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Hemorrhoids during Pregnancy


Hemorrhoids are also known as piles and many pregnant women get affected by these mostly during the third final trimester. The condition is common in women suffering from constipation. Hemorrhoids are swollen or varicose veins appearing in the rectal area. Sometimes, these veins may tend to protrude from the anus. Generally, these swollen veins become very painful and itchy. In advanced stages, the veins may rupture and start to bleed, especially during bowel movements. The size of the hemorrhoids may vary from that of a raisin to that of a grape.

Causes of Hemorrhoids

There are many changes taking place in the body of a pregnant woman, with enlarged tummy and uterus. These put strain and pressure on the veins in the pelvic area and the large vein or the inferior vena cava. This vein is placed on body’s right side and gets blood from the lower limbs. Due to the pressure on this vein, blood return from the lower part of the body is slowed down, resulting in increased pressure on the veins lying below the uterus. This causes in their getting swollen or dilated. The main causes of hemorrhoids during pregnancy are constipation, strain during bowel movements, excess weight strain and the pressures of standing or sitting for longer periods.

The pregnancy hormones tend to relax the walls of the veins. This results in the swelling of veins. Straining one during bowel movements, especially in a constipated state, holds extra blood in the swollen veins and leads to extreme pain. Due to straining, the hemorrhoids protrude from the rectal area. If a woman has had hemorrhoids earlier in life before pregnancy, then there is a likelihood of her having them during pregnancy. The condition worsens with straining during the labor period.

Prevention and Relief

Hemorrhoids can be prevented by taking some simple steps. A woman must make small lifestyle changes for avoiding constipation. First and foremost, drink lots of fluids. Drink as many as 8 to 10 glasses of water daily along with 1 or 2 glasses of fruit juice. Take a diet which is high and rich in fiber. The fiber must be introduced in the diet gradually, so that there is less gas formation. Regular exercise in the form of daily walks and safe physical activities for half an hour will keep the digestive system in good state. The woman must relieve her natural urges as soon as possible. Try and control the weight gain. The woman must avoid sitting or standing for longer periods.
Normally, hemorrhoids heal on their own. To relieve pain and itching, one can follow basic rules of hygiene and cleanliness, use safe hemorrhoid creams, soak rectal area in warm water for few times daily, apply cold compresses and gently push the hemorrhoids back in the rectal canal.