Pregnancy Problems – Haemorrhoids

Haemorrhoids are a common condition affecting around half of the population at some point in their lifetime. Simply put, haemorrhoids are dilated blood vessels in and around the lower rectum and anus.

 

 

Haemorrhoids have a number of causes, including:

  • Pregnancy

  • Labour and childbirth

  • Straining during a bowel movement

  • Going to the toilet too little or too often

  • Lifting heavy weights

  • Being obese

How to know if you have haemorrhoids 

Haemorrhoids can be present without causing any symptoms but can also cause symptoms.  Lumps around the bottom (that may prolapse), itching, bleeding, itching, aching and discomfort can all be symptoms of haemorrhoids. The symptoms may increase as time goes on if treatment is not sought.

Why pregnancy can cause haemorrhoids

Both men and women can be affected by haemorrhoids, but you’re more likely to get them when pregnant due to increased pelvic pressure as a result of your growing uterus. Constipation – a common problem during pregnancy – causes straining when on the toilet and also increases the likelihood that you will develop haemorrhoids. So too does the increase in the hormone progesterone, which is brought about by pregnancy.

How to treat haemorrhoids during pregnancy 

If you are experiencing pain and bleeing from the anus and rectum you should not ignore these symptoms because, as well as being a sign of haemorrhoids, these are also symptoms of some cancers and so should always be checked out.

 

If your GP tells you that you have haemorrhoids, it is often best to wait to treat them until after the birth. This is because haemorrhoids often may tend  settle down of their own accord after delivery, once pressure on the pelvis reduces.

What treatments are available?

There are many ways you can help prevent and ease haemorrhoids, including:

  • Eating a healthy diet of fibre rich foods such as beans, whole grains, vegetables and fruit

  • Drinking lots of water

  • Not putting off going to the toilet when you feel you need to go

  • Using a cold cloth or warm water to sooth the painful area

  • Over the counter topical treatments and simple pain killers

  • Patting rather than rubbing with toilet paper

If the preventative measures, home remedies and over the counter treatments are not working, this is the time you should probably seek help from a specialist.

You shouldn’t feel embarrassed about seeing your GP about the condition. As already explained, half of the population will experience haemorrhoids in their lifetime so it is something that all GPs are very used to seeing and treating.

 

Treatment options have improved significantly in recent years too. Whilst previously only surgery with a lengthy recovery time was an option, it is now possible to have haemorrhoids treated via a new  treatment, known as Rafaelo ™, which is carried out under local anaesthetic and can take as little as 15 minutes to complete. You can find out more information on this treatment method, here.

Mr Nick West, Consultant Colorectal Surgeon at The Private Clinic of Harley Street.

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