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Hemorrhoids & Pregnancy

Hemorrhoids & Pregnancy

Hemorrhoids, also known as piles, are veins within the lowest part of the anus and rectum that become inflamed or swollen. When the walls of blood vessels stretch too much, these veins can bulge and become irritated, especially during and after a bowel movement. Hemorrhoids are a common medical condition more likely to develop in pregnant women.

Hemorrhoids from pregnancy can be uncomfortable and cause symptoms, including pain, swelling, soiling, bleeding, prolapse, inflammation and itchiness. Depending on the severity, some people may experience rectal bleeding if a bowel movement damages a hemorrhoid and breaks the lining.

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Why Pregnancy Causes Hemorrhoids

While hemorrhoids are a common condition affecting many Americans each year, they are especially common in pregnant women. It is estimated up to 50% of pregnant women develop hemorrhoids during or after pregnancy because of increased blood flow and circulation in the pelvic area, often in the third trimester, roughly around week 28 for many women.

As a baby grows, the baby and uterus increase pressure along the veins through the anus, causing inflammation and swelling. Hemorrhoids are also commonly caused by straining during a bowel movement, which is very common for women who experience regular constipation. Pregnancy hormones can negatively impact and slow the bowels throughout pregnancy, potentially leading to straining.

If a stool is dry or firm, excess straining causes pressure in the rectum and surrounding veins, making them more likely to bulge or swell. Elevated progesterone levels can cause the veins and their walls to relax, making it easier to swell. Women with a history of hemorrhoids before pregnancy are more likely to develop them during pregnancy. Postpartum hemorrhoids are more likely to develop in women who have had hemorrhoids before becoming pregnant.

Increased blood flow and circulation to the pelvic region during pregnancy result in larger blood volume, increasing a woman’s likelihood of developing hemorrhoids while pregnant. Because hemorrhoids are also common in overweight people, extra pregnancy weight increases a woman’s risk of developing hemorrhoids. While pregnant, avoid sitting or standing for extended periods of time, as these contribute to hemorrhoid development.

Anyone with hemorrhoids should limit time on the toilet because sitting on a toilet can increase rectal pressure and worsen hemorrhoidal symptoms. Only sit on the toilet if you know you need to use the bathroom.

Hemorrhoids & Pregnancy




The two main types of hemorrhoids are internal and external hemorrhoids. Internal hemorrhoids develop within the rectum in the anal lining. External hemorrhoids develop outside of the rectum, typically around the sensitive skin of the anus. Internal hemorrhoids are often less likely to cause noticeable symptoms, as there are fewer pain-sensing nerves within the rectum. Because there are many pain-sensing nerves around the anus, external hemorrhoids often cause more pronounced symptoms.




Hemorrhoids & Pregnancy

How Can You Prevent Hemorrhoids During Pregnancy?

While there are numerous effective treatments for hemorrhoids, one of the most effective things to do is to prevent hemorrhoids from developing in the first place. You may still develop hemorrhoids even if you take preventive measures. 

Fortunately, these tips and tricks can reduce the overall likelihood of developing hemorrhoids and help prevent hemorrhoids during pregnancy:

  • Follow a high-fiber diet: Following a healthy diet with many high-fiber whole foods can alleviate symptoms of hemorrhoids and may reduce the possibility of hemorrhoids developing. Because they develop and may be worsened by bowel movements, your daily diet plays a large role in the potential risk of hemorrhoids.
  • Do not wait to pass a bowel movement: If you feel the urge to pass a bowel movement, go to the bathroom as soon as you can. Holding a bowel movement in, especially with active hemorrhoids, can worsen constipation and hemorrhoidal symptoms. The stool may dry or harden when you hold a bowel movement in, making it harder to pass and adding more strain to the rectum.
  • Drink plenty of water: Proper hydration is important for a healthy lifestyle. Drinking enough water each day can also prevent your stool from being too dry or hardening, reducing the likelihood of straining or discomfort. While most people are familiar with drinking eight glasses of water a day, pregnant women often require more to produce amniotic fluid and blood for the baby.
  • Exercise regularly: Regular exercise is essential for a healthy and active lifestyle. Routine exercise can help manage existing hemorrhoids and reduce the severity of symptoms. It can also help prevent additional hemorrhoids from developing. Ask your physician for recommendations on safe workouts to perform while pregnant. Many pregnant women find walking or light stretching to be great ways to stay moving while pregnant.
  • Do not sit for too long: While many pregnant women may need to sit periodically at work or while performing daily activities, sitting too long, especially on a firm or hard surface, may increase the risk of developing hemorrhoids. While sitting, excess pressure is placed on the buttocks, flattening the gluteal muscles. As a result, small veins around the rectum stretch and lose elasticity, making them more likely to become hemorrhoids.

