Hemorrhoids are a common problem for pregnant women. Hormonal changes and the significant pressure exerted on the veins affect the perineum and the entire pelvic region. With the Elia team and the help of our community of healthcare professionals, we're going to discuss the causes, symptoms, effective treatments and preventive measures against hemorrhoids.
What are pregnancy hemorrhoids?
Pregnancy hemorrhoids are simply swollen and inflamed veins in the anal and rectal area that occur during the pregnancy period. They can be internal, external or a combination of both. Many women suffer from painful hemorrhoidal attacks during pregnancy, and around 20% of women will have attacks after giving birth.
Why do hemorrhoids appear during pregnancy?
Several factors contribute to the appearance of hemorrhoids during pregnancy. The main causes are
- Hormonal changes: estrogen-induced relaxation of hemorrhoidal tissue is significant. Indeed, during pregnancy, the body produces additional hormones that have an impact on blood circulation. This can lead to dilation of the veins and encourage the formation of hemorrhoids.
- Changes in vein pressure and venous return: the more the uterus expands to accommodate the fetus, the more pressure it exerts on the veins in the pelvic region. This can slow blood flow and lead to a build-up of blood in the rectal veins, promoting the formation of inflamed hemorrhoids.
- Constipation, which occurs as a result of reduced intestinal activity and requires extra effort on the part of the mother during defecation.
At the end of pregnancy
In late pregnancy, hemorrhoids can be more frequent and more troublesome , due to the increased pressure exerted on the veins by the baby's weight. During childbirth , the effort of pushing and expelling the baby can also aggravate symptoms and encourage the appearance of hemorrhoids following childbirth.
What are the symptoms of hemorrhoids?
There are several common symptoms of hemorrhoids during pregnancy such as:
- Pain during bowel movements and when ssitting down
- Sensations of heaviness and heatin the anus l
- Itching or discomfort in the anal region
- Sensation of constant pressure, false need, or fullness in the anus
- Protrusion of tissue from the anus (in the case of external hemorrhoids), a prolapse. Blood vessels protrude from the anus. It can be repositioned by pregnant women or operated on after pregnancy.
- Rectorrhagia , which is a discharge of blood in the stool, on the toilet bowl or on toilet paper.
- Rectal mucus discharge
If you experience any of these symptoms, it's important to consult your doctor, gynecologist or midwife to establish an accurate diagnosis and an appropriate treatment plan.
What types of hemorrhoids occur during pregnancy?
During pregnancy, you may experience various types of hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoids can come in fits and starts, or they can be chronic and s'set in for the duration of the pregnancy. They can be very debilitating for the mother, but pose no danger to the baby.
Internal hemorrhoids form inside the rectum, in the submucosa of the anal canal . They are generally invisible to the naked eye and painless. However, they can be very sensitive to gas and cause bleeding during bowel movements. Ifhemorrhoids prolapse, i.e. protrude from the anus, they may be accompanied by pain and discomfort.
External hemorrhoids form under the skin around the anus and are visible. They can be painful and itchy. They are a daily nuisance for the mother, but quickly reabsorb on their own, leaving a small growth called a mariscus on the skin.
Hemorrhoids after childbirth
It's also possible to develop hemorrhoids after childbirth, due to the physical exertion undergone during labor and the pressure exerted during pushing, especially when labor is long, difficult and involves mechanical intervention with the aid of forceps or suction cups.
What is hemorrhoidal thrombosis?
Hemorrhoidal thrombosis is a complication of external hemorrhoids in which a blood clot forms in the inflamed vein. This causes intense pain, swelling and inflammation in the anal region. Hemorrhoidal thrombosis often requires medical intervention to relieve symptoms and resolve the clot. Internal hemorrhoidal thrombosis is rarer and requires a longer recovery period.
How can pregnancy hemorrhoids be effectively treated?
As soon as a mother-to-be observes any of the symptoms of hemorrhoids, she should consult her doctor, gynecologist or midwife as soon as possible. There are several treatment options to relieve them during pregnancy.
These solutions are not treatments, but habits and recommendations to reduce pain until the hemorrhoids go away on their own.
- Maintain good hygiene : Gently cleanse the anal area after each bowel movement using soft toilet paper or wet wipes that are as natural and unscented as possible.
- Apply cold compresses: use cold compresses or ice cubes wrapped in a clean cloth to reduce inflammation and relieve pain.
- Sit in a tub of warm water for 10 to 15 minutes several times a day to soothe hemorrhoids.
During pregnancy, it is important to take a treatment validated by a health professional. LDo not self-medicate. There are methods
- LThe use of laxatives, such as glycerine suppositories, will facilitate the passage of stool without exerting pressure on already weakened veins.
- Topical creams containing ingredients such as witch hazel or aloe vera can help relieve hemorrhoid symptoms. Be sure to choose products suitable for pregnant women.
- Suppositories containing soothing ingredients can be inserted into the rectum to relieve itching, inflammation and pain.
- A surgical procedure called Hemorrhoidectomy or Hemorrhoidopexy , performed in severe cases where other treatments are not effective, may be necessary to remove hemorrhoids. This procedure is performed after pregnancy. Hemorrhoids generally disappear 6 months after ldelivery.
How can I prevent hemorrhoids during pregnancy?
Although it is not always possible to completely prevent the appearance of hemorrhoids during pregnancy, certain measures can help reduce the risk or alleviate symptoms:
- Maintain a balanced diet rich in fiber to avoid constipation (prunes, legumes, whole grains, fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, dried fruits);
- Drink enough water to maintain hydration and promote loose stools . It is recommended to drink between 1.5l and 2l of water a day;
- Avoid sitting or standing for long periods, exercise regularly and take breaks to walk;
- Don' t hold back when you feel the urge to have a bowel movement. Go to the toilet regularly when you get up or after each meal. Avoid pushing yourself, and use a footstool or stool to facilitate bowel movements. It's a good idea to keep your knees higher than your hips, and your forearms resting on your thighs;
- Avoid aggressive wiping after bowel movements; use soft toilet paper or wet wipes instead;
- Take part in physical activity adapted to pregnancy: 30 minutes of walking or swimming a day improves blood circulation, bowel movements and digestion.
Hemorrhoids during pregnancy can beuncomfortable, but they are generally benign and can be effectively treated. By adopting good habits, you can relieve symptoms and minimize complications. Don't hesitate to consult your doctor for a precise diagnosis and advice tailored to your situation.
Pregnancy hemorrhoids FAQ
Which haemorrhoid cream is recommended for pregnant women?
We recommend using topical creams containing natural ingredients such as witch hazel or aloe, specially formulated for pregnant women. Be sure to consult your doctor or pharmacist before using any product to ensure it is suitable for pregnancy.
Do hemorrhoids disappear after pregnancy?
In many cases, hemorrhoids that develop during pregnancy regress after delivery. Sometimes they take up to 6 months to resolve after pregnancy. However, appropriate treatment may be necessary to relieve symptoms and promote healing. Always consult a healthcare professional to establish a diagnosis and set up a healing protocol.