Hemorrhoids, also known as piles, are swollen blood vessels around the rectum and anus. These blood vessels become dilated and inflamed when excess pressure is applied while passing stools. Piles can occur internally or externally, and also cause bleeding, irritation, and pain near the rectal area (1).
Although it commonly occurs in adults, hemorrhoids could also happen in teenagers. In this MomJunction post, we tell you about the symptoms and causes for hemorrhoids in teenagers and ways to deal with them.
Symptoms Of Hemorrhoids In Teenagers
- Itching near the rectum.
- Burning sensation while passing bowels.
- Blood can be seen on the toilet paper or on the stools after defecation.
- Pain near the rectum area due to enlarged blood vessels.
- Discomfort in sitting for long periods due to soreness near the rectal region.
- Difficulty in passing bowels, having a feeling of obstruction near the rectum.
- The pain continues for two to three days, and the enlargement might continue for one or two weeks (2).
[ Read: Constipation In Children ]
Types Of Hemorrhoids
Some of the common observable symptoms of teenage Hemorrhoids include:
There are two types of hemorrhoids:
Internal: These are present inside the anal canal and are usually painless. However, bleeding is the most prominent symptom. This may further progress into prolapsed internal hemorrhoids, which are characterized by mild pain, fecal inconsistency, mucous discharge, and irritation of the skin around the anus.
External: When hemorrhoids hang out from the anus, then they are called external hemorrhoids. Based on the severity of the condition, these could be pushed back into the anus with fingers. These are painful and are tender to touch (3). External hemorrhoids could also contain a blood clot, which is known as thrombosed hemorrhoids. These are itchy and cause swelling and redness after defecation, along with a bluish color appearance around the anus.
Causes Of Hemorrhoids In Teenagers
- Chronic constipation
- Habitually sitting on the toilet for a long time
- Low dietary intake of fiber
- Less water intake
- Certain medications
- Obesity due to poor diet
- Family history of constipation
- Chronic diarrhea (4)
- Smartphone usage while on the toilet (5)
Your child’s doctor would inquire about the symptoms and medical history of your child and determine the presence of hemorrhoids. Sometimes, anorectoscopy (a tube-like instrument is used to perform a rectal examination) might be required.
In some teens, a speculum (duck-billed shaped instrument to examine a closed orifice in the body) examination could also be done.
Discomfort and emotional distress from your child’s behavior could also indicate hemorrhoids (4).
[ Read: Kidney Stones In Teens ]
Treatment For Hemorrhoids In Teenagers
Early identification can help treat hemorrhoids without surgery. Internal and prolapsed hemorrhoids could be managed with dietary and lifestyle changes. The doctor would examine your child’s condition and may prescribe the following home care treatments before going for medications or surgery.
Home Care Treatments
- If constipation is the cause of hemorrhoids, then increasing dietary fiber through high-fiber whole grains, such as wheat, oats, barley, and rye might help in the easy clearing of the bowels. This method might reduce the bleeding but may not relieve the pain and itching.
- Restricting the consumption of high-fat foods.
- Avoiding a sedentary lifestyle by encouraging them to go out and play or follow an exercise regime.
- Training your teenager to have proper toilet habits such as
- Have a regular habit of clearing the bowels every morning.
- Spending less time on the toilet seat.
- Strictly restricting the habit of using smartphones on the toilet seat.
- Instruct your child never to hold the urge to defecate as it might flare up the hemorrhoids.
- Increasing the intake of water could also help in relieving constipation.
- Wearing comfortable cotton underwear that is less likely to irritate and exacerbate existing hemorrhoids, thus helping them heal better.
- Changing the medications that might be causing diarrhea or constipation (4).
Usually, the pain and bleeding might subside within two to three days when the constipation is treated. Also, the swelling of the hemorrhoids might remain for a week. However, if the above measures are not helpful, and if the pain and bleeding are continuous, then you might have to visit a doctor.
When the dietary or lifestyle changes fail to relieve constipation, then your child’s doctor might prescribe medications.
- Topical ointments containing zinc oxide or petroleum jelly could form a film over the hemorrhoids and prevent further tearing and may also soothe the itching.
- Using suppositories to provide lubrication to the anal region.
- In the case of severe pain, your child’s doctor might prescribe painkillers such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or naproxen (6).
When the above options fail to provide relief, or if the hemorrhoids have been left untreated, then the doctor might prescribe surgery.
- Hemorrhoids are removed by surgery if they have become large and external, causing considerable discomfort.
- Surgery is also preferred in the case of thrombosed hemorrhoids, where the clot is removed to relieve pain.
[ Read: HeartBurn In Teens ]
Home Remedies For Hemorrhoids In Teenagers
Home remedies for hemorrhoids would be helpful when used along with the home care treatments. These may not be able to cure the hemorrhoids but might help in relieving the symptoms of hemorrhoids.
