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Pregnancy: Hemorrhoids and Constipation - Topic Overview

Hemorrhoids are swollen veins at the end of the large intestine (anus). They often stick out from the anus (external hemorrhoids). They can also be located on the inside of the lower intestine (internal hemorrhoids). Bleeding, itching, and pain are common hemorrhoid symptoms.

Hemorrhoids are common during pregnancy, because:

To prevent or ease constipation and hemorrhoids:

  • Eat a high-fiber diet (lots of whole fruits, vegetables, and whole grains).
  • Drink plenty of fluids, especially water.
  • Don't strain (push hard) during a bowel movement.
  • Increase the amount of exercise you get every day.

To treat the itching or pain of hemorrhoids:

  • Keep the anus clean by wiping carefully or using a squirt bottle after each bowel movement. Gently wipe from the front to the back. Baby wipes or hemorrhoid pads are usually more gentle than toilet paper. If you use toilet paper, use only soft, undyed, unscented toilet paper.
  • Take warm soaks in a tub or a sitz bath. Warm water can help shrink or soothe hemorrhoids. Add baking soda to the water to relieve itching.
  • Apply ice pack compresses.
  • Avoid sitting for long periods, especially on hard chairs.

Keep your doctor informed of any problems you are having with constipation or hemorrhoids. He or she may recommend:

  • An over-the-counter or prescription medicine to apply to hemorrhoids to relieve the itching.
  • A stool softener to prevent straining.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: July 23, 2012
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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