Hirschsprungs Disease

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Hirschsprungs Disease is one of the forms of megacolon condition that typically occurs in newborn babies. Megacolon itself is an abnormality which is related to the large intestine (also referred to as colon) where either all of the large intestine or just an insignificant part of it is dilated abnormally.

Said dilation is typically accompanied by a paralysis condition that affects the bowel’s peristaltic movements – in extreme cases, this condition may result in the consolidation of feces into a hard mass which blocks the colon.

In Hirschsprung’s, this condition happens because there is no nerve cells (also known as ganglion cells) present in the colon – when in fact, these ganglion cells are responsible for the proper function of large intestine.

Signs and symptoms of Hirschsprung’s disease

Various studies found that the Hirschsprung’s disease occurs in one in approximately 5,000 births and does not affect girls as often as it does the boys.

Although, judging from the statistics pulled by these studies, the percentage of newborns born into this world with this congenital disease present can be considered rather low – when 1 in 5,000 births is multiplied to cover the number of births in all parts of the world, the result is quite staggering.

Thus, it is important for expecting parents and anyone in general to understand the Hirschsprung’s disease and the signs as well as the symptoms. Below is a list of the common signs and symptoms:

  • Constant need of prescriptions to help sufferers stimulate bowel movements
  • Constant need of laxatives to loosen up stool in addition to the enemas
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Gassy abdominal area
  • Significant delay of height and weight increase
  • In more extreme cases, this condition may lead to anemia

Treatment for Hirschsprung’s disease

As parents, it’s normal to be worried when you find out your newborn is suffering from Hirschsprung’s disease. However, it is worth noting that the diagnosis is not the end of the world for you and your new addition to the family because there is a treatment available for your newborn depending on the severity of the disease.

Surgery is one of the options to treat Hirschsprung’s disease – your newborn’s pediatric surgeon will remove your newborn’s colon which contains the defected nerve cells. Once removed, the surgeon will then reattach the rectum of your newborn to the normal and healthy part of their colon. If the Hirschsprung’s disease is severe, however, your newborn may have to undergo colostomy after a period of time.

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