It is estimated that 80% of pregnant women
pregnancy suffer from haemorrhoidal disease
What are haemorrhoids?
Haemorrhoids are structures of spongy tissue characterised by a strong presence of capillaries, veins and arteries, located in the anal canal. Here they form real ”pads” that play an important role in the continence of stools, gas and (during defecation) reduce the trauma of stool passage. They are divided into internal haemorrhoids (located above the dentate line) and external haemorrhoids (located below the dentate line and may also affect the external anal orifice). When the structures of spongy tissue undergo alterations or changes, haemorrhoid disease can occur. In common parlance, this is incorrectly identified with the term ”haemorrhoids”. It is one of the most common problems in the world, and there are numerous factors that can contribute to or lead to haemorrhoid disease: age, family history, laxative abuse, incorrect diet, constipation or incontinence, lack of physical activity and pregnancy. Pregnancy in particular has a strong impact on the female organism, which undergoes numerous changes and consequently stresses of various kinds that predispose to haemorrhoidal problems.
Haemorrhoids in pregnancy: causes and symptoms
The onset of haemorrhoids during pregnancy can make a delicate and exciting period for the mother-to- be difficult and unpleasant. Being conscious of the causes of the haemorrhoid problem is very important so that this small and very annoying disorder can be treated before it assumes major proportions. Basically, during pregnancy, haemorrhoids can occur due to:
- volumetric increase of the uterus;
- hormonal changes (increase in oestrogen and progesterone);
- relaxation of the venous walls as a result of increased blood volume;
- increased abdominal pressure;
- dyspepsia (digestive difficulties also related to reduced intestinal transit);
- constipation (hard stools resulting in difficulty in elimination);
- behavioural factors (incorrect diets and sedentary lifestyle).
The symptoms of haemorrhoids in pregnant women are essentially the same as in people who are not pregnant: burning, itching, swelling in the anal area, a sense of heaviness, intense anal pain during
evacuation sometimes also accompanied by bleeding.
Treating haemorrhoids during pregnancy
During pregnancy it is difficult to choose treatments and cures because there is always the fear of taking some medication that could harm the foetus. In the presence of haemorrhoid disease during pregnancy (as well as in any other condition) it is essential not to take the initiative but to consult a doctor before taking any drugs (even in the case of supplements or over-the-counter medicines of natural origin) or implementing changes in lifestyle.
The first approach to the treatment of haemorrhoids concerns diet and lifestyle. In fact, diet is a key element in ensuring the health and well-being of the pregnant woman and the life that will be born. During pregnancy, it is good to have a diet rich in fibre, so consume carefully washed seasonal fruit and vegetables, drink a lot of water to keep stools soft and regularise bowel movements, and practise sport moderately for at least half an hour a day. In the case of pain and swelling, ice packs on the anal area and the use of local anti-inflammatory creams are also recommended.
Obviously, the doctor’s approach and the precautions to be taken will vary depending on the severity of the condition and one’s situation during pregnancy. It is also possible that someone who begins to suffer from haemorrhoids during pregnancy will continue to be afflicted by this disorder afterwards. Postpartum, depending on the degree of the prolapsed haemorrhoids reached, the specialist will assess the most appropriate treatment and, if the previously implemented therapies have not led to good results, the need for outpatient or surgical intervention will be evaluated.
The contents of this page are for informational use only and in no case should they replace the opinion, diagnosis or treatment prescribed by your doctor. The response to the same treatment can vary from one patient to another. Always consult with your doctor on any information relating to diagnosis and treatment and scrupulously follow his instructions.