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Hemorrhoids during pregnancy: What's the best treatment?By Mayo Clinic staff
Original Article: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/hemorrhoids-during-pregnancy/AN01720
- With Mayo Clinic obstetrician and medical editor-in-chief
Roger W. Harms, M.D.read biographyclose window
Roger W. Harms, M.D.Roger W. Harms, M.D.
"Nothing helps people stay healthy more than the power of real knowledge about health." — Dr. Roger Harms
As medical director of content, Dr. Roger Harms is excited about the potential for Mayo Clinic's health information site to help educate people about their health and provide them the tools and information to live healthier lives.
The Auburn, Neb., native has been with Mayo Clinic since 1981 and is board certified in obstetrics and gynecology. Dr. Harms is a practicing physician and associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology, and his specialty areas include office gynecology, high-risk obstetrics and obstetrical ultrasound.
From 2002 to 2007, Dr. Harms was director for education at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Dr. Harms was the 1988 Mayo Medical School Teacher of the Year and served as associate dean for student affairs and academic affairs. He is the co-author of the "Mayo Clinic Model of Education." In 2008, Dr. Harms was presented the Distinguished Educator Award, Mayo Clinic, Rochester.
Dr. Harms is vice chair of the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology and medical editor of the Pregnancy section on this website. In addition, Dr. Harms is editor-in-chief of the "Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy" book, a month-by-month guide to everything a woman needs to know about having a baby.
"My medical education experience has grown out of a love of teaching, and that is what this site is about," Dr. Harms says. "If any visitor to this site makes a more informed and thus more comfortable decision about his or her health because of the information we provide, we are successful."
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Hemorrhoids during pregnancy: What's the best treatment?
What can I do to treat hemorrhoids during pregnancy?
from Roger W. Harms, M.D.
Hemorrhoids are painful, swollen veins in the anus and rectum. To ease the pain of hemorrhoids during pregnancy:
- Soak in warm water. Fill the tub with plain warm water and soak several times a day.
- Try witch hazel. Soak cotton pads with the astringent witch hazel and apply to your anal area. Change the pads frequently. Witch hazel is available over-the-counter at most pharmacies.
- Use ice. Apply ice packs or cold compresses to your anus several times a day to help relieve swelling.
- Keep your anal area clean. Pre-moistened wipes may be more comfortable than dry toilet paper. Choose brands that don't contain perfumes or alcohol — or use medicated wipes made specifically for people who have hemorrhoids.
- Avoid sitting for long periods of time. Sitting puts pressure on the veins in your anus and rectum. When you can, lie on your side or stand up. If you must sit, take frequent breaks.
- Try an over-the-counter hemorrhoid remedy. Ask your health care provider to recommend a hemorrhoid cream that's safe to use during pregnancy. Remember, though, hemorrhoid creams don't cure the underlying condition — they simply soothe the pain of existing hemorrhoids.
Keep in mind that constipation contributes to hemorrhoids during pregnancy. To relieve or prevent constipation:
- Include adequate amounts of fiber in your diet
- Drink plenty of water and other fluids
- Include physical activity in your daily routine
- Ask your health care provider about fiber supplements and stool softeners
If these suggestions don't help or your hemorrhoids get worse or begin to bleed, consult your health care provider. He or she might recommend prescription medication. Hemorrhoids typically resolve after delivery. If the hemorrhoids persist, surgical treatment might be recommended.Next question
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- Bianco A. Maternal gastrointestinal tract adaptation to pregnancy. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Aug. 19, 2011.
- Sneider EB, et al. Diagnosis and management of symptomatic hemorrhoids. The Surgical Clinics of North America. 2010;90:17.
- Avsar AF, et al. Haemorrhoids during pregnancy. Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. 2010;30:231.
- Problems of the digestive system. American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. http://www.acog.org/publications/patient_education/bp120.cfm. Accessed Aug. 22, 2011.
- Witch hazel. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. http://naturaldatabase.com. Accessed Aug. 22, 2011.