Hirschsprung's Disease - Symptoms
Hirschsprung's disease vary depending on the child's
age, when the symptoms are recognized, the amount of
intestine affected, and whether complications are
In a newborn (birth to age 1
month), the major signs and symptoms include:
- A delay in passing the first stool (meconium) after birth. Healthy newborns usually pass
stool within the first 24 hours after birth. A delay is common in
- Constipation. The newborn does not have
regular bowel movements.
- Refusing to
- A swollen abdomen, which may cause the baby to breathe fast
and grunt when breathing.
In an infant (age 1 month to 1
year), the major signs and symptoms include:
- Slower-than-expected weight
- A swollen
- Episodes of diarrhea and vomiting.
In a child (age 1 year or older),
the major signs and symptoms include:
- Constipation, with the passage of ribbon-like,
foul-smelling stool or with large amounts of hard stool becoming stuck in and
large intestine (impaction).
- A swollen abdomen.
appetite and poor growth.
A serious condition called Hirschsprung's-associated
enterocolitis (HAEC) may occur in some children who have Hirschsprung's
disease. The small and large intestines may become
inflamed. And a hole (perforation) may form in the
large intestine, causing stool to leak inside the abdomen. Emergency surgery may be needed.
Other conditions with similar symptoms
include a tumor or
cyst on or in the intestines or a blockage that occurs
when meconium becomes stuck in the baby's bowel (meconium plug