Symptoms of piles
Piles, also known as haemorrhoids, are swellings containing enlarged blood vessels inside or around your bottom (the rectum and anus).
Anyone can get piles – they don't just happen in pregnancy. When you're pregnant, piles can occur because hormones make your veins relax.
Symptoms of piles can include:
- itching, aching, soreness or swelling around your anus
- pain when passing a stool (faeces, poo) and a mucus discharge afterwards
- a lump hanging outside the anus, which may need to be pushed back in after passing a stool
- bleeding after passing a stool – the blood is usually bright red
How to ease piles
Constipation can cause piles. If this is the cause, try to keep your stools soft and regular by eating plenty of food that's high in fibre.
- wholemeal bread
Drinking plenty of water can help, too.
Find out more about a healthy diet in pregnancy.
Other things you can try include:
- avoid standing for long periods
- take regular exercise to improve your circulation
- use a cloth wrung out in iced water to ease the pain – hold it gently against the piles
- if the piles stick out, push them gently back inside using a lubricating jelly
- avoid straining to pass a stool, as this may make your piles worse
- after passing a stool, clean your anus with moist toilet paper instead of dry toilet paper
- pat, rather than rub, the area
There are medicines that can help soothe the inflammation around your anus. These treat the symptoms, but not the cause, of piles.
Ask your doctor, midwife or pharmacist if they can suggest a suitable ointment to help ease the pain. Don't use a cream or medicine without checking with them first.
Video: What can I do about haemorrhoids?
In this video, a midwife explains ways you can treat or prevent haemorrhoids during pregnancy.
Media review due: 7 February 2023