Haemorrhoids (piles) in Pregnancy: Understanding the condition.

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Author: Hegenberger Medical

Pregnancy is a miraculous journey filled with joy and excitement, but it can also bring about various physical changes. One common issue that some pregnant women experience is haemorrhoids. These swollen and inflamed blood vessels in the rectal area can cause pain and discomfort. In this blog, we’ll explore the connection between pregnancy and haemorrhoids, the causes, symptoms, prevention, and potential treatments to help expectant mothers navigate this challenging aspect of their pregnancy.

Haemorrhoids are swollen veins in the rectal and anal region. They can be internal, developing inside the rectum, or external, forming around the anus. When these veins become swollen or inflamed, they can cause pain, itching, and sometimes bleeding during bowel movements.

During pregnancy, the body undergoes significant changes to accommodate the growing baby. These changes can put additional pressure on the pelvic and rectal area, increasing the likelihood of developing haemorrhoids. Some of the factors that contribute to the development of haemorrhoids during pregnancy include:

1. Increased Blood Flow: Pregnancy leads to increased blood volume, which can cause veins in the rectal area to swell and become susceptible to haemorrhoids.

2. Hormonal Changes: Hormonal shifts during pregnancy can weaken the walls of blood vessels, making them more prone to swelling.

3. Pressure from the Uterus: As the uterus expands to accommodate the growing fetus, it can put pressure on the rectal veins, leading to haemorrhoid formation.

4. Constipation: Constipation is a common issue during pregnancy, and straining during bowel movements can further aggravate haemorrhoids.

The symptoms of haemorrhoids can vary from mild discomfort to more severe pain and irritation. Some common signs include:

  • Itching or irritation of the anal area
  • Swelling or lumps around the anus
  • Pain or discomfort during bowel movements
  • Bright red blood on toilet paper or in the toilet bowl after a bowel movement

While not all cases of haemorrhoids can be entirely prevented, pregnant women can take certain measures to reduce their risk and manage discomfort.

Consuming a diet rich in fibre can help prevent constipation and ease the strain during bowel movements.

 Staying adequately hydrated can promote regular bowel movements and soften stools.

Strengthening pelvic floor muscles through Kegel exercises can help improve blood circulation in the rectal area.

Sitting for extended periods can put pressure on the rectal area, so try to take breaks and move around regularly.

 Soaking in a warm bath can help soothe discomfort and reduce inflammation.

While haemorrhoids during pregnancy are generally not a cause for concern, it’s essential to seek medical advice if:

  • You experience severe pain or discomfort.
  • Bleeding is persistent or excessive.
  • Haemorrhoids are accompanied by fever or other unusual symptoms.

Haemorrhoids during pregnancy can be an uncomfortable and distressing experience for some expectant mothers. However, with proper care, prevention, and communication with healthcare providers, it’s possible to manage the symptoms effectively. Remember that every pregnancy is unique, and if you have any concerns or questions about haemorrhoids or any other aspect of your pregnancy, don’t hesitate to reach out to your healthcare professional for guidance and support.

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