Anal Pain in Children: Care Instructions

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Your Care Instructions

Pain in the opening to the rectum (anus) can be caused by diarrhea or constipation. Scratching a rectal itch can also cause pain. Another common cause is a tear in the lining of the lower rectum. This is called an anal fissure. This type of anal pain often goes away when the problem clears up. Injury from an object being placed in the rectum also can cause pain. A rare cause of anal pain is spasms of the muscles in the rectum. Some of these conditions may cause some light bleeding.

Home treatment often relieves anal pain. If your child continues to have anal pain, your doctor may prescribe medicine to relieve pain and other symptoms. Depending on the cause, your child may need other treatment.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.

How can you care for your child at home?

  • Have your child sit in 8 to 10 centimetres of warm water (sitz bath) 3 times a day and after bowel movements. The warm water eases soreness. Do not put soaps, salts or shampoos in the water.
  • Give your child lots of fluids, enough so that the urine is light yellow or clear like water.
  • Include high-fibre foods, such as fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains, in your child's diet each day.
  • If your doctor suggests it, have your child take a fibre supplement (such as Benefibre or Metamucil) every day. Read and follow all instruction on the label.
  • Have your child use the toilet when he or she feels the urge. Or when you can, schedule toilet time each day for your child's bowel movement. A daily routine may help. Ask your child to take time and not strain when having a bowel movement. Do not let your child sit on the toilet too long.
  • Support your child's feet with a small step stool when he or she sits on the toilet. This helps flex your child's hips and places the pelvis in a squatting position.
  • Your doctor may recommend an over-the-counter laxative, such as Ex-Lax or Milk of Magnesia. Read and follow all instructions on the label when you give it to your child. Don't use laxatives on a long-term basis.
  • Do not use over-the-counter ointments or creams on your child without talking to your doctor. Some of these may not help.
  • Use baby wipes or medicated pads, such as Preparation H or Tucks, instead of toilet paper to clean your child after a bowel movement. These products do not irritate the anus.
  • Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label. If the doctor gave your child a prescription medicine for pain, give it as prescribed. If your child is not taking a prescription pain medicine, ask your doctor if your child can take an over-the-counter medicine. Do not give aspirin to anyone younger than 18. It has been linked to Reye syndrome, a serious illness.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think your child may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • Your child passes out (loses consciousness).

Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • Your child has a fever.
  • Your child has swelling, a lump, a sore, or a new growth in or around the anus.
  • Your child's stools are black and tar-like or have streaks of blood.

Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:

  • Your child does not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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