From the team at the Rivas Digestive Center in Hollywood, Florida, congratulations on your pregnancy! We know that while pregnancy is a beautiful experience, it can also bring uncomfortable physical challenges—including hemorrhoids.
Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in your anus and rectum that can lead to uncomfortable symptoms, like pain, itching, bleeding, burning, and more. When you’re pregnant, your growing uterus puts added pressure on the veins in your pelvic area, making hemorrhoids more likely.
Increased blood volume and hormonal changes that trigger constipation can also contribute to hemorrhoids during pregnancy. The good news is that you can take proactive steps to ease the discomfort of pregnancy-related hemorrhoids.
Triple board-certified gastroenterologist John M. Rivas, MD, specializes in helping patients manage frustrating hemorrhoids. Keep reading to learn some of our top strategies for finding relief from hemorrhoids during your pregnancy.
1. Focus on good hygiene
When you’re pregnant, it’s especially important to prevent infection. You can do this by keeping your anal area clean and taking steps to stop further irritation.
Use gentle, unscented wipes or moistened toilet paper to clean the area after every bowel movement. And be sure to stay away from harsh soaps or wipes containing fragrances or alcohol, as these can trigger irritation.
2. Practice healthy bowel habits
Constipation can worsen hemorrhoids, and the hormonal and physical changes associated with pregnancy can slow your digestive process and increase your risk of this common condition. Work to prevent it by practicing healthy bowel habits.
Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and consuming a fiber-rich diet consisting of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. Regular exercise, such as walking or prenatal yoga, can also help promote regular bowel movements.
3. Try a warm (sitz) bath
A warm sitz bath can provide soothing relief for hemorrhoids during pregnancy. Fill a tub or basin with 2-3 inches warm water and sit in it for about 15 minutes, several times a day. The warm water reduces inflammation and promotes blood flow to the affected area, helping you heal.
4. Test out topical treatments
Topical therapies can go a long way in easing your hemorrhoids. If pregnancy-related hemorrhoids are affecting your quality of life, test them out and see which ones work best for you. Be sure to consult with your OB/GYN or a GI specialist before using any medication during pregnancy.
There are different over-the-counter creams, ointments, and medicated pads that can help alleviate the symptoms of hemorrhoids. You can also use all-natural witch hazel to help reduce inflammation and ease itching.
5. Get personalized help from a specialist
If the home remedies and over-the-counter treatment don’t give you the relief you need, or if your hemorrhoids become severe, it’s time to talk to a GI specialist for personalized help. During pregnancy, it’s essential to work closely with your healthcare team to ensure the best care possible for you and your baby.
Dr. Rivas assesses your condition and makes treatment recommendations tailored to your unique needs. With a thorough evaluation, Dr. Rivas diagnoses any underlying conditions that might affect the development of hemorrhoids and creates a personalized hemorrhoid treatment plan that may include:
- Prescription-strength topical treatments
- Stool softeners to ease constipation
- Suppositories to address itching or discomfort
- Minimally invasive procedures to destroy or remove hemorrhoids
If you’re pregnant and struggling with hemorrhoids, get the personalized help you need by scheduling an appointment online or over the phone at the Rivas Digestive Center in Hollywood, Florida.