Does Pregnancy Increase Hemorrhoids?
There are many different potential causes of hemorrhoids, and pregnancy does increase the risk of this condition significantly. Not all pregnant women will develop hemorrhoids, but a significant number do, so it is important that you can recognize the symptoms and know what to do if they do occur. If you would like to discuss the risks of hemorrhoids during pregnancy, then you can book an appointment with your local Los Angeles colorectal surgeon to find out more.
Hemorrhoids, which may also be called piles, develop during pregnancy because the growing fetus places additional pressure on the rectum and anus. This pressure causes the veins to swell and leads to the onset of hemorrhoids. However, there are a number of steps you can take to reduce the risk of developing this problem, and it would be advisable to start following these as soon as you know that you are pregnant. This will mean that it becomes a habit, and you will be more likely to continue throughout the entire duration of the pregnancy.
Start by eating a diet that is rich in fiber. This will mean plenty of fruits and vegetables, preferably eating the skin of the varieties where this is an option. Fruit and vegetables also contain high levels of vitamins and antioxidants, which your body will need. These will help you to maintain your health during the pregnancy, as well as reducing the risk of you developing constipation. The straining that usually accompanies bowel movements when you are constipated will combine with the pressure from the fetus and lead to the onset of hemorrhoids. Drinking plenty of water will also help to prevent constipation, by ensuring that you remain hydrated and the stools are soft.
If you do develop hemorrhoids during your pregnancy, then some of the same techniques will also relieve the symptoms. Stick with the high fiber diet and drink plenty of water, but avoid anything containing caffeine, such as coffee, tea and cola. These will cause you to become increasingly dehydrated and will make your symptoms worse as a result.
Regular exercise will also help to prevent and relieve hemorrhoids. This is because it encourages the regular movement of material through the digestive tract, preventing the symptoms of constipation and also relieving some of the pressure. Staying in one position for too long, particularly if you are sitting down, may make the problem worse.
You may find, especially as the pregnancy progresses, that some of the hemorrhoids will begin to prolapse, or protrude outside of the anus. These should be carefully pushed back inside, using clean hands in order to prevent infection. This should stop them from developing into strangulated hemorrhoids, which will be much more painful and may need treatment from your proctologist.
Sometimes, you may find that the anal area has become itchy and inflamed. There are several over-the-counter remedies that can help to make you more comfortable, but they may not all be suitable for use in pregnancy. You should check with your doctor before you start using any of these treatments, to ensure that it will be safe for both you and the baby.