Is it normal for haemorrhoids to appear during pregnancy?

By (embryologist) and (embryologist).
Last Update: 06/08/2023

Hemorrhoids or piles is the inflammation of the veins of the anus and lower rectum that causes the appearance of lumps in the area. Hemorrhoids can be external or internal.

This condition is among the most frequent discomforts that women may encounter during pregnancy, in addition to the usual backaches or heartburn. Hemorrhoids usually appear from the third trimester of pregnancy or after childbirth due to labor.

Some women suffer from hemorrhoids for the first time during pregnancy, as the growing uterus compresses the bowel. This leads to constipation in women and, as a result, to the development of hemorrhoids.

Why do piles appear in pregnancy?

Hemorrhoids, also popularly known as piles or pilesarise as a result of swelling of the veins found in the rectal area. This is a fairly common problem, especially if the woman suffers from constipation.

Other causes that may favor the appearance of hemorrhoids in pregnancy are the following:

  • Increase in the size of the uterus, which presses on the intestine.
  • Efforts in labor.
  • Elevation of progesterone levels in the first trimester of pregnancy. This causes the venous walls to relax and fill with blood.

Some specialists also point out that piles may have a hereditary origin or that an irritation of the area in question may have occurred.

Symptoms of hemorrhoids in pregnancy

As a consequence of this problem, the pregnant woman may experience a series of symptoms. However, the symptoms of piles in pregnant women are the same as in non-pregnant people with hemorrhoids. The most common clinical manifestations of hemorrhoids are listed below:

  • Anal itching and bleeding.
  • Presence of hard, highly sensitive lumps in the anal area.
  • Pain and burning during defecation.

It should be noted that it is advisable to consult a doctor in case of bleeding or very persistent pain so that he/she can indicate some type of treatment to relieve the pain. However, in many cases, hemorrhoids usually disappear on their own after delivery.

Is there a cure for hemorrhoids?

On numerous occasions, hemorrhoids during pregnancy arise due to constipation problems in women. Therefore, treatment for piles in pregnant women usually consists of the use of certain drugs. The specialist may advise the administration of laxatives, but also the use of creams. Sometimes, specialists recommend the insertion of a microenema in the anus, especially those composed of glycerin to facilitate defecation.

In the most severe cases of piles it is necessary to resort to surgery. However, this is not usually done in pregnant women or women who have just given birth.

Home remedies

Although there are several treatment options for hemorrhoids, the first thing that is usually applied in pregnant women are natural remedies.

One idea is to use sitz baths with warm water or hot-cold treatments in the anal area. In addition, soothing creams can be applied and comfortable cotton clothing can be worn for perspiration.

Another home tip for hemorrhoids in pregnancy is to put baking soda in the anal area. This helps to reduce burning. It is also recommended to use wet wipes to clean the area, as well as to clean it carefully.

Recommendations to prevent piles

Approximately 40% of pregnant women suffer from piles during this stage. In addition, if the mother-to-be already suffered from hemorrhoids or constipation before pregnancy, it will be difficult to prevent their appearance during pregnancy.

However, pregnant women who have not had hemorrhoids in the past can follow some tips to prevent their appearance:

  • Drink plenty of fluids.
  • Maintain a healthy and balanced diet, rich in fiber.
  • Avoid over-seasoned foods or foods that produce gas.
  • Maintain good hygiene when going to the bathroom.
  • Do not sit all the time. It is advisable to take walks from time to time and to engage in regular physical activity such as yoga.

If hemorrhoids appear after childbirth, a diet rich in fiber should be continued. Most commonly, piles are reabsorbed some time after delivery. If hemorrhoids persist for some time, it is best to consult a specialist.

FAQs from users

Is it bad to have haemorrhoids in pregnancy?

By Marta Barranquero Gómez B.Sc., M.Sc. (embryologist).

No. The presence of piles or haemorrhoids during pregnancy is quite normal and frequent, especially in the third trimester of pregnancy.

However, the discomfort caused by haemorrhoids causes discomfort to the mother-to-be. For this reason, there are several home remedies that can alleviate the symptoms of haemorrhoids during pregnancy.

Is it possible to have hemorrhoids after cesarean delivery?

By Zaira Salvador B.Sc., M.Sc. (embryologist).

It is not common, as hemorrhoids appear as a consequence of the great efforts made by the mother in a natural childbirth. The force of pushing causes dilatation of the rectal veins which protrude through the anus in the form of hemorrhoids.

Can haemorrhoids occur during pregnancy?

By Zaira Salvador B.Sc., M.Sc. (embryologist).

Yes, constipation problems can lead to painful haemorrhoids. They usually occur during the last trimester and after vaginal delivery.

They are thought to be the result of slowed venous return associated with an enlarged uterus, as well as increased pressure inside the woman's womb.

You can try to prevent their occurrence by consuming fibre in your diet, drinking plenty of fluids and exercising. Treatment to reduce swelling and inflammation is analgesic ointment, rest and cold baths. Astringent anti-hemorrhoidal creams and suppositories with hydrocortisone also help.

Suggested for you

Hemorrhoids or piles are one of the complications that can arise during pregnancy. If you are interested in learning more, then we invite you to visit this link: What are the most common pregnancy complications?

On the other hand, hemorrhoids can be prevented by following a healthy and adequate diet. Therefore, we recommend you to visit the following article: What to eat during pregnancy - How to eat a healthy diet.

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Tomas Poskus, Zivile Sabonyte-Balsaitiene, Lina Jakubauskiene, Matas Jakubauskas, Ieva Stundiene, Gabija Barkauskaite, Mante Smigelskaite, Eugenijus Jasiunas, Diana Ramasauskaite, Kestutis Strupas, Grazina Drasutiene. Preventing hemorrhoids during pregnancy: a multicenter, randomized clinical trial. BMC Pregnancy Childbirth. 2022 Apr 30;22(1):374 (View)

FAQs from users: 'Is it bad to have haemorrhoids in pregnancy?', 'Is it possible to have hemorrhoids after cesarean delivery?' and 'Can haemorrhoids occur during pregnancy?'.

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Authors and contributors

 Marta Barranquero Gómez
Marta Barranquero Gómez
B.Sc., M.Sc.
Graduated in Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences by the University of Valencia (UV) and specialized in Assisted Reproduction by the University of Alcalá de Henares (UAH) in collaboration with Ginefiv and in Clinical Genetics by the University of Alcalá de Henares (UAH). More information about Marta Barranquero Gómez
License: 3316-CV
 Zaira Salvador
Zaira Salvador
B.Sc., M.Sc.
Bachelor's Degree in Biotechnology from the Technical University of Valencia (UPV). Biotechnology Degree from the National University of Ireland en Galway (NUIG) and embryologist specializing in Assisted Reproduction, with a Master's Degree in Biotechnology of Human Reproduction from the University of Valencia (UV) and the Valencian Infertility Institute (IVI) More information about Zaira Salvador
License: 3185-CV

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