What is the relationship between hemorrhoids and pregnancy?

Hemorrhoids are an uncomfortable and painful disease that occurs most often during pregnancy. They are also known as piles and correspond to a dilation of the veins in the rectal area.

Some women only develop hemorrhoids during pregnancy, while others have this problem at other times in life as well. In any case, it is more common for this to occur during pregnancy: it is estimated that up to 50% of pregnant women suffer from them.

The usual thing is that hemorrhoids develop from the second trimester of pregnancy. They also usually appear during and after childbirth. Although they do not put the pregnancy at risk, they do cause a lot of discomfort that, anyway, can be prevented and treated.

What are hemorrhoids?

The blood vessels in the rectal area become inflamed and painful and itchy.

Hemorrhoids are blood vessels swollen that are located in the rectal area. They look like swollen pads in the anus or lower rectum. Such pads contain many veins and arteries.

These inflammations have very varied sizes. They usually cause pain and itching, which is usually increased during bowel movements. Hemorrhoids tend to bleed so they can cause nervousness in a pregnant woman.

Sometimes they cause pain and discomfort to sit or walk. It may even be difficult to find a comfortable position to sleep. Hemorrhoids can be of two types, as we will see below.


Hemorrhoids can be internal or external. The first appear inside the anus, in the area where the rectum begins. If they are very large, they can come out through the anus, which is called "prolapsed" or "prolapsed hemorrhoids."

Unless prolapsed, these types of hemorrhoids are usually less painful than external ones, but they tend to bleed more. For its part, external hemorrhoids arise outside the anus and are generally more painful and bothersome.

External hemorrhoids they look like painful lumps around the anus and cause great discomfort to sit up. They can also bleed or become even more painful if stressed.

You might also be interested in: 6 home and natural remedies against hemorrhoids

What Causes Hemorrhoids During Pregnancy?

There are several factors that influence hemorrhoids to appear during pregnancy. First, the growth of the fetus causes the uterus enlarges and this, in turn, puts more pressure on the blood vessels that are in the anus and rectum.

On the other hand, the increase in the hormone progesterone during pregnancy can also influence. This leads to vein walls are more relaxed and therefore more likely to become inflamed.

In addition, it is estimated that up to 38% of pregnant women suffer from constipation. This is due to the growth of the uterus putting pressure on the intestine and sometimes from the consumption of iron supplements. In turn, pregnancy hormones slow down the intestinal transit.

All together leads to the stool becoming harder and more pressure is applied to eliminate them. over the rectal veins. This leads to inflammation. The most common is that women who have had this problem before pregnancy, also develop it during it.

Available treatments

Sometimes hemorrhoids go away on their own after pregnancy and delivery, without any treatment. Nevertheless, It is not a good idea to leave them untreated, as they can worsen and affect the quality of life significantly or cause major complications.

The usual thing is that you go to home treatments first, since these are usually effective in most cases. If there is no improvement, it is indicated to go to the doctor to start a more formal treatment. How to treat hemorrhoids during pregnancy? Let's see.

At home

Some of the home remedies that may help reduce inflammation and relieve symptoms include the following:

  • Not sitting or standing for a long time. It is best to walk for a short time, on average every hour.
  • Exercise. A 30-minute set of exercises a day is very convenient to get your circulation going.
  • Use a pillow or a circular cushion to sit on.
  • Warm bath. A warm sitz bath several times a day helps relieve pain.
  • Cold compresses. Cold or ice packs applied to the area help reduce inflammation and pain.
  • Using wet wipes. They are preferable to toilet paper. Better if they come with witch hazel. In any case, they should not contain perfume or alcohol.
  • Lying on the left side. This position is best for sleeping and can be adopted several times a day to ease discomfort.
  • Kegel exercises. Not only do they help prepare for childbirth, but they also help relieve hemorrhoids.

In medical consultation

It is always advisable to consult the doctor when there is bleeding during pregnancy, even if you have the apparent certainty that it originates from hemorrhoids. If so, however, the doctor can help in managing them.

The usual thing is that the doctor prescribes a laxative or some suppositories to treat constipation. He may also prescribe pain medication, as well as a cream that relieves symptoms and is not risky for pregnancy.

Similarly, the doctor may prescribe one of the following treatments:

  • Elastic band ligation. A rubber band is placed around the base of the hemorrhoids. This stops blood flow and in about 10 to 12 days, the lump falls off. Instead, a scar remains that prevents the problem from reappearing in the same place.
  • Sclerotherapy. It consists of injecting a chemical substance into the piles. It helps it shrink and heal, but it may reappear after a while.
  • Hemorrhoidectomy. It is a surgical procedure to remove hemorrhoids. Due to the risks involved, it is only recommended for very severe cases or those in which there are complications.
  • Stapling hemorrhoidopexy. Surgical staples are implanted to reposition hemorrhoids into the anus when they prolapse.

How can it be prevented?

A diet rich in fiber and drinking plenty of water helps prevent hemorrhoids.

The ideal is to prevent hemorrhoids, rather than treating them. The best way to do this is by avoiding constipation. To achieve this, it is important to drink a lot of water and maintain a diet rich in fiber. If necessary, go for a fiber supplement.

A stable feeding schedule should be maintained, avoid flatulent and astringent foods, chew food well and exercise frequently. Other suitable measures are the following:

  • Avoid using the bicycle.
  • Perform Kegel exercises frequently.
  • Don't wait to go to the bathroom when you feel the need to have a bowel movement.
  • Do not sit on the toilet for a long time.
  • Not straining when defecating.
  • Avoid the consumption of iron supplements.
  • Lie on your side to sleep, read, or watch TV.
  • Take care of the weight.

Final Recommendations

It is very important to consult with the doctor if the hemorrhoids take a bluish tone or symptoms worsen to the point of making daily activities difficult. Also when there is a very voluminous bleeding.

In any case, it is necessary to ask the doctor about home treatments, before starting them. Early treatment is essential, since if the hemorrhoids are allowed to advance they can cause many complications. Prevention measures should be maintained after delivery.