BY FRANK CALIENDO M.D.
Hemorrhoids can cause extreme discomfort, including itching, swelling, and pain. Unfortunately, it is common for hemorrhoid symptoms to flare up during pregnancy. At Colon & Rectal Surgical Specialists Of New York, we offer non-surgical hemorrhoid treatment so you can feel more comfortable and enjoy your pregnancy.
Headquartered in Garden City, NY, with six locations in Long Island and Queens, our doctors offer compassionate care. Read on to learn more about pregnancy and hemorrhoids.
What Are Hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in the rectum, resulting in a number of uncomfortable symptoms. If you experience inflammation, itching, or discomfort around the anus, or bleeding, you may have hemorrhoids.
Causes of Hemorrhoids during Pregnancy
Hemorrhoids can develop at any point during pregnancy, but they are most common in the third trimester. There are a few reasons why hemorrhoids are common in pregnant women:
- Women experience increased blood flow to the pubic area to support the baby. This can cause the rectal veins to swell.
- Around week 25, the uterus begins to put pressure on the rectal veins, causing them to bulge.
- Constipation or straining when going to the bathroom can contribute to or worsen hemorrhoids.
In addition, pushing during labor can cause hemorrhoids.
Your Non-surgical Treatment Options
There are many non-surgical ways to treat hemorrhoids.
It is important to stay regular to prevent or treat hemorrhoids. Make sure to stay hydrated by drinking at least eight cups of water each day. In addition, eat plenty of fiber, which is good for you and your baby. Fruits, vegetables, and healthy cereals are a good source of fiber.
You may also want to talk to a doctor about taking a fiber supplement or stool softener to help you stay more regular.
Avoid Sitting or Standing for Prolonged Periods of Time
Sitting or standing for a long period of time puts pressure on your rectal veins. Try to move around every 20 minutes or so to relieve this pressure.
Take a Warm Sitz Bath
Fill a bath with a few inches of warm water, and sit in it for about 20 minutes. Do this once or twice per day when you are experiencing hemorrhoid symptoms. Ideally, patients should take a sitz bath after a bowel movement.
Sitting in warm water can encourage blood flow to the area, helping the veins to heal quicker. It can also soothe and relieve pain, swelling, and itching.
Use Topical Creams
If you are still experiencing discomfort from your hemorrhoids after trying all of these treatment options, ask your doctor about prescribing a topical cream. A topical hemorrhoid cream can reduce itching, burning, pain, and other hemorrhoids symptoms.
There are also over-the-counter options available, but these have lower concentrations of hydrocortisone. Always talk to your doctor before using any of these products to make sure they are safe during pregnancy.
Contact Our Practice
If you are experiencing significant hemorrhoid symptoms during or after pregnancy, contact our practice to schedule an appointment at one of our locations in Long Island or Queens. We can perform an exam and recommend appropriate treatment so you can get relief from your hemorrhoid symptoms.