Haemorrhoids – everything you wish you didn’t need to know!

Do you have symptoms such as itching, burning, pain, bleeding or fluid from the rectum…? Haemorrhoids are a common condition in pregnant women and also after having a baby (as if there wasn’t enough of other pregnancy problems). Haemorrhoids can be very uncomfortable, but they are rarely dangerous and usually go away on their own some time after childbirth.

Ingela Ågren

2 min read

Reviewed by Ingela Ågren

Certified midwife

Haemorrhoids – everything you wish you didn’t need to know!
Photo:Ryan Moreno on Unsplash

The anal canal is lined with cushions consisting of submucosal tissue and blood vessels. They are called haemorrhoids, or piles, when they get enlarged and swollen. They can be located far inside the rectum, so-called internal haemorrhoids, or under the skin around the anus, so-called external haemorrhoids. It’s not uncommon to have both internal and external haemorrhoids at the same time.

The body’s blood volume increases when you are pregnant, and the growing tummy puts extra pressure on the blood vessels around the lower rectum, which is why the development of haemorrhoids is more common during pregnancy. Pregnant women also get constipated more frequently, which is another reason haemorrhoids develop. When pushing out the baby during delivery, pressure increases in the rectal area and the haemorrhoids fill up with blood. It is thus common to have haemorrhoid problems after childbirth.

Symptoms caused by haemorrhoids include:

  • Bulging skin around the anus
  • Itching and burning at the anus area
  • Bleeding during bowel movements
  • Pain during bowel movement
  • Mucus, gases and/or faeces leakage.

Most haemorrhoids go away on their own, although there are some tips to ease the discomfort:

  • Avoid getting constipated. Try to drink sufficient amounts of fluid, eat fibre-rich diet and be physically active.
  • Keep the area clean by rinsing with warm water after going to the toilet.
  • Non-prescription medication such as creams and suppositories are available at pharmacies and can be used both during the pregnancy and when breastfeeding.
  • If passing stool is very painful, try applying some numbing cream, such as Zylocain, before going to the toilet.
  • Contact your doctor if the problems are severe and persistent.
Ingela Ågren

Reviewed by Ingela Ågren

Certified midwife