Newborns can have different types of marks like stork bites and port-wine stains on their bodies. Some of these birthmarks can be really shocking on the basis of their shape, size, location, and color. One such birthmark that can be really upsetting is the strawberry hemangioma. Now the question is, what is it? Is hemangioma dangerous?
Here is all you need to know about strawberry birthmarks, including hemangioma causes, treatment, complications, and appearance.
What is Strawberry Hemangioma?
A strawberry hemangioma is a red birthmark, also known as the strawberry mark, strawberry nevus, or infantile hemangioma. It is a birthmark and a noncancerous tumor that is not worrisome.
Strawberry hemangioma is caused by some small blood vessels that bunch together in the top layer of the skin. It usually develops when the baby is developing in the mother’s womb. The clump grows after the baby is born.
Strawberry birthmark is a pink or red birthmark that includes patches on the baby’s skin that are raised or flat.
They sometimes look like strawberries, that is why they are also known as strawberry marks. They can be large or small and commonly appear on the head or neck. However, they can also be found on the limbs or torso, anywhere else on the body.
READ MORE: What is a Baby Growth Spurt?
A baby can be born with hemangioma; however, it is more likely that they show up in the initial few weeks after birth. It usually appears in the first month after birth as a tiny mark. It looks like a pale spot or small bruise on the skin.
A strawberry hemangioma grows very quickly during the first three to six months. It gets redder as it grows.
The growth of the strawberry mole slows down after the first six months.
However, it continues to grow until the baby is ten to twelve months old. The mark begins to fade out between one year to eighteen months. First, it shrinks down and then finally fades.
SIGH OF RELIEF: Hemangioma almost goes away by the time your kid is ten years old.
Strawberry hemangiomas are common. According to studies, they affect around 4 to 5% of babies, or they are found in 1 in 20 babies.
There is no clarity why babies get strawberry birthmark; however, certain studies show that it is more likely to appear in babies who are-
- Caucasian child
- Firstborn child
- Low-birth weight
Strawberry birthmarks are also common in the below-mentioned situations.
- Advanced maternal age
- Placenta previa
- Family history
- Use of fertility medications
Researchers are still trying to find strong evidence about the major causes of the strawberry nevus.
At present, there is no strong evidence that they are caused due to any specific activity, environmental exposure, or food consumption during pregnancy.
The doctor might notice hemangioma on your baby’s skin as soon as you visit him; however, you might notice it first. If you see any red birthmark on your child’s skin, then visit a doctor to make sure it is strawberry hemangioma or not.
Doctors can monitor the mark as it grows and fades. You can also visit a pediatric dermatologist for a diagnosis of strawberry hemangioma. The doctor might be able to provide you a diagnosis for strawberry nevus by examining the spot on the baby.
ALSO READ: How to Discipline a Toddler?
Concerns Related to Infantile Hemangioma
A strawberry mark might grow like a tumor; however, it is not cancer and will also not spread like it. You do not need to worry as there are rare complications (Source).
Below mentioned are some of the cases in which you should notify a doctor.
- It is growing very quickly
- It is interfering with the breathing of your baby
- It looks infected
- It is bleeding regularly
- It is on the eye of your baby and blocking the vision
- There are many hemangiomas on the body of your baby
If the hemangioma present on your baby’s present is a cosmetic concern and not a medical issue, then it is better to let it fade naturally.
Nevertheless, the doctor will suggest a treatment on the basis of the below-mentioned factors.
- How big the mark is
- On which part of the body the hemangioma is present
- How fast the mark is growing
- How many marks are present on the body
- Is the mark causing complications
- Age of your baby
- Your concerns related to the mark and treatment plan
You might not have a choice regarding the treatment. You should opt for treatment only if the hemangioma is causing issues in the health and development of your baby. Or the size of the mark and its location is causing issues with-
- Vision – In most cases, strawberry hemangioma that is present near the eye does not affect the eyesight of your baby. In addition to this, it also does not impair the growth of eyes. However, if it causing, issues then the doctor will suggest treatment.
- Breathing – A strawberry mark near the larynx or throat can block the airway and cause trouble in breathing.
- Elimination – Strawberry hemangioma present in the diaper area might affect the baby’s ability to urinate freely or move the bowels.
- Talking or Eating – A big strawberry mole present on the mouth of a baby might cause trouble with speech or eating as your child grows up.
