Hemorrhoids During Pregnancy
Pregnancy puts a woman at a higher risk for developing hemorrhoids. During pregnancy, extra pressure is put on the internal and external hemorrhoidal veins, which can result in symptoms ranging from a feeling of vague anal discomfort to bright-red blood covering the stool. In some cases, hemorrhoids can be prevented by getting regular exercise and consuming more fiber. Treatment options include stool softeners, pain relievers, and warm baths.
Pregnancy and Hemorrhoids: An Overview
Among the many changes that happen to a woman's body during pregnancy, hemorrhoids is one that most pregnant women could do without. However, hemorrhoids are a common occurrence -- and even more so during the third trimester.
Understanding what hemorrhoids are and how to prevent them during pregnancy may help many women avoid this complication. For women who do develop hemorrhoids, understanding how to treat them may minimize the chances for continued problems.
The good news: For most women, hemorrhoids during pregnancy are just that. Once your baby is delivered, hemorrhoids usually improve.
The term hemorrhoids refers to a condition in which the veins around the anus or lower rectum become swollen and inflamed. Several groups of veins surround the rectum and anus -- one group is known as internal hemorrhoidal veins, and the others are known as external hemorrhoidal veins.
There are two types of hemorrhoids: internal and external. As the name suggests, internal hemorrhoids affect the internal hemorrhoidal veins; external hemorrhoids affect the internal hemorrhoidal veins.
During pregnancy, hemorrhoids are caused by an increase in pressure within either the internal or external hemorrhoidal veins. There are several reasons why pressure may increase during pregnancy. Some of these reasons include:
- The fetus and uterus are growing, which puts more pressure on veins in the lower pelvic area.
- Hormonal changes cause the hemorrhoidal vessels to enlarge.
- Severe pressure to the hemorrhoidal veins occurs during childbirth.
- Frequent constipation during pregnancy. Constipation increases straining and pressure during bowel movements.