lead to the development or worsening of hemorrhoids due to increased pressure on the rectal veins.

When pregnant women experience constipation, they tend to strain during bowel movements, which puts extra pressure on the veins around the anus.

This increased pressure can cause these veins to swell and become inflamed, resulting in hemorrhoids.

Additionally, hormonal changes during pregnancy can lead to relaxation of the blood vessels and increased water retention, which can contribute to the development of hemorrhoids. 

The combination of these factors—constipation, straining, increased pressure on blood vessels, and hormonal changes—creates an environment conducive to hemorrhoid formation or exacerbation.

To prevent or manage hemorrhoids during pregnancy, it’s important for pregnant women to maintain a high-fiber diet, stay well-hydrated, engage in regular physical activity if possible, and consult a healthcare provider for safe remedies or treatments.

d. Weight Gain:

Weight gain during pregnancy can contribute to the development of hemorrhoids in several ways.

The increased pressure on the pelvic area due to the growing uterus and the added weight can lead to pressure on the veins in the rectal area.

This pressure can hinder the normal blood flow and cause the veins to become swollen and inflamed, resulting in hemorrhoids.

Constipation, a common issue during pregnancy, can also be exacerbated by weight gain and hormonal changes.

Straining during bowel movements due to constipation can put extra pressure on the rectal veins and contribute to the formation of hemorrhoids.

Maintaining a healthy weight and managing constipation through a balanced diet, hydration, and regular physical activity can help reduce the risk of hemorrhoids during pregnancy.

However, it’s essential to consult a healthcare provider for personalized advice and proper management.

Coping Strategies for Expectant Mothers:

Dealing with hemorrhoids during pregnancy can be uncomfortable, but there are several strategies that can offer relief and help manage the symptoms.

i. Maintain a High-Fiber Diet: Eating a diet rich in fiber can help prevent constipation and make bowel movements easier. This can reduce the strain on blood vessels in the rectal area.

ii. Stay Hydrated: Drinking plenty of water helps soften stools, making them easier to pass and reducing the risk of constipation.

iii. Practice Good Hygiene: Keeping the anal area clean is essential. After bowel movements, gently cleanse the area with mild soap and water, and pat dry to prevent irritation.

iv. Warm Sitz Baths: Soaking in a warm tub of water (sitz bath) for about 10-15 minutes a few times a day can provide relief from itching and discomfort.

v. Topical Treatments: Over-the-counter creams and ointments designed for hemorrhoid relief may offer comfort. Always consult a healthcare provider before using any medication during pregnancy.

vi. Kegel Exercises: These exercises strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, improving circulation and potentially reducing the risk of hemorrhoids.

vii. Avoid Straining: It’s important to avoid straining during bowel movements. If constipation is an issue, talk to a doctor about safe options for relieving it.

viii. Elevate Your Feet: While sitting on the toilet, elevating your feet on a stool can create a more natural position for bowel movements, reducing the strain.

ix. Wear Comfortable Clothing: Loose-fitting clothing can reduce irritation and friction around the anal area.

When to Seek Medical Attention:

While most hemorrhoids during pregnancy are manageable with at-home strategies, there are situations where medical attention is necessary. 

If you experience severe pain, bleeding, or notice a lump around the anal area, it’s crucial to consult a healthcare provider. These symptoms could indicate a more serious issue that needs immediate attention.


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Staroselsky, A., Nava-Ocampo, A. A., Vohra, S., & Koren, G. (2008). Hemorrhoids in pregnancy. Canadian family physician Medecin de famille canadien54(2), 189–190.

Abramowitz, L., Benabderrhamane, D., Philip, J., Pospait, D., Bonin, N., & Merrouche, M. (2011). Pathologie hémorroïdaire de la parturiente [Haemorrhoidal disease in pregnancy]. Presse medicale (Paris, France : 1983)40(10), 955–959. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lpm.2011.06.015

Poskus, T., Sabonyte-Balsaitiene, Z., Jakubauskiene, L., Jakubauskas, M., Stundiene, I., Barkauskaite, G., Smigelskaite, M., Jasiunas, E., Ramasauskaite, D., Strupas, K., & Drasutiene, G. (2022). Preventing hemorrhoids during pregnancy: a multicenter, randomized clinical trial. BMC pregnancy and childbirth22(1), 374. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12884-022-04688-x

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