For children born with anorectal defects or Hirschsprung disease, doctors are able to predict the potential for bowel control fairly accurately, even during infancy. Once a child’s reconstructive surgery has healed, physicians will evaluate several factors and give caregivers an idea of what to expect. This is particularly important to help parents set expectations around potty training, and to help them prepare for the need to adopt a long-term bowel management program.
Whether the prognosis for bowel control is considered good or poor, it’s important to note that most children who have undergone surgery to correct anorectal malformations or Hirshsprung disease will need some type of consistent dietary or medical intervention to prevent constipation or true fecal incontinence. The good news is that in most cases, good bowel control can be established, and these kids can go on to live confident, independent lives.
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