Hemorrhoids are swollen blood vessels in the lower rectum.
The prevalence of symptomatic hemorrhoids is pitched at 4.4% of the general population worldwide.
People above 20 are most vulnerable to hemorrhoids.
According to a report published by pediatriceducation.org occurrence of baby hemorrhoids are less than one percent of all hemorrhoid patients. However, the prevalence of hemorrhoids in children and toddlers is on the rise.
In this article, we shall discuss causes, treatments, and ways to prevent toddler hemorrhoids.
Features of symptomatic hemorrhoids in children
Just like adults, baby hemorrhoids also exhibit similar symptoms.
Piles cause bleeding during bowel movements. Other symptoms of piles are itching and pain around the anus.
Your child could be suffering hemorrhoid or anal fissures if you notice blood on the toilet paper used for your baby after the bowel movements.
Hemorrhoids make the veins in the walls of the rectum swollen and inflamed.
Internal hemorrhoids are hardly noticeable as they occur inside the anus canal and lower rectum.
External hemorrhoids are easily visible as they create bulges at the anal opening and lumps growing outside. They cause severe pain and itching.
Internal hemorrhoids can also cause a lot of pain, itching, swelling, and irritation if the blood forms clots (thrombosis) in the rectum or near the anal opening.
Causes of hemorrhoids in children and toddlers
Children usually have lifestyle and diet habits quite different the adults. The health conditions of toddlers are different from adults. For this reason, the causes of hemorrhoids are few compared to the grownups.
One of the research reports published in the Journal of Pediatric Surgery indicated the incidence of symptomatic hemorrhoids and rectal varices was 4.2%.
According to a study published in The British Journal of Surgery, children with portal hypertension showed a significant incidence of hemorrhoids.
Let us now look at some of the main reasons for hemorrhoids occurring in babies, toddlers, or kids.
1. Diarrhea or constipation
Children who often suffer constipation or diarrhea are vulnerable to the occurrence of hemorrhoids.
Constipation makes bowel movements difficult leading to a lot of strain and pressure in the rectum.
Stomach flu and viruses also can cause infection in the rectum that may give rise to piles in babies.
2. Prolonged sitting on the floor or chair
Most children sit for a long time on the hard surfaces of the floor, table, or chair, especially while they play little games. Some children may also sit for a long time on the potty.
Constantly sitting down for a long duration inflicts excessive stress and pressure on the rectum leading to the development of hemorrhoids.
3. Lack of dietary fiber-rich diet
Many children are fed highly processed foods that lack fibrous content. This often causes constipation which makes the bowel movement uncomfortable and rough.
Strain during bowel movements hurts the anal tissues and blood vessels in the rectum.
Obese babies and children are at risk of getting hemorrhoids.
The excessive weight of the body puts pressure on the veins in the rectum and anus leading to the development of piles.
Diagnosis of hemorrhoids in kids
It is quite difficult to diagnose the developing cases of hemorrhoids in children, unlike adults.
Babies and toddlers lack the verbal ability to explain the symptoms of piles they experience. The unbearable pain and itching resulting from piles make them cry and weep.
The most visible sign of hemorrhoids in your child is bleeding from the anus during bowel movements.
However, rectal bleeding can also be caused by fissures, fistula, colon polyps, Crohn’s disease, infection in the colon, diarrhea, and many other causes.
If you doubt that your child has hemorrhoids, you must inspect his or her bathroom habits. Usually, the children suffering from hemorrhoids will start to avoid going to the bathroom for fear of pain during bowel movements. Your child may even refuse to sit on the toilet commode or potty.
If you notice bright red blood stains on your child’s stool, it could be a case of hemorrhoids.
If your baby is suffering from hemorrhoids, he might constantly try to itch the bottom or pull down the diapers/underwear.
You can also take time to examine your baby’s anal area after baths to find if any protrusions or lumps have formed around the anus.
A doctor can do an internal anal and rectum examination to detect hemorrhoids in your child.
A pediatrician may make use of a sigmoidoscope, proctoscope, or anoscope to examine the rectum.
Analysis of the existing symptoms is also needed to ascertain the possibility of hemorrhoidal bleeding in your child.
Ways to manage baby hemorrhoids
Piles are not a serious health concern as they can be cured within a couple of days.
After diagnosing baby hemorrhoids, you can follow the treatments recommended by the pediatrician.
The pediatrician will determine the cause of hemorrhoids in your baby. He will prescribe a course of treatment for getting immediate relief from the symptoms of piles.
Hemorrhoids in children are also treated similarly to adults.
Here are some of the possible remedial measures for managing toddler hemorrhoids:
1. Sitz Bath
A Sitz bath consists of soaking the anal area in warm water for a few minutes. Repeat sitz bath schedule a minimum of four times a day.
Do not use toilet soaps to wash the anal area during the sitz bath as this might aggravate the condition.
2. Give a fiber-rich diet to the child
Over 50% of hemorrhoids in children are expected to be caused by chronic constipation problems. Feeding your children enough dietary fiber could help in reducing the occurrence of constipation.
Children between the ages of 1 to 13 require 19 to 31 grams of dietary fiber per day.
3. Apply ice packs
Applying an ice pack over the inflamed area helps in relieving the symptoms of hemorrhoids like pain, swelling, and itching.
If your child has severe hemorrhoids apply the ice packs after every three hours during the day.
4. Witch Hazel
Witch hazel is a proven natural remedy for hemorrhoids. Use a witch hazel wipe along with Aloe Vera gel to clean the anal area. The healing properties present in witch hazel and aloe vera quickly relieve the symptoms of hemorrhoids.
Do not use dry toilet paper to wipe the inflamed area as this might aggravate the condition.
5. Use hemorrhoid creams
There are over-the-counter corticosteroid creams that will help ease the symptoms of hemorrhoids.
Tips for managing toddler hemorrhoids
Here are some recommendations worth trying for reducing hemorrhoids in toddlers:
- Make your child wear cotton underwear
- Use natural remedies like a sitz bath, witch hazel wipes, and aloe vera gel to lessen the symptoms
- Do not use dry or scented toilet tissue papers
- Make your child drink a lot of fluids to avoid constipation
- Feed your child with fruits and vegetables rich in dietary fiber
- Rectify the toilet habits of your child
- Give your child a daily warm bath and frequently wash the anal area with warm water
- Do not use soap or chemical body wash to clean the anal region
- Ice the anus with a cold compresses
- Use over-the-counter hemorrhoid creams recommended by a pediatrician
Home remedies and over-the-counter treatments may not work for all. If the hemorrhoids condition of your child does not improve within a week, you should take your child to a pediatrician.
The Bottom Line
Hemorrhoids in children are rare.
A timely diagnosis of the disease can help in quickly healing the issue without any further complications.
Always try a few good home remedies like sitz bath and witch hazel wipes for getting rid of piles. However, it is good to consult a pediatrician for the proper treatment of baby hemorrhoids as the child has a delicate physique.
You can prevent piles occurrence in your child to a great extent by keeping him free of constipation and developing healthy toilet habits.
Teach your child to go to the toilet as soon as he feels the urge to have bowel movements.
Feed your child with a sufficient amount of fluids, fruits, leafy vegetables, and whole grains.
Let your child play active games for a minimum of one hour a day.
As you already know about the causes, remedies, and ways to prevent hemorrhoids from happening to your child, you can put these suggestions into practice to keep your children healthy and happy.