What can I do to treat hemorrhoids during pregnancy?
Answer From Yvonne Butler Tobah, M.D.
Hemorrhoids are swollen blood vessels in and around the anus and lower rectum. To ease the discomfort of hemorrhoids during pregnancy:
- Soak in warm water. Fill the tub with warm water and soak the affected area. Don't put soap or bubble bath in the water.
- 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 or sit on a hemorrhoid pillow, also known as a ring cushion or doughnut.
- Use an over-the-counter remedy. Apply witch hazel medicated pads to your anal area. Or ask your health care provider to recommend a hemorrhoid cream or rectal suppository that's safe to use during pregnancy.
Keep in mind that constipation contributes to hemorrhoids during pregnancy. To relieve or prevent constipation:
- Include adequate amounts of fiber in your diet by eating lots of fruits and vegetables
- Ask your health care provider to recommend a safe fiber supplement to take during pregnancy
- Ask your health care provider to recommend a safe stool softener to take during pregnancy
- Drink plenty of fluids
- Include physical activity in your daily routine
If your hemorrhoids get worse, talk to your health care provider. Surgical treatment might be recommended after your pregnancy.
Nov. 15, 2017
Yvonne Butler Tobah, M.D.
See more Expert Answers
- Bianco A. Maternal adaptations to pregnancy: Gastrointestinal tract. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed Oct. 20, 2017.
- Frequently asked questions. Women's health FAQ120. Problems of the digestive system. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. https://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Problems-of-the-Digestive-System. Accessed Oct. 20, 2017.
- Witch hazel. Natural Medicines. https://naturalmedicines.therapeuticresearch.com/. Accessed Oct. 20, 2017.