AGANGLIONIC MEGACOLON - Overview, Facts, Types, Symptoms

AGANGLIONIC MEGACOLON

Aganglionic megacolon is a disorder that affects the colon and causes difficulty in passing feces. A shortage of nerve cells in the infant’s colon muscles causes the condition to be present from birth.

A baby with Aganglionic megacolon is typically unable to have a bowel movement days after the delivery. In mild instances, the disease may not be discovered till later in infancy. Furthermore, it is rarely diagnosed in adulthood.

The treatment involves surgery to bypass or take away the affected portion of the colon.

SYMPTOMS

The common symptoms of Aganglionic megacolon differ, depending on the severity of the condition. Symptoms typically occur immediately after delivery, although they might emerge later in life as well.

The most apparent indication is usually a newborn’s inability to make a bowel movement after 48 hours of delivery.

Symptoms for infants include:

  •       swollen abdomen
  •       Vomiting, particularly vomiting a brown or green liquid
  •       Constipation or bloating
  •       Diarrhea

Symptoms in older children include:

  •       Swollen abdomen
  •       Constant constipation
  •       Fatigue
  •       Gas

DIAGNOSIS

The doctor will examine your child and ask you questions regarding his or her bowel movements. The doctor may recommend any one of the following tests to make a precise diagnosis:

  •       Abdominal X-ray
  •       Anal manometry
  •       Biopsy

TREATMENT

Most patients with aganglionic megacolon are treated with surgery to help bypass the portion of the colon that lacks nerve cells. Additionally, there are two options for doing so: 

Pull-through surgery

During this process, the damaged part of the colon’s lining is taken. The normal part is then pulled from the inside of the colon and reconnected to the anus. Also, this is generally accomplished through the anus.

Ostomy surgery

Surgery may be performed in two stages on severely sick children.

First, the abnormal section of the colon is taken, and the upper, healthy portion of the colon is linked to an opening in the child’s abdomen made by the surgeon.

The stool will then excrete through the hole into a bag that connects to the end of the colon that extends through the opening in the belly (stoma). This enables the lower part of the intestines to recover.

Furthermore, a second operation is done after the colon has healed to hide the stoma and reattach the healthy section of the colon to the anus and rectum.

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