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Hemorrhoids are swollen blood vessels that occur in the rectal area.

They can be small, like a pea, or grow as large as a grape. They are either characterized as internal or external. It is possible for them to protrude through the anus, increasing how uncomfortable they become.

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Pregnancy almost creates the perfect storm for possible hemorrhoid development. Constipation, the uterus growing as the fetus gets larger, and an increase in the progesterone hormone all increase the risk of hemorrhoids in pregnant women. As the uterus grows, it starts to put some pressure on the inferior vena cava and pelvic veins. The inferior vena cava is responsible for receiving blood from the lower body limbs. When the pressure causes the return of blood to slow, the veins below the uterus experience extra pressure and they can swell or dilate.

Pregnant women are at a relatively high risk for experiencing constipation. This can aggravate existing hemorrhoids or cause new ones. New hemorrhoids can develop due to straining to have a bowel movement.

The progesterone hormone increases during pregnancy and helps to relax the vein walls. This allows them to swell easier. This hormone can also slow down the digestive tract, contributing to constipation.




Hemorrhoids may cause the following symptoms:

  • During bowel movements, painless bleeding may occur
  • Pain or discomfort
  • A lump in the anal area
  • Anal region irritation or itching
  • Anal swelling

A hemorrhoid may be internal, meaning that patients usually are unable to feel or visualize them. Irritation during a bowel movement may cause bleeding, but many people do not experience discomfort. External hemorrhoids can bleed or itch when irritated. These are located around the anus under the skin. With an external hemorrhoid, it is possible for blood to pool inside resulting in a clot. Patients may experience severe swelling, pain, and inflammation.


Women have several options to treat any hemorrhoids that they develop during pregnancy. Hemorrhoid banding might be considered for internal hemorrhoids when over-the-counter methods fail to provide relief. This involves going to the base of the hemorrhoid and using a rubber band to cut off blood flow. Without blood, the hemorrhoid will die.

Infrared coagulation is ideal for a hemorrhoid that is relatively small. It is minimally invasive and stops the flow of blood to hemorrhoids with the use of an infrared light.

Sclerotherapy is an option when hemorrhoids are more severe. The doctor will take a chemical solution and inject it into the area surrounding a hemorrhoid. Quinine, zinc chloride, and polidocanol are the most commonly used chemicals for this method. The purpose is to stop blood from getting to the hemorrhoid by damaging the associated blood vessels.

THD treatment works by tying off hemorrhoid blood flow via the use of a Doppler. This is minimally invasive and no tissue is removed.

Pregnant women experiencing hemorrhoids should reach out to their doctor. There are treatments that can aid in making them more comfortable, so that they can enjoy the rest of their pregnancy without worry.

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