Congenital Megacolon: Main Causes, Symptoms and Treatments

There are certain conditions that are imposed on us, even against our will. When we are born with some diseases, for example, we do not want them to stay with us, but when one of our children is born with some disease we strongly hope that this problem will be resolved as soon as possible.

Unfortunately some of these problems cannot be solved, but most of them can be alleviated. This is the case of congenital megacolon , a condition in the large intestine in which the baby is already born with it.

And despite its severity, there are ways to eliminate it completely. Let’s talk more deeply about this condition and what are the attitudes to be taken in relation to it.

What is Congenital Megacolon?

Also called Hirschprung’s disease, congenital megacolon is a condition of birth, where the functioning of the baby’s large intestine is compromised due to the absence of nerve fibers.

This is due to a dilation in the intestine, hence the name of the disease: Mega (large), Colon (large intestine). The consequence of this is the accumulation of feces, which ends up causing an even greater dilation in the organ. Despite occurring in the vast majority of babies, the disease can manifest itself in older children or even in adolescents.

The disease has the name of Hirschprung, in honor of the Danish doctor Harald Hirschsprung, who was the first to describe this case, in 1886, in two children who had the problem. However, it was only after the 1940s that the first forms of effective treatments began to appear.

What are the Causes of Congenital Megacolon?

Congenital megacolon is a very rare disease, occurring in about 1 in 5,000 babies. This condition may have to do with genetic factors , but this is not always the determining factor.

It is clear that family history and certain genetic alterations such as Down’s Syndrome, for example, may indeed contribute to a baby being born with a congenital megacolon, but in many cases the genetic defect changes only that part of the intestine.

Symptoms of Inborn Megacolon

The first signs that a baby may have the congenital megacolon is when it does not evacuate within the first 48 hours of life. During this period, the baby is under suspicion and observation until the disease is proven or not.

Green colored vomiting, feces that come out only with medical procedures (and sometimes with blood) are also symptoms that indicate the congenital megacolon.

How is Congenital Megacolon Diagnosed?

When observing all the symptoms and doing physical examinations with the baby, doctors will subject him to some types of tests so that the diagnosis is made correctly. These exams are:

  • Biopsy
  • Manometry
  • Enema Opaco

Let’s talk about each of them in a little more detail so that you understand how they work and how they can indicate the disease.

Biopsy

It is a very common type of test in many situations and it is also the one that can diagnose congenital megacolon more accurately. It consists of removing a small part of the large intestine for analysis under a microscope. If the baby does not have ganglion cells, it will mean that he has the congenital megacolon.

Manometry

It is an exam done to test pressures exerted by the muscles of the anus and rectum. It basically consists of a balloon that is inserted into the baby’s anus so that the doctor can make these measurements.

Enema Opaco

And it is a radiographic exam, which consists of the insertion of a type of liquid in the colon, made through the anus, so that the doctor can analyze the baby’s abdomen.

Other tests such as a simple x-ray of the abdomen may also be ordered by the doctor for a more accurate analysis.

Treatment of Congenital Megacolon

The treatment of congenital megacolon is done through surgery. Firstly, through a small colostomy surgery, which will allow the baby’s feces to escape through a small bag that is stuck to his belly.

When the baby is older and with a slightly more evolved body, at around 10 or 11 months , a definitive surgery is performed with the removal of part of the intestine and reconstruction of the intestinal tract.

If the baby is healthy and the colon is not full of feces, it is possible that the definitive surgery will be done without the need for provisional surgery, however, this is something that happens rarely.

Possible Complications

Congenital megacolon, when left untreated, can generate a series of complications such as perforation or intestinal obstruction, which can lead to a series of inflammations in other organs, in addition to the risk of toxic conditions that can lead to death. Because it is so dangerous, this is a disease that needs to be observed and treated as soon as possible.

There are many diseases of birth and they will inevitably raise concerns in parents. It is common for us to be frightened by the situation, but it is also necessary to understand that there is a way out, that there is a treatment and that all this can be done with peace of mind.

Visiting the necessary doctors and strictly following the steps necessary for the treatment to be carried out is the best way to prevent the congenital megacolon from becoming a nightmare in your life. No matter what the severity of the case, it is necessary that there is always a lot of attention and thus, even the most serious cases improve.

See also: What is and how the baby’s

Dr. Alexis Hart
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My name is Dr. Alexis Hart I am 38 years old, I am the mother of 3 beautiful children! Different ages, different phases 16 years, 12 years and 7 years. In love with motherhood since always, I found it difficult to make my dreams come true, and also some more after I was already a mother.

Since I imagined myself as a mother, in my thoughts everything seemed to be much easier and simpler than it really was, I expected to get pregnant as soon as I wished, but it wasn’t that simple. The first pregnancy was smooth, but my daughter’s birth was very troubled. Joana was born in 2002 with a weight of 2930kg and 45cm, from a very peaceful cesarean delivery but she had already been born with congenital pneumonia due to a broken bag not treated with antibiotics even before delivery.

Dr. Alexis Hart

My name is Dr. Alexis Hart I am 38 years old, I am the mother of 3 beautiful children! Different ages, different phases 16 years, 12 years and 7 years. In love with motherhood since always, I found it difficult to make my dreams come true, and also some more after I was already a mother.Since I imagined myself as a mother, in my thoughts everything seemed to be much easier and simpler than it really was, I expected to get pregnant as soon as I wished, but it wasn’t that simple. The first pregnancy was smooth, but my daughter’s birth was very troubled. Joana was born in 2002 with a weight of 2930kg and 45cm, from a very peaceful cesarean delivery but she had already been born with congenital pneumonia due to a broken bag not treated with antibiotics even before delivery.

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