Piles (haemorrhoids) are lumps in and around your anus. They may be itchy, painful or bleed. They're caused by swollen veins in the lining of the rectum and anus (your back passage and bum).
Piles can be:
- internal - high up in the anal canal and not visible on the outside
- external - near the skin around your anus
The symptoms of piles include:
- a lump near your anus
- itching around your anus
- bleeding from your anus after pooing
- pain while doing a poo
Some people with piles don't have any symptoms.
Relieve the symptoms
- Avoid sitting or standing for long periods of time.
- Exercise regularly to help your circulation.
- Gently push back any piles that are sticking out - you can use lubricating jelly to make this easier.
- Put an ice-cold, wrung out cloth on the piles to soothe them.
- Try not to strain when you have a poo.
- Use moist toilet paper instead of dry after having a poo.
- Have a bath to soak the area, but don't use soaps or bath products that could irritate.
- Ask your GP or pharmacist to recommend a haemorrhoid cream that's safe to use while pregnant.
Remember to wash your hands before and after touching your piles
Piles are more common during pregnancy but they can also happen to anyone. You're more likely to get piles if you’re constipated (having trouble pooing).
How to avoid constipation
To avoid getting constipated:
- drink lots of fluids - you need 2 extra glasses of water a day when you're pregnant
- eat plenty of fibre in your diet, such as fruit, vegetables and wholegrains
- ask your GP or obstetrician about whether a stool softener (medicine to soften your poos) would help