Anal Fissures in Children
An anal fissure is a small split or tear in the thin moist tissue, lining the lower rectum or anus. Anal fissures in children are common with more than 90% of children with blood in their stools diagnosed as having an anal fissure. Baby anal fissures are especially likely.
The symptoms of anal fissures in children are:
- Bright red blood in the stool
- A few streaks or flecks of blood in the stool
- The blood appears on the surface of the bowel movement or on the toilet tissue after wiping.
- Your child passes either a large stool or a hard stool just before the blood is visible.
- Your child cries out in pain when having a bowel movement and/or for some time afterwards.
- A shallow tear at the opening of the anus may sometimes be visible when your child's buttocks are spread apart.
- Touching the tear causes mild pain.
Anal fissures are a common problem in children younger than one year, often affecting as many as 8 out of 10 babies. The rate of anal fissures decreases rapidly with age. They become much less common among school aged children.
These often painful anal fissures are usually caused by injury to the anal canal during the passing of a large or hard bowel movement. Of course injury could also be caused if the child was being sexually abused and it is important to be aware of that. Any bleeding from the fissure will stop on its own within 5 to 10 minutes of a bowel movement while the fissure itself will usually heal within a couple of days.
You can help your baby or child to heal by the following good home care treatment:
- Warm saline baths for up to 20 minutes 3 times per day. Add 2 ounces of table salt or baking powder to a bath or basin of warm water for you child to sit in. Avoid soap on the affected area and gently pat dry after the soaking.
- After a bowel movement, clean the area gently with warm water or use a fragrant- free baby wipe. Do not use dry toilet paper until the fissures have healed.
- Use a natural product to soothe and treat the symptoms. H-Fissures Formula can be used on children from the age of 4 years for a safe and gentle solution.
- Increase the fiber in your child's diet with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, legumes and whole wheat products while cutting down on dairy to make sure he or she does not become constipated. You may need to use a mild laxative or stool softener for a few days as a temporary measure.
- Encourage your child to drink plenty of liquids especially water. Although most fluid will pass out as urine, some ends up in the gut and softens the feces.
Anal fissures in children can sometimes cause an additional problem when they become aware that passing a stool is going to be painful. They then tend to hold on, resisting the urge to have a bowel movement which means even larger and harder feces can form that cause even more pain when they are finally eliminated. This is why in some cases it becomes necessary to use a laxative to ensure soft, loose fissures while the healing process takes place.