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Hirschsprung's disease is a birth defect in which certain nerve
cells in a part of the large intestine are missing, and the muscles in that
area can't relax. Because the muscle contractions that normally push food and
digestive waste through that area can't occur, stool gets trapped, and
inflammation and constipation develop.
Hirschsprung's disease may be a sudden, life-threatening condition,
or it may be a long-term problem that is less serious but harder to
diagnose. Symptoms of Hirschsprung's disease include intermittent vomiting,
diarrhea, fever, and a severely swollen belly. It is usually diagnosed in
infancy. If it is not diagnosed until later in life, other symptoms may appear,
such as loss of appetite, lack of the urge to pass stools, and poor overall
Hirschsprung's disease is treated with surgery to remove the
affected part of the intestine.
Current as of:
September 9, 2014
John Pope, MD - Pediatrics & Brad W. Warner, MD - Pediatric Surgery
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