Hemorrhoids are varicose veins in the rectum that cause discomfort when you sit on them. They affect up to 50% of pregnant women, and generally don’t arise until at least the second trimester, and more commonly the third.
What causes it?
As your uterus expands, it applies greater pressure to the rectal wall, causing the veins to swell and itch. Hemorrhoids are particularly problematic, because while your expanding uterus may encourage the rectal varicose veins, constipation, another symptom of pregnancy, can aggravate them, or even cause new ones.
- Eat more fiber: Hemorrhoids are strongly linked to constipation, as the more time you spend on the toilet, the more likely hemorrhoids are to arise. Upping your fiber intake can help you stay more regular, and manage or prevent your hemorrhoids.
- Drink more water: Water is imperative for making sure that your internal plumbing is running smoothly, since it possesses similar hemorrhoid-fighting properties to fiber.
- Try to spend less time on the toilet: Though it may be difficult, limiting your time on the toilet can help deal with the discomfort of hemorrhoids.
- Soak in a warm bath: What can’t a warm bath help fix? Laying back in a nice warm bath for a few minutes each day may help reduce the symptom.
- Use topical creams: Topical creams like Preparation H are usually pregnancy-safe, and can be useful for treating any hemorrhoids that occur – just make sure that your healthcare provider is OK with any medication you elect to take.
Reviewed by Dr. Jamie Lo
- A Staroselsky, A A Nava-Ocampo, S Vohra, G Koren. “Hemorrhoids in pregnancy.” Canadian Family Physician. 54(2): 189-190. Web. 2/8/2015.
- Mayo Clinic Staff. “Hemorrhoids: Prevention.” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic, 6/19/2013. Web.
- Roger W. Harms, M.D. “What can I do to treat hemorrhoids during pregnancy?” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic, 11/11/2014. Web.