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Haemorrhoids or piles are swollen veins inside your rectum or in the skin surrounding your anus. They’re usually caused by increased pressure on your lower rectum.
When you’re pregnant, the baby puts extra pressure on this area. As a result, haemorrhoids can develop both during and after pregnancy. They’re especially common after vaginal deliveries.
As with regular haemorrhoids / piles, symptoms that develop through pregnancy are similar. These include:
When you’re pregnant, the volume of blood circulating round your body increases. At the same time, high levels of the hormone progesterone relax the walls of your blood vessels.
The veins below your womb (uterus) are more likely to become swollen and stretched under the weight of your growing baby. This is why you’re more prone to piles and varicose veins when you’re pregnant.
You can also get swollen veins on your vulva, called vulvar varicose veins.
Constipation, another common pregnancy problem, can also cause piles.
Piles during pregnancy are quite common. One of the things that newly pregnant mums are rarely told about, is that they can become more prone to piles during pregnancy.
There are a number of reasons why this might occur. Your growing uterus, constipation, increased progesterone and even the position of your baby can have an effect. About a quarter of mums have piles in the weeks after giving birth (Nazik and Eryilmaz 2013, Poskus et al 2014).
The following tips will help you to avoid piles, as well as ease your symptoms:
If you still have constipation after trying these tips, you could ask your GP or midwife to prescribe a laxative that is safe to take during pregnancy.
Download our lifestyle brochure for advice on diet, hydration and exercise
While electrotherapy isn’t a suitable treatment for piles during pregnancy, there are effective ways to help alleviate the symptoms you’ll be having. Things like a good diet, plenty of exercise and a cold compress can go a long way to making you feel better. We always recommend speaking to your local pharmacist, since there are many treatments available over the counter. Failing that, speak to your GP if your symptoms are particularly painful.
That entirely depends on you. In most cases, piles brought on during pregnancy will naturally remedy themselves. electrotherapy treatment during pregnancy could harm your baby and we strongly recommend getting treatment some time after giving birth. How long is up to you – if you’re recovering well and your piles aren’t clearing up, we can help – even if you’re still breastfeeding.
If you have severe, ongoing problems with piles after childbirth, please get in touch. Our nurses will be able to provide you with free advice over the phone about your treatment options including our home electrotherapy treatment service.
Electrotherapy, involves using a gentle electrical current to shrink the haemorrhoid(s) and is carried out by a specialist colorectal nurse in the comfort of your home without you having to visit a hospital or clinic.
Electrotherapy is a non-invasive non-surgical treatment that can be used to treat internal piles and, for most people, enable you to get back to your life on the same day. Please get in touch to discuss your treatment options with a nurse specialist.
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Suffering from haemorrhoids? Find advice on diet, exercise, hydration to help manage your symptoms.
Answer some simple questions about the symptoms you are experiencing to get your haemorrhoid symptom score and receive advice on what it means and what to do next.