Pregnancy-Safe Hemorrhoid Relief

Many pregnancy-safe hemorrhoid treatments are available to expecting mothers with hemorrhoids. In most cases, a physician will recommend nonsurgical treatment modalities to see if your hemorrhoids improve. Most physicians recommend waiting until after giving birth before considering hemorrhoid banding or hemorrhoid surgery.


For less severe hemorrhoids, some women may experience relief with lifestyle changes and home remedies. Others may require over-the-counter treatments such as creams, wipes and ointments for more persistent hemorrhoids to alleviate uncomfortable symptoms.

Hemorrhoids & Pregnancy

Hemorrhoid Home Remedies

Many items at groceries stores or pharmacies may alleviate various hemorrhoid symptoms, including:

  • Sitz baths: Sitz baths are a shallow bath that fits over your toilet’s rim, allowing you to soak in warm water to relax the muscles surrounding the rectal area and improve blood flow. You should only use warm water with a sitz bath and avoid excessively hot water, as this can damage the rectum and hemorrhoids. Soak in warm water per package instructions or your doctor’s guidance to improve various hemorrhoidal symptoms.
  • Coconut oil: Coconut oil is an effective hemorrhoid treatment you can apply at home that naturally moisturizes chapped, irritated skin to alleviate discomfort and other hemorrhoidal symptoms. Coconut oil may also help reduce the overall inflammation and the sensation of itchiness. When selecting coconut oil, opt for organic virgin coconut oil to minimize the risk of irritation.
  • Apple cider vinegar: Unfiltered, unpasteurized apple cider vinegar is a versatile at-home remedy to reduce swelling and inflammation related to hemorrhoids. Apple cider vinegar helps relieve various hemorrhoid symptoms, including pain, swelling and itchiness. Use a sterile cotton swab or ball to apply apple cider vinegar to a hemorrhoid.
  • Epsom salts: Epsom salts are magnesium sulfate, a compound that can naturally achieve muscle relaxation. Add Epsom salt to a regular bath or sitz bath to improve hemorrhoidal symptoms. You can also apply Epsom salt to a compress and apply the compress to the affected area to decrease overall inflammation and irritation.
  • Cold or hot compresses: For more persistent hemorrhoids, patients may find relief from applying hot or cold compresses to the anus at alternating intervals, helping achieve comfort or relief from pain. A cold compress or an ice pack wrapped in a cloth can reduce swelling and pain but should not be applied for longer than 10 minutes. Following a cold compress, you can apply a warm compress for additional relief.
  • Witch hazel: Witch hazel is a natural astringent that may help alleviate discomfort for a few hours. It cannot treat the cause of hemorrhoids but can help you achieve temporary relief from uncomfortable symptoms.
  • Aloe vera: Aloe vera is an excellent at-home remedy for hemorrhoids that can improve the severity of numerous hemorrhoidal symptoms. Aloe vera gel can promote the repair of damaged skin while reducing overall inflammation. 


