Pregnancy Hemorrhoids: What You Need to Know

2022-06-01 02:37:10 By : Ms. OEM Company

Heather M. Jones is a freelance writer with a focus on health, parenting, disability, and feminism. 

Hemorrhoids occur when vascular tissue in the anus or rectum becomes swollen and irritated. Hemorrhoids can be internal (inside the anus or lower rectum) or external (under the skin around the anus). They are not usually serious, but they can cause itching, pain, and bleeding.

Hemorrhoids affect up to 40% of pregnant people. Typically, symptoms are managed during pregnancy, and the hemorrhoids clear up after delivery.

Read on to learn why hemorrhoids are common in pregnancy and how to treat them.

Symptoms of hemorrhoids depend on their location. They are usually most noticeable in the third trimester.

External hemorrhoids are located under the skin around the anus. Symptoms can include:

While cleaning the area is important, rubbing or excessive cleaning can make symptoms of external hemorrhoids worse.

Symptoms from minor external hemorrhoids tend to ease within a few days.

External hemorrhoids, and less often internal hemorrhoids, can become thrombosed. A thrombosed hemorrhoid occurs when a blood clot forms inside the hemorrhoid. This blocks blood flow, causing a sudden and severe swelling. The swelling is painful and often causes a lump that may be bluish in color.

Thrombosed hemorrhoids tend not to respond well to topical treatment, but the pain and swelling usually peak at 48 hours and resolve after four days.

Internal hemorrhoids are located inside the anus.

The main symptom of internal hemorrhoids is bright-red blood on the stool (typically coating the outside), on toilet paper, or in the toilet bowl after a bowel movement. It is usually a small amount of blood, but can look like more when mixed with toilet water.

Minor internal hemorrhoids are usually painless, but ones that are prolapsed may be painful or uncomfortable. A prolapsed hemorrhoid is when the hemorrhoid comes down through the anal opening.

Other symptoms of hemorrhoids may include:

Pregnancy increases the chances of developing hemorrhoids for a number of reasons, including:

Having a vaginal birth can also contribute to hemorrhoids due to straining during labor and delivery.

Usually, hemorrhoids that occur during pregnancy gradually resolve after giving birth. Treatment during pregnancy typically focuses on symptom relief rather than cure.

Fiber supplements and stool softeners are generally safe for pregnant people and can help with constipating and straining during a bowel movement.

Topical (on the skin) and oral medications lack strong evidence of safety and efficacy in pregnancy, but a short course of topical medications may be recommended under the guidance of a healthcare provider.

Home remedies are the most common treatment for hemorrhoids during pregnancy.

Things you can try to relieve hemorrhoid symptoms include:

Using lubricating jelly, gently push the hemorrhoid(s) back inside the anus. If they don't go back in easily, see your healthcare provider. Don't force it.

While removal of hemorrhoids is rare, removal of a thrombosis is more common.

Thromboses are commonly removed in-office using local anesthetic, and are considered low risk to the pregnant person and fetus. Typically, patients requiring this procedure are referred to a specialist, such as a colorectal or general surgeon, to perform.

If necessary, in-office procedures can shrink hemorrhoids by creating scar tissue and cutting off blood supply to the hemorrhoids. These procedures can include:

Never attempt these procedures yourself.

Surgery during pregnancy and in the immediate postpartum period is uncommon and used only if the hemorrhoids are severe and other treatments have not worked.

Surgery for hemorrhoids is usually done as an outpatient procedure in the hospital under anesthesia . Surgical options include:

To help manage hemorrhoids during pregnancy:

Ways to prevent the development or worsening of hemorrhoids are similar to the measures used to treat them, including:

See your healthcare provider if:

Seek medical help right away if:

Hemorrhoids are common during pregnancy. They are usually minor and resolve after birth. They can cause pain or itching in the anal area or rectal bleeding.

Hemorrhoids during pregnancy are typically treated with home treatments, such as by preventing constipation, using ice packs, and soaking in sitz baths. Occasionally, medical procedures or surgery may be performed in more serious cases.

If you are experiencing hemorrhoids during pregnancy, don't worry. They are common and will most likely resolve on their own after you give birth. If your hemorrhoids are causing you concern or discomfort, speak with your healthcare provider about treatment options.

Hemorrhoids are generally most noticeable in the third trimester. They tend to get worse right after delivery, then gradually get better during the postpartum period.

External hemorrhoids look like swollen lumps under the skin around the anus. They may be bluish in color. Internal hemorrhoids aren't seen on the outside unless they prolapse (slip down and out of the anus).

Sign up for our Health Tip of the Day newsletter, and receive daily tips that will help you live your healthiest life.

Thank you, {{}}, for signing up.

There was an error. Please try again.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health. Body changes and discomforts.

Hollingshead JRF, Phillips RKS. Haemorrhoids: modern diagnosis and treatment. Postgraduate Medical Journal. 2016;92(1083):4-8. doi:10.1136/postgradmedj-2015-133328

Sanchez C, Chinn BT. Hemorrhoids. Clin Colon Rectal Surg. 2011;24(1):5-13. doi:10.1055/s-0031-1272818

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Symptoms & causes of hemorrhoids.

National Health Service. Piles in pregnancy.

Kestřánek J. Hemorrhoid management in women: the role of tribenoside + lidocaine. Drugs in Context. 2019;8:1-7. doi:10.7573/dic.212602

Lohsiriwat V. Treatment of hemorrhoids: A coloproctologist's view. World J Gastroenterol. 2015;21(31):9245-9252. doi:10.3748/wjg.v21.i31.9245

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. What can I do for hemorrhoids during pregnancy?.

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Treatment of hemorrhoids.

Higuero T, Abramowitz L, Castinel A, et al. Guidelines for the treatment of hemorrhoids (short report). Journal of Visceral Surgery. 2016;153(3):213-218. doi:10.1016/j.jviscsurg.2016.03.004

Thank you, {{}}, for signing up.

There was an error. Please try again.