1. Sitz baths: These baths are recommended for people who have irritated, bruised, or broken skin in the anal region due to hemorrhoids. The baths help in cleansing, soothing, and increase blood circulation in the anal region, which might help in healing.
How to: You can use a sitz bath or your bathtub for this bath. Fill them with warm water and mix baking soda or salt. Make your child sit in it so that their bottom is immersed in the water (in case you are using a bathtub, instruct the child to lean backward so that the water can reach the whole bottom area). You may do it four times a day (7).
2. Cold compress: Applying an ice pack on the hemorrhoids provides vasoconstriction and might help in relieving the pain, itching, and inflammation due to hemorrhoids (8).
How to: You can soak a washcloth in cold water or apply an ice pack directly on your child’s anal region and leave it for 10 -15 minutes. Repeat this two to three times a day.
3. Squatting position: According to a study, the squatting position (keeping the knees close to the chest) while defecating is found to exert less strain on the recto-anal canal. It might help reduce the aggravation of hemorrhoids, and eventually might help them heal better (9).
How to: Place a small stool in front of the toilet seat and ask your child to place their legs on the stool while sitting on the toilet seat.
4. Radish: The juice from this vegetable is said to provide relief from hemorrhoids.
How to: Extract the juice of white radish and mix it with honey. Apply this mixture on the hemorrhoids and cover it with a cloth. Remove the cloth after 15 minutes. Repeat this once daily (10).
5. Banana: The sap from this plant has astringent properties and might help in relieving the pain caused due to hemorrhoids. Also, consuming the ripe fruit mixed with milk is said to relieve constipation.
How to: Extract the sap from a banana tree and apply it directly on the hemorrhoids (11).
Mash a ripe banana in a cup of milk and give this drink to your child three to four times a day (10).
6. Herbs: Herbal extracts of butcher’s broom, horse chestnut, white hazel are found to be effective in managing hemorrhoids. However, these need proper instructions from herbalists for their usage in children (12).
7. Aloe vera gel: In ancient Greek medicine, applying aloe vera gel on hemorrhoids was said to provide a soothing effect (13).
How to: Extract aloe vera gel from the plant and apply it on your child’s hemorrhoids and wash it off after 15 minutes. Repeat this two to three times a day.
[ Read: Appendicitis In Teens ]
Complications Of Hemorrhoids In Teenagers
Hemorrhoids in teenagers could be treated with some home care tips without any further complications. However, if there is a delay in identification or treating hemorrhoids, it may lead to the below conditions.
- Prolonged bleeding might lead to anemia.
- If there is a blood clot within the hemorrhoids, then it could be extremely painful and might require surgical removal.
Prevention Of Hemorrhoids In Teenagers
Hemorrhoids in teenagers occur mostly due to constipation or poor bathroom habits. You might be able to reduce the risk of hemorrhoids by making the teen eat fiber-rich food and training them to have proper bathroom habits.
Hemorrhoids could be a painful condition in teenagers, and most of them might feel embarrassed to talk about it. If you suspect your child of having hemorrhoids, then talk to them and make them understand that this condition is treatable, and they need not suffer in silence.
Do you have any experience to share on hemorrhoids in teenagers? Let us know in the comments section below.
2. Afra Karavelioglu, et al., Haemorrhoids in Children: A Retrospective Study; Journal of Contemporary Medicine
3. Zhifei Sun, and John Migaly, Review of Hemorrhoid Disease: Presentation and Management; Clinics in Colon and Rectal Surgery
4. Ramin Jamshidi; Anorectal Complaints: Hemorrhoids, Fissures, Abscesses, Fistulae; Clinics in Colon and Rectal Surgery
5. The Relationship Between Hemorrhoids and Smartphone Use in the Lavatory; Clinical Trials; US National Library of Medicine
6. Hemorrhoids; Mott’s Childrens’ Hospital
7. Having a Sitz Bath at Home; Patient Education- University Health Network
8. Luis Charua Guindic, Treatment of uncomplicated hemorrhoids with a Hemor-Rite® cryotherapy device: a randomized, prospective, comparative study; Journal of Pain Research
9. Ryuji Sakakibara et al., Influence of Body Position on Defecation in Humans; Research Gate
10. Hindustan Abdul Ahad et al., Herbal Treatment For Hemorrhoids; Research Gate
11. K. P. Sampath Kumar et al., Traditional and Medicinal Uses of Banana; Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry
12. Kathy Abascal and Eric Yarnell, Botanical Treatments for Hemorrhoids; Research Gate
13. Meika Foster, Duncan Hunter, and Samir Samman, Evaluation of the Nutritional and Metabolic Effects of Aloe vera; NCBI
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