What can I do to treat hemorrhoids during pregnancy?

Answers from Roger W. Harms, M.D.

Hemorrhoids are painful, swollen veins in the anus and rectum. To ease the pain of hemorrhoids during pregnancy:

  • Soak in warm water. Fill the tub with plain warm water and soak several times a day.
  • Try witch hazel. Apply witch hazel pads to your anal area. Change the pads frequently.
  • Avoid sitting for long periods of time. Sitting puts pressure on the veins in your anus and rectum. When you can, lie on your side or stand up. If you must sit, take frequent breaks.
  • Try an over-the-counter hemorrhoid remedy. Ask your health care provider to recommend a hemorrhoid cream or medicated wipe that's safe to use during pregnancy. Remember, though, hemorrhoid creams don't cure the underlying condition — they simply soothe the pain of existing hemorrhoids.

Keep in mind that constipation contributes to hemorrhoids during pregnancy. To relieve or prevent constipation:

  • Include adequate amounts of fiber in your diet
  • Drink plenty of water and other fluids
  • Include physical activity in your daily routine
  • Ask your health care provider about fiber supplements and stool softeners

If these suggestions don't help or your hemorrhoids get worse or begin to bleed, consult your health care provider. For many women, hemorrhoids resolve after delivery. If the hemorrhoids persist, surgical treatment might be recommended.

Nov. 11, 2014 See more Expert Answers