Over-the-Counter Hemorrhoid Treatments

For more persistent hemorrhoids, you may need over-the-counter hemorrhoid treatments to provide more relief, including:

  • Creams: If your doctor approves, you can use hemorrhoid cream while pregnant, which often contains numbing agents to relieve pain, discomfort and irritation caused by hemorrhoids. Numbing agents can also ease itching and burning sensations. Before selecting an over-the-counter hemorrhoid cream, ask your physician for recommendations and ensure the cream you choose is safe for pregnant women.
  • Wipes: Hemorrhoid wipes can provide extra relief from persistent hemorrhoidal symptoms. Use a hemorrhoid wipe to clean the anus before applying a hemorrhoid cream. Many hemorrhoid wipes also contain light numbing agents and soothing ingredients, such as aloe vera.
  • Suppositories: Consider using a hemorrhoid suppository while pregnant, which is often recommended for internal hemorrhoids. A suppository can effectively administer medication to the rectal tissue to improve pain and discomfort from hemorrhoids. Check with your physician to find a suppository recommended for pregnant women.

Treatment for Hemorrhoids During Pregnancy

If over-the-counter medications and at-home remedies do not improve your symptoms, you may need a professional hemorrhoid treatment. In most cases, your physician will recommend postponing any minimally invasive or surgical hemorrhoid treatments. After delivering your baby, you will be eligible for medical hemorrhoid treatments. One of the most effective and minimally invasive hemorrhoid treatments is hemorrhoid banding.

Hemorrhoid Banding

Hemorrhoid banding using the CRH O’Regan System can provide lasting relief from pregnancy hemorrhoids. During a hemorrhoid banding treatment using the CRH O’Regan System, a physician places a rubber band around a hemorrhoid’s base, ensuring the band does not come into contact with nerve endings to eliminate post-procedure discomfort.

The rubber band cuts off the blood supply from the hemorrhoid. Within a few days, the hemorrhoid will shrink and fall off, often during a bowel movement. The entire process is painless, meaning many patients may not even notice the hemorrhoid fall off until they see it in the toilet. Another benefit of hemorrhoid banding with The CRH O’Regan System is there is no need for extensive preparation before the procedure.

Traditional treatments may require fasting or bowel clearing, but this is not necessary with the CRH O’Regan System. This treatment is nonsurgical, so there is no need for an extensive recovery period, allowing patients to return to their daily activities immediately. On the day of your hemorrhoid banding procedure, you will need to avoid heavy lifting and activities that cause excess pressure on the rectal area. 

If your job or daily activities require heavy lifting, you will most likely be able to continue these activities the day after your procedure. Your physician can help determine specific instructions you need to follow after treatment. Hemorrhoid banding with the CRH O’Regan System treats one hemorrhoid at a time. The entire procedure typically only takes one minute.

 The first step to relief would be to consult a CRH banding specialist in your area

Postpartum Hemorrhoids

While many women develop hemorrhoids during pregnancy, postpartum hemorrhoids are also common. Post-pregnancy hemorrhoids often develop after giving birth because of the strain and pressure placed on the rectal area after delivering a baby. During delivery, women undergo significant stress to the pubic region.

In addition to delivery, many women also experience constipation or other related health conditions that increase the likelihood of developing hemorrhoids. Even if a woman does not have constipation or undergoes a cesarean section, the additional weight of the baby on the pelvis and abdomen can be enough to cause pressure on the rectal veins. It is estimated approximately 25% to 35% of women will develop postpartum hemorrhoids.

The majority of women are eligible for hemorrhoid banding following childbirth. Hemorrhoid banding can alleviate the uncomfortable symptoms of a hemorrhoid and creates a small scar where the hemorrhoid falls off, preventing another hemorrhoid from developing in the same spot.

Most patients need three banding sessions to alleviate symptoms caused by hemorrhoids (because everyone naturally has 3 hemorrhoids). In each session, one band will be placed to reduce the blood flow to the hemorrhoid slowly. Following the third hemorrhoid banding session, the blood flow will be cut off to all hemorrhoids, helping alleviate symptoms.

Achieve Lasting Relief From Hemorrhoids

The CRH O’Regan System is a nonsurgical hemorrhoid treatment that is effective, painless and quick. Hemorrhoid banding typically takes just one minute to perform, allowing you to quickly return to your daily activities while alleviating uncomfortable or painful symptoms. Hemorrhoid banding with the CRH O’Regan System is also covered by Medicare and most insurance plans. 

Find a physician near you that performs the CRH O’Regan hemorrhoid banding procedure to learn more about hemorrhoid treatment after pregnancy.