Parents, be encouraged -- hemorrhoids usually resolve without complication with proper treatment. Although it is not typically considered a severe health disorder and is not common in children, HemorrhoidsHemorrhoids.com points out that the condition can indicate other health concerns. Seek the advice of your child’s pediatrician as soon as you suspect he may have hemorrhoids.
Signs and Symptoms
External hemorrhoids are recognized as visibly swollen, irritated veins that resemble lumps around the anus. Internal hemorrhoids can’t usually be seen; however, straining can cause the hemorrhoid to be pushed through the anal opening, according to the Mayo Clinic website. Whether inside or out, treatable symptoms of hemorrhoids your baby may have include: bright red blood when using the bathroom; itching, swelling, burning, pain and inflammation inside and around the anus; painful lumps and discomfort near the anus; and/or leakage from the anus.
Possible Causes and Solutions
Your little one may be prone to developing hemorrhoids due to certain factors that cause weakened anal blood vessels to expand. When the vessels are unable to return to their normal size, a hemorrhoid can form. HemorrhoidsHemorrhoids.com states constipation is the most common cause. While straining is normal for your baby, if trying to have a bowel movement makes him cry, he may be constipated. Dr. Greene, author and father of four, advises letting gravity help by picking your baby up when you see him grunting, pushing or straining. Another technique is to gently hold his knees to his chest in a natural squatting position. Perfumes, dyes, soaps and synthetic material next to your baby's bottom can also irritate your baby’s sensitive skin and cause hemorrhoids. Gently cleaning this bottom with dye- and fragrance-free baby wipes or water, as well as using clothing detergents and body cleansers specifically created for babies can help. Avoid synthetics and opt for loose-fitting, white cotton diapers or underwear.
Your child’s doctor may advise over-the-counter products to ease your little one’s discomfort. Mayo Clinic states not to use them for more than a week unless your child’s doctor gives the OK, due to side effects such as skin rash, thinning or inflammation. Hemorrhoid creams, ointments and medicated pads can contain ingredients deemed safe for babies such as xylocaine, a topical analgesic, as well as comforting agents including aloe vera, vitamin E, dimethicone, white beeswax, witch hazel and zinc oxide, which reduce inflammation and temporarily sooth burning, itching and pain.
Soaking in a warm sitz bath may help sooth your baby's discomfort. Simply fill his bath with enough warm water to cover his bottom and abdomen when you see him straining. Comfort him with calming words and touch as he soaks -- the bath will help his muscles relax, possibly making it easier for him to pass a stool.
Providing your child with healthy foods that don’t cause constipation helps prevent and treat hemorrhoids. Dr. Greene advises pears, peaches, plums, peas, prunes and apricots to soften stools. He suggests avoiding foods that may constipate some babies -- possibly causing hemorrhoids -- including bananas, applesauce, rice cereal, carrots and squash. He adds that two ounces of apple or prune juice soften and keep stools comfortable, but advises that stubborn constipation should be discussed with your pediatrician.