Are you experiencing pain or discomfort while defecating or when you sit for long periods? You may have hemorrhoids or anal fissures, which can be a concern for pregnant women. Anal health issues during pregnancy are common, as hormonal shifts can increase your risk of developing them.
Hemorrhoids are enlarged veins in the anus and rectum. When hemorrhoids become swollen, they can cause unpleasant symptoms such as pain, irritation, and itching. These enlarged veins can be hidden inside your rectum or found under the skin around your anus.
Anal fissures are small tears in the lining of the anus. Because the anus is thin and sensitive, even a tiny tear can lead to pain, itching, and bleeding.
Although pregnancy increases your risk for these ailments, it doesn’t mean you can’t do anything to combat your symptoms. Below, Betsy Clemens, MD, shares what you need to know about anal health issues during pregnancy.
Risk factors for hemorrhoids and anal fissures
When you’re pregnant, your progesterone levels increase. As a result, blood volume increases. This may be the reason why many pregnant women have inflamed hemorrhoids.
Sitting down for prolonged periods can lead to the development of hemorrhoids. Pressure from your uterus on your anus and rectum is another contributing factor.
Anal fissures are usually caused by trauma to the anal canal. This trauma can be due to constipation, IBS, or Crohn’s disease. Because pregnant women are more likely to suffer from constipation, they’re more likely to develop anal fissures. However, these fissures can also appear after childbirth.
How to lower your risk for hemorrhoids and anal fissures
Although you can’t control all of the risk factors associated with hemorrhoids and anal fissures, you can employ a few strategies to lower your chances of developing them. You may benefit from:
- Consuming a diet rich in vegetables and fiber
- Drinking at least 10 glasses of water on a daily basis
- Avoiding foods that may upset your stomach
- Taking breaks from sitting down too long
If you suffer from constipation while you’re pregnant, don’t rely on laxative pills because some can cause uterine contractions and dehydration.
Getting professional help
Women often see an improvement in their anal health after giving birth. But this doesn’t mean you should ignore the pain and discomfort while you’re pregnant or delay treatment because you’re embarrassed.
If you notice blood in your stool, or if you experience pain, itchiness, or a burning sensation near your anus, contact Midwest Hemorrhoid Treatment Center in Creve Coeur, Missouri, to schedule an appointment. You may also request a call back via our online form. Our team specializes in anorectal disorders and can help diagnose and treat your symptoms with great care and compassion.