Health

What to do for hemorrhoids during pregnancy

During pregnancy, the body undergoes great changes. A possible more unpleasant side effect that about half of women experience is enlarged hemorrhoids. STYLEBOOK knows what helps against suffering.

Burning and itching in the anus: disorders typically caused by enlarged hemorrhoids. Pregnancy is considered a risk factor. Read with us what causes the disease and what helps.

What are hemorrhoids?

Everyone has hemorrhoids. And this is just as good. They sit as slightly raised vascular pillows near the anus. The tissue is normally well supplied with blood and (unnoticed) serves an important purpose: together with the sphincter muscle, it has the task of sealing the rectum outlet.

Hemorrhoids cause symptoms only when the arterial vessels in the tissue have expanded. Then they get bigger and have knots. A hemorrhoidal disease therefore correctly means “enlarged” hemorrhoids. Colloquially, however, this addition is usually omitted.

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Symptoms of enlarged hemorrhoids

In the beginning, enlarged hemorrhoids usually go unnoticed. Over time, however, they can start to itch, burn, and sometimes ooze. It is not uncommon for those affected to describe a feeling of strangeness or pressure in the anus area.

Blood-filled nodules can also break open. Traces of bright red blood on the stool can therefore indicate hemorrhoids.

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Possible causes of hemorrhoidal disease

Hemorrhoids are often a problem during pregnancy, but not only. Men also suffer from it. Several possible causes can favor the development of hemorrhoids or aggravate existing ones.

Constipation and frequent diarrhea

The habits related to bowel movements are usually behind it. In particular, strong pressure and squeezing on the toilet should be able to promote vasodilation. This is why people with chronic constipation are often affected. A low-fiber diet is therefore also considered a common risk factor.

At the same time, frequent diarrhea can also be problematic. In affected people, the closure system of the sphincter and the hemorrhoidal cushion is often not sufficiently trained.

overweight

As already explained, hemorrhoidal cushions should be well supplied with blood. Factors that can reduce blood flow (thus increasing the likelihood of symptomatic hemorrhoids) include: B. a corresponding previous load, increased sedentary activity and especially overweight.

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Hemorrhoids in pregnancy

During pregnancy, some of the risk factors mentioned for hemorrhoids come together. As the baby grows in the womb, there is pressure throughout the abdomen. The baby and the uterus press on the vessels, including in the anal area. This can affect blood flow. Finally, the pressing contractions during childbirth also mean additional stress for this area.

Additionally, pregnancy hormones ensure that the pelvic floor and connective tissue become soft. This should help later in the birth process. At the same time, the elasticity of the hemorrhoidal pillow suffers.

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Severity of symptomatic hemorrhoids

In the case of first degree hemorrhoids, the enlarged hemorrhoids cannot yet be felt. You should have a scan of the anal canal to see them. At this stage, the hemorrhoids should cause very mild symptoms at best.

Tissue congestion occurs when one strains (for example when having a bowel movement) and retracts on its own. This no longer happens with third degree disease, the protruding tissue now has to be pushed back by hand.

In this advanced stage, the bulges are permanently visible and palpable. An anal prolapse, that is, a prolapse of the anal mucosa, can also occur with increasing severity. In this case, you should contact your family doctor or proctologist directly. Otherwise, if you have hemorrhoids, your dermatologist is the right person to talk to.

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Treatment of hemorrhoids

Conventional measures

In the early stages, hemorrhoids are relatively easy to treat with topical preparations. Pharmacies have numbing ointments, zinc pastes, and anti-inflammatory sitz baths for this purpose. When you dry yourself (even after going to the bathroom), be sure not to rub too hard so as not to irritate the affected skin.

If symptoms are severe, medications may be needed. For example, cortisone can be applied externally as a cream, but also as a suppository.

The next step would be to get rid of the hemorrhoids: a tie with a rubber band. The protruding vessels would have been tied with small rubber bands to die over time and fall painlessly. A similar treatment would be cauterization. Here, the doctor would inject an appropriate substance into the affected tissue using a syringe.

Operation

In hemorrhoid surgery, the hemorrhoids are cut. The procedure is usually performed on an outpatient basis and, apart from the general surgical risks (eg wound healing disorders), does not involve significant risks.

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Tips for prevention

Avoid straining hard when you have a bowel movement. If you suffer from digestive problems with constipation, foods rich in fiber and sufficient fluid intake are recommended to stimulate the gastrointestinal tract.

Generally important: lots of exercise. Pregnant women should also take this to heart. Otherwise (apart from the advice on nutrition) there is unfortunately not much that can be done to counter the increased risk of hemorrhoids.

weight reduction can be an effective tool for preventing hemorrhoids. Especially if you are very overweight and therefore have been dealing with hemorrhoids more often.

Sources

– Expert advice from medical doctor Timm Golüke, specialist in dermatology in Munich

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