Worried about blood in your poop during pregnancy? Here’s why it happens

Published on: 7 June 2022, 21:08 pm IST

It might be distressing if you find blood in your stool during pregnancy. Hence, you need to find out the reason behind the condition. 

blood in stool during pregnancy
Haemerrhoids may be common during pregnancy. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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Pregnancy is one of the most wonderful phases of a woman’s life. However, it can also be unnerving. Apart from causing side effects such as vomiting, increased urination, dizziness, it can also sometimes cause blood in stools.

Why is blood seen in stools during pregnancy?

It is mainly due to an increase in the progesterone hormone, which happens in pregnancy. Progesterone causes reduced motility of the bowels and constipation, which in turn can lead to anal fissures and bleeding in the stools.

What is an anal fissure?

An anal fissure is a small tear in the mucosa and it can occur when one passes hard stools. This condition can lead to pain in the anal region and bleeding, which occurs with the bowel movements. The bleeding usually starts with a trickle, lasting for a few seconds to minutes, but not for more than 10 minutes. Pregnant women can also see a crack in the skin around the anal region or a small skin tag around, if they suffer from an anal fissure.

pregnancy
Be careful during your pregnancy Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Blood in stools due to haemorrhoids

Haemorrhoids, or piles, are one of the major causes of blood in stools, which occur commonly in pregnancy, with a probability of around 25-35 percent. The severity of haemorrhoids increases with the gestational age of pregnancy. A larger weight of the gravid uterus and increase in the blood circulation during pregnancy also can add to a higher chance of having haemorrhoids.

Also, read: Carrying a mummy tummy post pregnancy? Check for Diastasis Recti

When due to haemorrhoids, the blood vessels around the anus get inflamed and swell up, it leads to bleeding, itching and even pain while sitting. Usually, haemorrhoids regress within a few weeks of delivery.

Other causes

If a pregnant woman sees blood in her stool or dark coloured stool, another common cause of it might be taking iron and calcium supplements during pregnancy, which are important for childbirth.

blood in stool during pregnancy
Haemorrhoids or anal fissures can cause you discomfort during pregnancy. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Iron tablets can cause constipation or diarrhoea, and produce dark coloured stools, but rarely bleeding. Calcium, on the other hand, can lead to constipation too but has higher chances of causing bleeding in stools. If bleeding continues, stop the supplements for a few days and take on alternate days for a short time. However, they cannot be completely stopped.

Other rare causes of bleeding in stool include inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease) and anorectal cancers. These need to be evaluated carefully.

Treatment of anal fissures and haemorrhoids

The following remedies can be tried:

  1. Increase the fibre content in your diet
  2. Drink plenty of fluids and take probiotics
  3. Adding a laxative at bedtime may be useful
  4. Over-the-counter medicines, in form of creams, can be applied 2 to 3 times a day to reduce pain
  5. Taking a sitz bath, which means sitting in a bath of salty warm water 2 to 3 times a day, may prove beneficial
  6. Avoid sitting on the toilet seat for a long period of time

Be cautious because during pregnancy. It is always safe to report to your Obstetrician and have yourself examined to have a safe motherhood journey.

Dr Danny Laliwala Dr Danny Laliwala

Dr Danny Laliwala is a consultant, Gynaecology, at the Jaslok Hospital and Research Centre in Mumbai

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