Although hemorrhoids can strike at any time, pregnancy increases the chances of developing them. Increased blood volume, hormonal changes, and increased abdominal pressure are key factors in the heightened risk for hemorrhoids during pregnancy.
At Colorado Colon & Rectal Specialists in Parker, Colorado, Lisa Perryman, MD, diagnoses and treats a full range of conditions that affect the colon and rectum, including hemorrhoids. Our team takes the utmost care to help patients who are pregnant manage and prevent issues like hemorrhoids.
Hemorrhoids and pregnancy
Hemorrhoids are very common during pregnancy. About half of pregnant women can expect to develop them.
Hemorrhoids are enlarged and swollen tissue inside or outside the anus. There are two types: those that develop internally and those that arise externally. When located outside of your body, hemorrhoids can resemble a swollen lump.
Hemorrhoids are more likely to develop in the third trimester, as well as during labor and immediately following delivery. You might only develop hemorrhoids during pregnancy, or they may appear at other points in your life.
Internal hemorrhoids develop in the rectum. They can be more difficult to diagnose because they’re hidden. Some internal hemorrhoids can prolapse, which means they expand past the anus.
Internal hemorrhoids normally don't hurt. This is due to the fact that they are situated in an area without nerve endings. However, a prolapsed internal hemorrhoid can be very uncomfortable and bleed.
External hemorrhoids are easier to see. This skin around the outside of your rectum is particularly sensitive and prone to inflammation. If an external hemorrhoid swells or forms a blood clot, it may ache.
Some signs and symptoms of hemorrhoids include:
The symptoms you experience depend on whether the hemorrhoids are internal or external. Pregnant women should talk to a doctor if hemorrhoids become unpleasant or impact their daily life.
Your uterus grows larger and starts to press on your pelvis as your baby grows and develops. The blood vessels close to your anus and rectum are under a lot of pressure from this growth, which can cause hemorrhoids.
A rise in the hormone progesterone during pregnancy, which relaxes the walls of your veins and makes them more prone to swelling, also plays a role in hemorrhoids. Another issue is prolonged sitting and straining when you go to the restroom.
Typically, hemorrhoids occur in pregnant women who are constipated, so preventing constipation during pregnancy may help lower the risk of developing hemorrhoids. The expanding uterus pressing against the bowel during pregnancy may be one reason for constipation. It's worthwhile to discuss how to prevent constipation with Dr. Perryman.
Most hemorrhoids that develop during pregnancy get better after the baby is born or within the first year after birth. To ease discomfort, try to limit standing or sitting for a long time. Drink plenty of water and eat a fiber-rich diet to prevent constipation.
Be sure to check with your Dr. Perryman if your symptoms worsen or you have excessive bleeding from hemorrhoids.
Along with these tips, give us a call or book an appointment online if you’re struggling with hemorrhoids to schedule a visit with Dr. Perryman.