Hemorrhoids are swollen blood vessels in the lower rectum.
The prevalence of symptomatic hemorrhoids is estimated at 4.4% of the general population worldwide.
People over 20 are most vulnerable to hemorrhoids.
According to a report published by pediatriceducation.org, the occurrence of baby hemorrhoids is less than one percent of all hemorrhoid patients. However, the prevalence of hemorrhoids in children is rising.
This article discusses causes, treatments, and ways to prevent toddler hemorrhoids.
Common symptoms of hemorrhoids in kids
Just like adults, piles in children typically exhibit similar signs and symptoms.
Piles cause bleeding during bowel movements. Other symptoms of piles are stinging and pain around the anus.
If you notice blood on the toilet paper used for your baby after bowel movements, they may have hemorrhoids or anal fissures.
Hemorrhoids may make the veins in the walls of the rectum swollen.
Internal hemorrhoids are hardly noticeable as they occur inside the anus and lower rectum.
External hemorrhoids are easily visible, creating bulges at the anal opening and lumps growing outside. They cause severe pain and itching.
Internal hemorrhoids can also cause pain, tingling, swelling, and irritation if the blood forms clots (thrombosis) in the rectum or near the anal opening. They even eventually burst, once the internal pressure increases
Common causes of hemorrhoids in children
Children usually have quite different lifestyles and diet habits from adults. The health conditions of babies are different from those of adults. Because of this, the reasons for hemorrhoids are fewer in adults than in children.
It may also happen to children with chronic liver failure, and digestive problems.
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 pediatric hemorrhoids.
Let us look at some of the main reasons for hemorrhoids in babies and kids.
1. Diarrhea or constipation
Children who often suffer constipation or diarrhea are vulnerable to hemorrhoids.
Constipation makes the stool hard and defecation difficult. This leads to a lot of strain and pressure in the rectum.
Stomach flu and viruses also can cause infection in the anus that may give rise to piles in babies.
2. Prolonged sitting on hard surfaces
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.
Sitting for an extended period causes excessive stress and pressure on the colon canal, leading to hemorrhoid development.
3. Lack of a dietary fiber-rich diet
Many children are fed highly processed foods that lack fibrous content. This often causes constipation which makes the bowel movements uncomfortable and rough.
Strain during bowel movements hurts the asshole tissues and blood vessels in the anal canal.
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
Unlike adults, it is quite difficult to diagnose the developing cases of this condition in children.
Babies 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, fistulas, colon polyps, Crohn’s disease, infections in the colon, diarrhea, and many other causes.
Colonoscopy is a useful and safe procedure in children for tracing the exact cause of bleeding.
If you doubt your child has hemorrhoids, inspect their bathroom habits. Usually, children suffering from hemorrhoids will start to avoid going to the bathroom for fear of pain during motion. 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 has hemorrhoids, he might constantly try to itch the bottom or pull down the diapers or underwear.
You can also examine your baby’s anal area after baths to see if protrusions or lumps have formed around the anus.
A doctor can do an internal anal and rectum examination to detect piles in your child.
A pediatrician may use 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 few 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 to get immediate relief from the symptoms of piles.
Treatments for hemorrhoids are the same for adults and children.
Here are some of the possible remedial measures for managing toddler hemorrhoids:
1. Sitz bath
A Sitz bath consists of soaking the arse area in warm water for a few minutes. Repeat the sitz bath schedule a minimum of four times a day. It gives instant relief from pain and discomfort.
Do not use toilet soap 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 kids are expected to be caused by chronic constipation problems. Feeding your children enough dietary fiber could help reduce the occurrence of constipation.
Children between the ages of 1 and 13 require 19 to 31 grams of dietary fiber daily.
3. Apply ice packs
Applying an ice pack over the inflamed area helps relieve the symptoms and signs of hemorrhoids, like pain, swollen veins, and itching.
If your child has severe hemorrhoids apply the ice packs every three hours during the day.
4. Witch hazel
Witch hazel is a proven natural remedy for hemorrhoids. Use a witch hazel wipe and 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, which might aggravate the condition.
5. Use OTC creams and suppositories
There are over-the-counter corticosteroid creams and suppositories that will help ease the symptoms of internal and external hemorrhoids.
Tea tree oil and coconut oil may also help reduce inflammation.
Tips for treating hemorrhoids
Here are some recommendations worth trying for reducing hemorrhoids in little ones:
- Make your child wear cotton underwear.
- To lessen the symptoms, use natural remedies like a sitz bath, witch hazel wipes, and aloe vera gel.
- Do not use dry or scented toilet paper.
- Make your child drink a lot of fluids or take laxatives to avoid constipation.
- Feed your child fruits and vegetables rich in dietary fiber.
- Rectify the toilet habits of your child.
- Give your child a warm bath daily and wash the anal area with warm water.
- Do not use soap or a chemical body wash to clean the anal region.
- Ice the anus with cold compresses.
- Use over-the-counter creams recommended by a pediatrician.
Home remedies and over-the-counter treatments may not work for everyone. If the hemorrhoid condition of your child does not improve within a week, you should take your child to a pediatrician.
The final thought
Hemorrhoids in children are rare.
A timely diagnosis of the disease can help quickly resolve the issue without further complications.
Try good home remedies like a sitz bath and witch hazel wipes to eliminate piles. However, it is good to consult a pediatrician to properly treat baby hemorrhoids as the child has a delicate physique.
You can prevent hemorrhoids in kids to a great extent by keeping them free of constipation and developing healthy toilet habits.
Teach your child to go to the toilet when he feels the urge to have a bowel motion.
Feed your child with a sufficient amount of fluids, fruits, leafy vegetables, fiber, and whole grains. They help soften stool and relieve constipation.
Let your child play active games for at least one hour a day.
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