READ MORE: Is Allergy in Kids a Common Thing?
Common Treatment for Strawberry Hemangioma
Below mentioned are some common treatments for infantile hemangioma.
- Oral medicines
- Freezing with the help of liquid nitrogen
- Laser treatment
- Injections having steroid medicine
NOTE: In case you leave the mark to let it go away on its own, then it will go away entirely without any mark or scar left behind. Nevertheless, some strawberry marks do not go away entirely, and some might leave a scar, discolored skin, or lose the left-behind skin.
Some leftovers of strawberry marks might need surgery or additional treatment to repair. A leftover or scar might also remain after laser treatment, injections, medication, or surgery. Nevertheless, the right treatment can help in reducing the scar.
Usually, strawberry marks are not a reason for concern. Nevertheless, if you notice a strawberry mark on your baby’s body, it would be better to visit a doctor to have it checked. There are fewer complications, but they can happen.
Below mentioned are some problems that can develop from a hemangioma.
- Open Sore – An open sore is also known as an ulcer. It can form from injury or rubbing. Ulcers can lead to other complications like infection, scarring, pain, and bleeding.
- Infection – Different bacteria can enter the baby’s body from the opening that is present on the skin.
- Pain – Strawberry hemangiomas are not painful. Nevertheless, if they grow large, they can become painful. They can also interfere with the function of your body; they can become infected and cause the skin to break down.
- Bleeding – In some cases, hemangioma gets bumped, injured, or scratched, which in turn leads to bleeding.
- Underlying Condition – If there are multiple hemangiomas on your baby’s body, then the doctor will suggest further testing to check for underlying health issues.
- Scarring – Strawberry hemangiomas can cause the formation of a scar. There would be higher chances of scarring if there was an injury, infection, bleeding, or an ulcer. In some cases, treatment can also lead to scarring.
How to Cope if Your Child has Strawberry Hemangioma
If your little one has a strawberry mark on his or her neck, face, ear, arms, or head, one of the most difficult things that you will have to deal with is the reaction of other people.
Unfortunately, some people will ask questions or stare. It is obvious that you would want to protect your little one, and dealing with people’s reactions can be difficult. However, you can handle it.
Below mentioned are some ways to deal with people’s reactions.
Try to be Understanding
In many cases, some people and especially children, look at your baby for a longer time. They do it for curiosity instead of being judgmental or rude.
People might even not have the realization that they were looking at your baby for a long time. They might be trying to understand what they are looking at. If you think of it in this way, it will cause less trouble.
If anyone is staring, you can say hello and start the interaction. You can also ask them if they have any questions. You can also educate them about the condition of your child. It will help in saving some other family from the situation of dreaded stare.
Some people are rude and judgemental, and you can not do anything about it. In such a situation, all you need to do is take a deep breath and forget about them.
Don’t Let it Stop You
Don’t let people stop you from going out with your little one. You should spend time with your kid and enjoy yourself with him or her.
Cherish Your Baby
Your baby is beautiful and precious, just the way he or she is. No one can change how much your child is precious to you.
You should normally go out with your kid, take pictures, play with your little one and do all things that you would do with your baby normally.
You should spend time with friends and family who love you and your kid. They can help you in this situation. Other mothers who have faced the same situation can also help you. It can be really difficult sometimes, but always remember that strawberry hemangioma is not permanent, and it will go away with time.
Take Care of Emotional Health
If you are a new parent, then there are various tips for new parents you must know. They help you to take care of your kids in an appropriate manner.
Many parents opt for treating the baby’s mark, even if it is not causing any health issues. Hemangioma on the face of your baby can be upsetting, as it changes the appearance of your little one. It can also lead your kid to emotional stress.
If the hemangioma is present on the body, you can use clothes to hide it. However, if it is one the face of your baby, it would be easily visible.
As your baby grows and starts going to school, a different look can cause bullying or make it difficult for your baby to interact with people. When you think about the treatment, it is essential for you to consider how strawberry hemangioma might affect your baby’s self-esteem and future experiences.
It can be difficult to deal with other people’s reactions when strawberry hemangiomas begin to grow. However, thankfully, they are painless and harmless, and they rarely cause any complications. Hemangiomas begin to shrink after a year, and they fade on their own. In case your baby faces any complications, visit a doctor to ask questions. Support your baby in every situation and make a personalized plan in order to take care of the needs of your baby.