Pregnancy and the high risk of developing haemorrhoids

Pregnancy is a very special time for a woman but can be made unpleasant should she develop haemorrhoids. (Rawpixel pic)

Pregnancy can be one of the most joyous, magical times for a woman but it does come with some pain and discomfort.

Some even say that women who have been through pregnancy and delivery are the toughest people out there.

Less magical is the prospect that pregnant women are at high risk of developing haemorrhoids.

Why haemorrhoids occur in pregnancy

Haemorrhoids typically develop in the third trimester. A growing foetus exerts pressure on the pelvis.

The continual growth of the foetus and its surrounding tissue results in this pressure growing over time, contributing to the congestion of the venous blood vessels in the anal cushion.

The hormones related to pregnancy also play a significant role. Higher levels of oestrogen and progesterone slow the transit of food in the intestines. This predisposes pregnant women to constipation and straining, which can lead to the development of haemorrhoids.

These hormones also affect the walls of the veins, rendering them prone to swelling.

During pregnancy, women also experience an increase in blood volume, further increasing the congestion of blood vessels in the anal cushion.

Preventing piles

There are a few ways to prevent the development of haemorrhoids during pregnancy.

Increase the intake of dietary fibre and fluids. Fruit, such as pears, berries, avocado, bananas and papayas, is a great source of dietary fibre.

Adequate fluid intake ensures good stool consistency, which facilitates the defecation process. Go to the toilet as soon as the urge to defecate occurs, do not try to hold it up.

Increase the intake of dietary fibre and fluids to ensure good stool consistency. (Rawpixel pic)

Pregnant women are also advised not to sit or stand for too long. Taking a few paces from time to time encourages blood circulation.

The good news about pregnancy-induced haemorrhoids is that the problem goes away after delivery. The reduction in circulating blood volume, intra-abdominal pressure and pregnancy hormones following the birth alleviates the problem.

Other health risks of pregnancy

Apart from haemorrhoids, pregnant women are also at risk of chronic venous insufficiency (CVI). CVI occurs when there is an anomaly in the venous blood flow.

This can occur due to incompetent valves in the vein (leading to reflux of blood flow), obstruction of venous blood flow or a combination of both.

Insufficient blood flow in the veins causes a reduction of blood flow to the heart. Local symptoms include “spider veins”, where the widening of tiny blood vessels cause thread-like patterns to emerge on the skin, oedema, or excess watery fluid forming in the cavities or tissues of the body, active ulcers and changes to the skin.

Just like haemorrhoids, CVI can worsen during pregnancy and will improve after delivery.

The treatments for both conditions can be divided into three categories – lifestyle intervention, medication, and procedures (may or may not involve surgery).

Treatment for both haemorrhoids and CVI involves the use of the medication Daflon 500 mg, which provides quick absorption from the micronisation of its active particles.

According to research by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences’ Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Daflon 500 mg is highly effective and safe for short-term treatment of haemorrhoids in women who are expecting – restoring some of that magic to the pregnancy.

This article first appeared on Hello Doktor and was medically reviewed by the Hello Doktor Medical Panel. The Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.