Commonly occurring hemorrhoid symptoms include bloody bowel movements, rectal pain, sensitive lumps, itchiness and burning in the anal region, or protrusions during bowel movements. The discomfort felt by people with hemorrhoids is caused by swollen veins in the anal canal. While the exact cause is unknown, generally agreed upon sources of these swollen veins include excess straining to release stool due to constipation or diarrhea, sitting on the toilet for extended bouts of time, obesity, pregnancy, genetics, aging, or a low-fiber diet. The two types of hemorrhoids are internal and external, and it is possible for both to occur at the same time. Internal hemorrhoids are characterized by small, swollen veins in the wall of the anal canal, but the veins can become large and sagging and will bulge out of the anus. External hemorrhoids are hard lumps that are caused by clots under the skin. While hemorrhoids can be painful, neither type of hemorrhoid is usually a serious problem, although their presence can indicate that another condition is actually behind the discomfort.
Can Children Get Hemorrhoids?
Unfortunately, yes. Children can get hemorrhoids, but they occur much more frequently in adults. Hemorrhoid symptoms in kids mostly include bloody stools, constipation, or even a feeling of being full after just having a bowel movement. Constipation is the leading cause of hemorrhoids in children. It can cause hard stools to get stuck in the rectum, and the strain to eliminate these pieces results in uncomfortable hemorrhoids. When children withhold stool, their colons stretch and inflame nerves, leading to a painful sensation.
In order to rid a child of their hemorrhoid symptoms, an increase of fiber to their diets is crucial. The fiber will soften up the stool and make it easier to pass out of their systems. This should eliminate the strain and therefore reduce the occurrence of painful flare-ups. Water consumption should also be increased to keep their bodies hydrated, and a balanced, healthy diet and regular exercise can help to prevent future hemorrhoids from popping up. The afflicted area should be kept clean and dry. Warm baths and cold compresses can also help to alleviate pain. Over-the-counter hemorrhoid creams can also help with itching.
Can Hemorrhoids in Children Mean Something More?
When children get hemorrhoids, it can sometimes point to something more serious. While they mostly can be healed with hydration and fiber, hemorrhoids may be a symptom of another condition, like:
- Crohn’s disease – this inflames the lining of the digestive tract and causes diarrhea, bloody stool, skin and eye irritations, and weight loss.
- Irritable bowel syndrome – this can occur in childhood, and is characterized by abdominal pain and irregular bowel movements. As a gastrointestinal problem, it too can cause hemorrhoids to occur.
- Juvenile polyps – this is a common condition in children, which are growths in the lining of the intestines and in the stomach that cause diarrhea, bloody stool, cramps, and anemia.
If a child is experiencing hemorrhoids, the best way to be sure that he or she doesn’t have a more serious condition would be to schedule a visit to the pediatrician to check that everything is normal. This is especially recommended if hemorrhoids are occurring frequently. However, most of the time the presence of hemorrhoids is just a normal part of life that everyone would like to put behind them.