What are haemorrhoids?

February 5, 2020

Learn the signs of symptoms including haemorrhoids in pregnancy.


Haemorrhoids are swollen veins in and around the bottom which develop slowly over time. They can cause itching, bleeding, and pain. Haemorrhoids are also known as piles and are very common in both men and women.

They appear as lumps both inside and outside of the anal passage. Haemorrhoids occur when there is a weakness in the side of the anal canal that leads to thickening of the lining. Veins can then enlarge within the haemorrhoid.

Haemorrhoids are common in pregnancy.



There are 4 classifications types of haemorrhoids which are based on their size and severity

  1. First-degree – which are found inside the anus. They tend to be painless but do bleed
  2. Second-degree haemorrhoids are a more severe and painful type of haemorrhoid. They bleed and stick out of the anus when you pass a bowel motion and they disappear back inside the anus by themselves.
  3. Third-degree haemorrhoids can be very painful is they become too big and need to be physically pushed back inside the anus after passing a bowel motion.
  4. Fourth-degree haemorrhoids are large lumps that stay outside of the anus all of the time. They are extremely painful and the blood inside the haemorrhoids may clot.



One of the most common symptoms is bleeding. Particularly with first and second-degree haemorrhoids, most people notice a smear (or more) or bright red blood on the toilet paper or even on the faeces when going to the toilet.

Pain, itching and burning sensation, as well as feeling that the bowel movement is incomplete are all symptom of haemorrhoids. It is possible to experience one or a mixture of symptoms.


Causes of haemorrhoids.

There are several different things that may cause haemorrhoids.

A very common cause is straining – that may be due to be constipated, so straining on the toilet or the strain on your body due to heavy manual labour.

Heredity factors as well as sitting on hard surfaces for long amounts of time can also contribute to a person developing haemorrhoids.



Anytime you see blood or mucus on the toilet paper on after wiping your bottom or on your faeces in the toilet you should contact your GP.

Tests to diagnose haemorrhoids may involve a rectal examination. This is where your GP gently feel for any abnormalities. They will put on gloves and place a lubricated finger inside your anus. It may be slightly uncomfortable will should not be overly painful.

A Proctoscopy is another test where the doctor examines the inside of the rectum using a proctoscope. A proctoscope is a hollow tube with a tiny light at the end which allows the GP to look for any swelling or other symptoms.

Depending on the diagnosis your GP may refer you to a surgeon.



Your GP will discuss a treatment plan with you depending on the diagnosis.

There are creams and medications which will be discussed and again – depending on what is required you may also discuss rubber band ligation or haemorrhoidectomy



Water – at least 8 glasses a day. And along with that exercise. For general health, I recommend 30 minutes a day for both men and women.

Eating high fibre foods is also essential, things like fresh vegetables and fruit, wholegrain breads and cereals, nuts, seeds and pulses.

Go to the toilet when you need to – so don’t hang on to that poo! But with that… don’t spend to much time in the toilet either. Do what you need to do and head on out of there. No need to play on your phone or read a book. Spending too much time in the toilet puts unnecessary pressure on the blood vessels in the anus.


Haemorrhoids in pregnancy.

During pregnancy, haemorrhoids develop due to the pressure the baby adds to the veins in the pelvis. As well as this, there is an increase in progesterone during pregnancy. The increase in the hormone causes the walls of the veins to relax, allowing them to swell more easily.

Pushing during labour, particularly during the second stage can also be when haemorrhoids develop. If the second stage of labour is prolonged it is also more likely that haemorrhoids will occur.

After you have had your baby – the haemorrhoids may actually get worse –this is due to the fact that you are spending more time sitting down. Feeding your new baby.

If you are in pain and/or concerned please contact myself (or your obstetrician) to discuss your options.

January 31, 2020

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