What Causes Hemorrhoids During Pregnancy?

N. Madison

Anyone can get hemorrhoids, but pregnant women are particularly prone to the condition. There are a few reasons hemorrhoids often develop during pregnancy. For example, the pressure the uterus puts on the veins during pregnancy can result in hemorrhoids, as can constipation, which may occur as the result of digestive changes or an increase in iron intake. An increase in the production of the hormone progesterone during pregnancy may also play a role in this problem, as it makes the veins more prone to swelling. The increase in the hormone progesterone may also affect the digestive process and contribute to constipation.

Hemorrhoids can be among the more uncomfortable and embarrassing complications of pregnancy.
Hemorrhoids can be among the more uncomfortable and embarrassing complications of pregnancy.

One of the reasons women frequently get hemorrhoids during pregnancy is constipation. Constipation is a common problem during pregnancy and can be brought on by changes in a pregnant woman’s diet, stress, and even consuming a high amount of iron in prenatal vitamins. Hormones may also affect the digestive and elimination processes, contributing to constipation. Pressure placed on the intestines by the expanding uterus may only make matters worse. When a woman becomes constipated, she may strain to go to the bathroom, and the straining may cause hemorrhoids.

Changes in hormones may play a significant role in the development of hemorrhoids during pregnancy.
Changes in hormones may play a significant role in the development of hemorrhoids during pregnancy.

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Women may also be more prone to developing hemorrhoids during pregnancy because of pressure the growing uterus places on the body. The uterus exerts increasing pressure on the veins in a woman’s pelvis during pregnancy. It also exerts increasing pressure on a large vein that gets blood from the lower part of the body, which is referred to as the inferior vena cava. As a result of the pressure on these veins, blood flow from the lower portion of a woman’s body may be slower than normal. The veins that are located below the woman’s womb, including those in the anal area, may then become swollen as a result of pressure caused by this change in blood flow.

Constipation may cause hemorrhoids during pregnancy.
Constipation may cause hemorrhoids during pregnancy.

Hormone changes may also play a significant role in the development of hemorrhoids during pregnancy. For example, an increase in the hormone progesterone makes the veins more prone to swelling. At the same time, it may serve to relax the intestinal muscles and contribute to the development of constipation.

Women who experience hemorrhoids during pregnancy should stay well hydrated and eat fiber-rich foods.
Women who experience hemorrhoids during pregnancy should stay well hydrated and eat fiber-rich foods.

While a woman cannot avoid some of the causes of hemorrhoids during pregnancy, she can take steps to prevent them. For example, a woman may increase her intake of water and fiber to avoid constipation. She may also ask her doctor for a stool softener that is safe for use during pregnancy. Taking one may help her avoid the straining associated with hemorrhoids.

An increase in the production of progesterone during pregnancy may play a role in hemorrhoids.
An increase in the production of progesterone during pregnancy may play a role in hemorrhoids.

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Discussion Comments

burcinc

I think women who are not active at all during their pregnancy are more likely to have hemorrhoids.

Diet is important, but activity is also important for regular bowel movements. Taking a walk can really make a difference. Unfortunately, during pregnancy, women become less active, particularly in the last trimester.

My daughter is in her second trimester and she takes a walk every day. She is also paying attention to her diet and taking pregnancy yoga classes. She has not had any constipation or hemorrhoids so far.

bear78

@literally45-- You're not alone! Almost half of pregnant women experience constipation symptoms during pregnancy. I did too. It's a combination of hormones that relax bowel muscles and slow down digestion, plus the growing baby.

literally45

I had constipation and hemorrhoids during my first pregnancy. Now I'm pregnant with my second child and have started experiencing constipation again.

I'm eating a lot of fiber rich foods and I always drink plenty of water. Is there anything else I can do?

I want to prevent hemorrhoids this time around if I can. Last time I went through so much pain and cramps during my pregnancy because of constipation and hemorrhoids.

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