Q:

What causes piles in pregnant women?

A:

Quick Answer

Hormonal changes and increased intra-abdominal pressure cause piles, or hemorrhoids, during pregnancy, according to the United States National Center for Biotechnology Information. Up to 85 percent of pregnant women experience this condition in the third trimester.

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Full Answer

Piles are swollen veins in a woman's anus or rectum. This condition may be painful. To ease symptoms, pregnant women may try soaking in warm water, or she may apply witch hazel pads or an over-the-counter hemorrhoid remedy to the anus, according to Mayo Clinic. The woman's doctor can recommend a product that is safe to use during pregnancy. All of these treatments only alleviate the pain from hemorrhoids and do not address the underlying condition.

Pregnant women frequently suffer from constipation, and constipation can aggravate piles because straining during bowel movements and prolonged sitting on the toilet causes blood to pool in anal vessels and increases pressure in the anal canal. Pregnant women should eat adequate amounts of fiber, drink plenty of water, and participate in appropriate physical activities, according to Harvard Medical School. Brisk walking for 20 to 30 minutes per day can reduce constipation. Pregnant women should go to the bathroom as soon as they feel the urge to have a bowel movement. They may experience increased pressure and straining during bowel movements if stools back up in the rectum. A sitz bath may alleviate itching, irritation and sphincter spasms associated with piles or hemorrhoids.

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