Have you noticed swollen, itchy lumps around your baby's anus? It may be a symptom of hemorrhoids. Yes, it's true. Hemorrhoids in children do occur, but they are not extremely common.
In both sexes, peak prevalence occurs between the ages of 45 to 65. However, they can affect anybody, even kids. Sitting on a hard surface like a wooden bench for an extended period or spending excessive time in the restroom are the two most common reasons for hemorrhoids in children.
What are Piles (Hemorrhoids)?
Hemorrhoids are enlarged and swollen veins in the anus and lower rectum caused by blood clots. They are a type of blood clot that can occur both within and outside the body.
Internal hemorrhoids are hemorrhoids that can be found inside the anus and the opening of the rectum. They are usually tiny, swollen veins in the wall of the anus but can also bulge out. External hemorrhoids can be felt as bulges at the anal hole, extending beyond the anus (anus receptacle). They might itch and bleed if they become irritated.
Occasionally, blood clots (thrombosis) caused by hemorrhoids result in significant discomfort, swelling, and inflammation in the affected area.
Causes of Piles (Hemorrhoids) in Children
Increased pressure in the rectal and pelvic regions can cause swelling and stretching of the veins, resulting in piles (hemorrhoids).
Conditions like those listed below may increase the possibility of hemorrhoids in children:
- Chronic liver failure (a medical condition that occurs over time)
- Sitting on hard surfaces, such as wooden stools, for an extended period.
- Low dietary fiber intake.
- Children who engage in weightlifting may be at greater risk of developing hemorrhoids.
- Sitting on the toilet for an extended period.
- Constipation, diarrhea, or other digestive disorders might result in straining during a bowel movement, which can be uncomfortable and trigger hemorrhoids.
Common Symptoms of Piles (Hemorrhoids) in Children
The first indication of hemorrhoids in children is bloodstains in the diaper or stool. To be safe, it's a good idea to inspect the diaper's contents before dumping it. Hemorrhoids can cause blood to seep from swollen veins. Diaper and stool blood spots can suggest that a newborn suffers from hemorrhoids. If the baby is already constipated, the chances are higher.
It's common for hemorrhoids to show redness and inflammation. Occasionally, a small amount of blood is seen around the anus in extremely severe cases. Anus discomfort is more common in older children, who frequently scratch and cry.
How to Prevent Piles (Hemorrhoids) in Children
Since constipation is the most prevalent cause of piles (hemorrhoids), it's crucial to keep an eye on what your child consumes at all times. If your baby breastfeeds, it is unlikely that they will get constipation. If your baby's primary food source is bottled milk or if the process of transition to solid food has begun, there are chances that they will get constipated.
Constipation in older children and adults is caused due to the lack of fiber intake and dehydration. Consult a pediatrician if your child is experiencing constipation. They may suggest additions to your baby's diet, such as water, fruit juices (apple, pear, and prune), pureed peas and prunes, multigrain, wheat, or barley cereal.
Some preventive treatments for piles (hemorrhoids) in children include:
- Increasing your baby’s intake of dietary fiber
- Using gentle, wet, fragrance-free wipes to avoid irritating the anal area.
- Using petroleum jelly or stool softeners to lubricate the anus during bowel movements.
- Having your baby drink more fluids (8-10 glasses of water) to keep them hydrated.
- Gently moving your baby's arms and legs to keep their body and digestion active
How are Piles (Hemorrhoids) diagnosed in Children?
In most cases, a gastroenterologist or proctologist will examine the external area of the anus or perform an internal anal exam to determine whether or not there is evidence of piles (hemorrhoids). A proctoscopy that allows the physician to see within the anus may diagnose internal piles because they are soft and cannot be distinguished from hemorrhoids on the skin's surface. If the disease is severe, a physician may recommend a colonoscopy, which is a procedure that allows examining the whole colon tract.
Difference between Piles (Hemorrhoids) and Anal Fissures
In addition to constipation, an anal fissure may cause you to worry that your child has hemorrhoids. The symptoms of the two conditions are quite similar. If you see blood when you wipe your baby to clean up stool, the chances are that it’s caused by an anal fissure and not hemorrhoids. You should contact your child's pediatrician for correct diagnosis and treatment if the stool is bloody.
Possibility of Piles (Hemorrhoids) in Children
Regardless of age or gender, hemorrhoids can affect anyone, but children are unlikely to have them. If you suspect that your infant has hemorrhoids, consult a doctor. To promote more comfortable and less stressful bowel movements, you must focus on your child's dietary habits, physical activity, and hydration.
Diseases have been a constant companion of humans throughout history. As a parent, if you notice that your child is in continuous pain after using the bathroom, there may be a problem. Since babies cannot communicate what is upsetting them, it is essential to be cautious and attentive for particular symptoms to determine whether or not your child has hemorrhoids.
Your child may have hemorrhoids if you see swelling or inflammation around their anus. Although this is a highly unusual occurrence, it should be taken seriously.