What Every Pregnant Woman Needs to Know About Anal Health?

pregnant women and anal health

Pregnant women are more prone to haemorrhoids or piles, which are swollen and inflamed veins in the rectal area. Piles during pregnancy can be caused by increased pressure in the pelvic area due to the growing baby, constipation, weight gain, family history, or straining during bowel movements. 

To avoid complications, here is what every pregnant woman needs to know about anal health during pregnancy:

  1. Piles: Piles are a common problem during pregnancy. Piles in pregnant women occur when the blood vessels in the rectal region become enlarged and irritated leading to itching, pain, bleeding, and discomfort.  
  2. Anal Fissures: An anal fissure in pregnant women is a small tear in the lining of the anus that can cause pain, bleeding, and discomfort. Pregnant women are more likely to experience anal fissures due to constipation caused by hormonal changes and pressure from the growing uterus.
  3. Fistula: Fistula is an abnormal tunnel that develops between the anus and the skin surrounding it. Fistula in pregnant women is less common than piles, but it can still occur. It is often caused by an infection in the anal glands or a previous abscess. Symptoms of the fistula may include pain, discharge, and swelling around the anus. Treatment for fistula may include antibiotics, draining the abscess, or surgery.
  4. Maintaining Proper Hygiene: Pregnant women should maintain proper hygiene to prevent infections and other anal health problems. They should wipe from front to back after using the bathroom, wash the anal area with water or a gentle cleanser, and wear cotton underwear to allow the skin to breathe.
  5. Eating a high-fibre diet and staying hydrated: A diet high in fibre can help prevent constipation, which can worsen piles. Eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes can help keep bowel movements regular and soft. Staying hydrated by consuming an adequate amount of water can aid in maintaining soft stools and avoiding constipation.
  6. Infections: Pregnant women are at higher risk of developing infections, including sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and yeast infections. If you experience symptoms such as itching, burning, or discharge, it's important to consult a healthcare provider for proper diagnosis and treatment.
  7. Avoid sitting or standing for long periods: Prolonged sitting or standing can increase the pressure on the veins in the rectal area. Take breaks and move around regularly.
  8. Using over-the-counter treatments: Over-the-counter creams and suppositories containing witch hazel, hydrocortisone, or lidocaine can help relieve pain and itching. However, checking with a doctor or pharmacist before using any medication during pregnancy is important.
  9. Consulting a doctor: If a pregnant woman experiences any pain, bleeding, or discomfort in the anal area, she should consult the doctor immediately. Some anal health problems may require medical treatment, and early diagnosis and treatment can prevent further complications.

Thus, pregnant women should prioritize their anal health to prevent common problems such as haemorrhoids and anal fissures. Proper hygiene, a high-fibre diet, and avoiding prolonged sitting or standing are essential steps to maintaining anal health during pregnancy.

Dr. Karthik Gunasekaran