There is a complete cycle that is very crucial for our existence. We eat food, it is digested in our digestive system and then we excrete it out as waste material. Excretion is sometimes taken as humor and sometimes it seems awkward but this process starts as soon as you are born and until your death. The very first stool that a baby passes out is known as meconium.
But in some cases, it may be hard for a baby to have a proper bowel movement this condition is known as Hirschprung’s disease. In this situation, nerve cells are absent in the large bowel.
Hirschprung’s disease is considered a congenital disease. It starts at the time of pregnancy and can be observed as soon as the baby is born. This can be due to a faulty diet consumed by the mother or other issues with the health of the mother during pregnancy. Some cases are reported due to faulty genes in the offspring.
The cause of Hirschprung’s disease is still unknown. Even though some researchers do believe that it is due to the disordering of DNA instructions. The disease Can be fatal, but modern surgery can cure the patients and allows the babies to live a normal life like other babies.
What are the causes of Hirschsprung’s disease?
It takes place in the babies during the very early stage or trimester of the pregnancy.
Typically, during the growth of a baby, the nerve cells are formed throughout the whole digestive tract. It starts from esophagus l, from mouth to abdomen, and finally to the rectum. A normal baby has up to five hundred million of these nerve cells. Besides these functions, these nerve cells allow the movement of the food throughout the digestive system.
The babies with Hirschprung’s disease have a prohibited growth of these nerve cells at the last part of the digestive system, just near the rectum and the anus. In some cases, these nerve cells are also absent in some other parts of the body rather than the digestive system.
This indicates that the body of the baby can’t feel any sensation or urge to pass out stool. That’s why the bowel contents remain in the body and cause blockage.
Almost five thousand newborn babies are reported to be affected by Hirschprung’s disease. Babies having congenital diseases like Down syndrome and cardiac issues have higher chances to develop this disease. If any of the parents especially the mother carrier code of this disease it can be passed to the children. Boys are at more risk than girls to develop Hirschsprung’s disease.
A Danish doctor named it Harald Hirschprung’s disease in the 19 century in 1888.
What are some common symptoms?
The symptoms of Hirschprung’s disease usually appear in the first six weeks of birth. The signs appear within forty-eight hours.
There might be swelling in the abdomen of the baby. Some other symptoms are:
- Difficulty in bowel movement: You should be worried and consult with the doctor if the baby does not pass stool in the starting days. The children (older) with this disease may have continuous chronic constipation.
- Diarrhea with blood: Enterocolitis, fatal infection of the colon may attack the babies with Hirschprung’s disease.
- Vomiting: The vomit may appear brown or green.
- In some children, the signs such as retarded growth, tiredness, and worse constipation may be seen.
What is the diagnosis and what are prescribed tests for Hirschprung’s disease?
If you observe any of the above-mentioned symptoms then you should consult your doctor without any delay. Hirschprung’s disease can be confirmed through the following tests:
- Contrast enema: It is also termed as barium enema. In this procedure, a doctor inserts a tube filled with a dye into the anus of the baby and moves it until it reaches the rectum. Then the doctor can have visibility of the rectum on the X=ray screen. The anesthesia is not necessary for this process.
- Contrast enema is done along with the Lower GI series, this is a group of tests performed on the GIT.
- Abdominal x-ray: This is the simple or standard x-ray technique. It enables the doctor to locate any possible blockage.
- Biopsy: A sample is taken from the tissues of the rectum. These tissues undergo testing in the laboratory for locating Hirschprung’s disease. Anesthesia might be given to determine the age and growth of the child.
- Anorectal manometry: In this method, a balloon-shaped thing is inserted into the rectum to test the response of the muscles. This method applies to older children only.
What are the possible treatments for Hirschsprung’s disease?
It is a very concerning situation. But if it is diagnosed earlier and proper treatment is provided it can be cured.
The surgeries are of two types:
- Pull through surgery
- Ostomy surgery
Your child may face the following issues after the surgery:
- Lack to control urination or feces
Enterocolitis, signs are rectal bleeding, temperature, nausea, and inflated belly.
If proper care is provided and a balanced diet is followed this issue can be resolved within one year. Some children may experience this issue now and then throughout their life.