(Congenital Megacolon; Colonic Aganglionosis)
DefinitionHirschsprung's disease is a rare disorder of the colon. It is present at birth. This disease causes problems with the movement within the colon. It usually affects the last 1-2 feet of the colon. Hirschsprung's can make it difficult to have effective bowel movements.
CausesThe colon is a muscular tube. It pushes waste to the rectum by squeezing then relaxing. Nerves tell the colon when to squeeze and when to relax.In Hirschsprung's disease, the nerve cells that tell parts of the colon to relax are missing. This means that parts of the colon never relax and fully open. This can make it difficult for the waste to move through the affected area.
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Risk FactorsFactors that may increase your child's chance of Hirschsprung's include:
- Family members with the disease
- Sex: male
- Presence of Down Syndrome
- Presence of other congenital defects
SymptomsSymptoms can differ by age.Symptoms found in newborns include:
- Failure to have a bowel movement within the first 48 hours of life
- Vomiting after eating
- Swelling of abdomen
- Severe constipation for most of their lives
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