Hirschprung’s Disease

What is Hirschprung’s Disease?

This fairly rare bowel disorder (occurring once in each 5000 to 10,000 births, predominantly in males) means that there is a persistent chronic obstruction in the large bowel due to a failure of peristalsis. This means the waves of contraction fail to carry on along the full length of the bowel. This is accompanied by excessive dilation of the bowel, which fills with fecal material. It may persist for many years.

Hirschprung’s Disease Symptoms

In newborn babies it may present as an intestinal obstruction. Constipation and vomiting may occur. But it may continue into adult life, particularly if the length of affected bowel is small. Obstinate constipation may be the only symptom in an affected adult. In some instances of adult disease, the presenting symptom may be an enormous mass welling up from the pelvis, similar to a woman in mid-pregnancy. When it occurs in a male, the diagnosis of Hirschprung’s disease quickly comes to mind.

Hirschprung’s Disease Treatment

The sooner surgical correction of the disability takes place the better. It is especially important in the young, where deterioration of the general condition may occur if treatment is postponed. In adults, treatment is surgical, the affected part being resected (removed) and the ends rejoined. A good, functional result occurs in most cases.