Common Discomforts During Pregnancy: Haemorrhoids

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Another common discomfort is haemorrhoids, which can sometimes be brought on by constipation.

WORDS NURULHUDA SUHAIMI

 

Haemorrhoids (also known as piles) occur when the veins that line the lowest part of the rectum and anus become swollen or inflamed. According to Dr Wong Kutt Sing, specialist in General Surgery and consultant at Raffles Surgery Centre, haemorrhoids during pregnancy are usually caused by the enlarged womb, constipation, and hormonal changes.

               

“When the womb enlarges, pressure is placed on veins (blood vessels) in the lower half of the body. This can cause relative blockage of venous return (return of blood) from the lower half of the body, resulting in congestion or swelling of blood vessels in the lower half. As haemorrhoids are basically swellings of blood vessels in the anus, they will also swell up as a result of this pressure,” explains Dr Wong.

 

 

Constipation may also increase this pressure on the veins

due to the excessive straining during bowel movements.

 

               

In the case of hormonal changes, they “may relax blood vessel walls, causing them to swell and enlarge more readily, resulting in symptomatic haemorrhoids”, says Dr Wong.

 

What you can do

 

Fortunately, most cases of haemorrhoids can be treated without surgery. Dr Wong recommends the following measures to help ease your haemorrhoids:

  • Use warm compresses or sit in a warm salt water bath to lessen swelling or anal discomfort.
  • Consult your doctor, who may prescribe oral medications, topical creams or suppositories safe to use during pregnancy. Just be sure to not use these medications for longer than one week due to their potential side effects.
  • To lower your likelihood of getting constipation, consume a high amount of fibre, stay hydrated, and if your doctor allows it, do some light exercises.
  • Consult your doctor early if you experience any symptoms that could be an indication of haemorrhoids, such as rectal bleeding or painful perianal swelling(s), so the above measures will be more effective.
  • Minor surgery may be a final resort if the above measures do not help ease the haemorrhoids.
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