Digestive System Conditions
Below is a list of the most common digestive system conditions seen in children waiting for forever families. We provide the following information for reference purposes only and cannot attest to the accuracy of the information. We highly recommend speaking with an experienced physician for further details on each condition.
Common Digestive System Conditions
- Imperforate Anus
Other common names:
Imperforate anus affects 1 in 5,000 births and is slightly more common in boys. Any of the following can occur: the anal passage may be narrow or not in the normal location, a membrane may be present over the anal opening, the rectum (the end of the colon) may not connect to the anus, the rectum may connect to part of the urinary tract or the reproductive system though a passage called a fistula, or an anal opening is not present.
The exact cause of imperforate anus is unknown.
Approximately 50% of babies with imperforate anus have other medical problems. Some of the most common problems are with the spine, kidneys and urinary tract, heart, trachea and esophagus, and limb defects. Some children will become constipated and require a high-fiber diet and the use of laxatives prior to potty training. Children with imperforate anus can usually be successfully toilet trained. Many children gain bowel control more slowly. Depending on the type of malformation and the surgical repair, some children may not have good bowel control. Some specialized hospitals offer bowel management classes to help a child be in control.
Most children with anal atresia require surgery. Many have a colostomy for a short time, which is then reversed. After surgery children will need to receive anal dilations. This is done to slowly enlarge the opening.
Children with gastroschisis are born with a hole or weakness in the muscles of the abdominal wall that allows the internal organs to protrude.
Surgery is the only treatment. In most cases, the organs are slowly lowered into the abdomen and then surgery is done to close the opening.
Most children have no further problems once the defect in the abdominal wall is repaired.
Megacolon is a complication found with a bowel disease, an infection of the colon, or is present from birth. It is a life threatening enlargement of the colon. The enlarged colon does not have the nerve cells that help the intestinal muscles to move the stool. The stool becomes trapped in the colon, filling it, and causing it to expand to larger than normal. Symptoms are abdominal tenderness, abdominal pain, or a swollen abdomen. Dehydration, fever, a rapid heart rate, or constipation may be present. In older children the symptoms can include passing small watery stools, diarrhea, and lack of appetite.
A special high fiber diet, stool bulking or laxative medications may be necessary to assist with keeping the bowels moving. In acute cases, intravenous lines for fluid are usually administered to prevent dehydration and shock. Antibiotics may be given to prevent infection. Surgery may be required in severe cases.
Children with megacolon can usually go on to lead active and normal lives.
- Pyloric Stenosis
Pyloric stenosis is a narrowing in the area of the stomach that leads to the intestines. Babies with pyloric stenosis often have trouble gaining weight. The main symptom is vomiting that gets progressively worse. The vomiting usually happens immediately after feeding. The vomiting is not associated with a fever or illness. The child remains hungry after vomiting and would like to eat again. Dehydration can develop quickly. Although pyloric stenosis can occur in both boys and girls, it is more common in boys. Pyloric stenosis can run in families and primarily occurs in infants.
Pyloric stenosis is treated with surgery, which usually provides complete relief.