My Symptoms

Constipated baby: related to a disease, an occlusion?

Diseases that cause severe constipation of infants are rare. When an infant presents with constipation, in the first days of his life, doctors will think of a possible Hirschsprung's disease.

Although it is rare, it is the most common pathology involved in constipation. It is an aganglionosis, an abnormality of the nervous system affecting the digestive tract (it is an absence of ganglions innervating the colon). Indeed, in the tissues surrounding the colon (large intestine), there is a network of nerve ganglia that governs intestinal motility.

In the case of Hirschsprung's disease, these ganglia are absent. Intestinal motility is therefore nil and can lead to bowel obstruction. In most cases, the occlusion is neonatal. But it can happen that forms of the disease are of later appearance. It is therefore a pathology that must be considered in the case of severe constipation.

The treatment is surgical : it will consist in introducing a fine probe in the rectum, at first, and eventually to set up an "artificial anus" by skin contact, a portion of the colon pending final intervention .
The other diseases are even rarer: possible anal malformations, or hypothyroidism (a decrease in the functioning of the thyroid gland, which is routinely screened at birth). Or a stenosis of the intestine (decrease in the caliber of the intestine), neurological causes.

And an occlusion?

In case of constipation, many parents dread ... an occlusion problem. In fact, in very young children, bowel obstruction is usually a specific problem that has nothing to do with progressive constipation.

In infants, intestinal obstruction is often caused by intussusception.

The signs are usually crying related to abdominal pain, vomiting, refusal to eat, pallor, poor general condition of the child, even blood in the stool ... Sometimes these symptoms occur by episodes .

Urgent medical advice is required.

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