Treatment for Hirschprung disease depends on the severity of the disease and your child’s overall health. All children with the condition undergo procedures that help eliminate blocked stool, and ultimately, surgery to remove the portion of the intestine that is malfunctioning.
Most children who have treatment and surgery do very well and go on to have normal, healthy bowel function.
Irrigation to unblock the intestines
As a first step, doctors will irrigate the bowel to remove trapped waste and gas. The irrigation is done by inserting a tube through the anus to flush out the colon. In most cases, this successfully clears the intestines and provides immediate relief to the child. These irrigations are continued until surgery can be done.
The goals of surgery are to remove the diseased part of the large intestine, and to reconnect a healthy part of the intestine to the anus so that the body can pass waste normally. In most cases, the rectum and the sigmoid colon (the last parts of the large intestine) will need to be removed. Learn more
Some patients, particularly those whose entire colon is affected by Hirschsprung disease, may need an ileostomy for many months and sometimes years.
The ileostomy can cause the body to lose sodium, something that your child needs in order to absorb nutrients from what they eat. For that reason, children with an ileostomy are often prescribed sodium supplements by their doctor. Doctors will also monitor your child’s growth carefully to make sure that they are getting the nutrients they need to develop normally.