What are the Causes of Hirschsprung Disease?

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Dec 10, 2014
Quick Bites

  • Hirschsprung’s disease affects the intestine.
  • Problem with passing stool takes place.
  • The condition is present at the time of birth.
  • Improper formation of nerves in colon causes the condition.

What is Hirschsprung Disease?

A condition which affects the large intestine and creates problem with passing stool is known as hirschsprung disease. The condition is present in an infant when they are born and it is a result of missing nerve cells in the muscles of part or all of the infant’s colon.

Hirschsprung Disease Causes

When an infant suffers from hirschsprung disease, they are usually unable to pass stool due to absent bowel movement in the first days after birth. When the condition is not severe, it may not be detected until later childhood.

What are the Symptoms of Hirschsprung Disease?

The signs and symptoms of hirschsprung disease depend on the severity of the condition. The symptoms can be usually seen shortly after the birth but at times they may not appear until later life. The most common symptom of hirschsprung disease is an infant’s inability to have bowel movement within 48 hours after the birth. The other signs and symptoms in newborns may include:

  • Swelling in the belly
  • Vomiting, which contains green or brown sunstance
  • Constipation or gas
  • Diarrhea

Hirschsprung Disease Causes

When the condition is detected in older children, the symptoms include:

  • Swollen belly
  • Chronic constipation
  • Gas
  • Inability to gain weight
  • Fatigue


What are the Causes of Hirschsprung Disease?

The cause of hirschsprung disease is not known till now. At times it is present in the family and in some cases it is associated with a genetic mutation.  The disease occurs when the nerve cells in the colon are unable to form properly. These nerve cells are important in the functioning of the colon. They control the regular muscle contractions that make the food move through the bowels.

Image courtesy: Getty Images

Read more on Hirschsprung Disease Causes and Risks.

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