Dr. Nazmul Hasan. BHMS, MS(Microbiology)
Hirschsprung’s disease is a condition that affects the large intestine (colon) and causes problems with passing stool. It is a congenital clinical condition due to lack or absent of peristalsis motion in the large colon.
A newborn who has Hirschsprung’s disease is usually unable to have a bowel movement in the early days after birth. In mild cases, the condition might not be detected until later in childhood. It is more common in male then female children, in a 4:1 ratio.
It’s not clear what causes Hirschsprung’s disease. It sometimes occurs in families and may in some cases be associated with a genetic mutation.
Hirschsprung’s disease occurs when nerve cells in the colon don’t form completely. Nerve cells are critical to the functioning of the colon. They control the regular muscle contractions that keep food moving through the bowels.
As a baby develops before birth, bundles of nerve cells (ganglia) normally begin to form between the muscle layers along the length of the colon. This process begins at the top of the colon and ends at the bottom (rectum). In children who have Hirschsprung’s disease, the nerve-growing process fails to finish. Most commonly, ganglia fail to form (Aganglia) in the last segment of the colon — the rectum and the sigmoid colon. Sometimes aganglia affects the entire colon and even part of the small intestine.
Sign & Symptoms
Signs and symptoms in newborns may include:
- Swollen belly
- Vomiting, including vomiting a green or brown substance
- Constipation or gas, which might make a newborn fussy
In older children, may include:
- Swollen belly
- Chronic constipation
- Profuse Gas, with or without eructation
- Failure to gain body weight
Tests and diagnosis
- Abdominal X-ray using a contrast dye. Barium or another contrast dye is placed into the bowel through a special tube inserted in the rectum. The barium fills and coats the lining of the bowel, creating a clear silhouette of the colon and rectum. The X-ray will often show a clear contrast between the narrow section of bowel without nerves and the normal but often swollen section of bowel behind it.
- Measuring control of the muscles around the rectum. A manometry test is typically done on older children and adults. During the manometry test, the doctor inflates a balloon inside the rectum. The surrounding muscle should relax as a result. If it doesn’t, Hirschsprung’s disease may be the cause.
- Removing a sample of colon tissue for testing. Removing a sample of tissue for testing (biopsy) is the surest way to identify Hirschsprung’s disease. A biopsy sample can be collected using a suction device and is done on an outpatient basis, meaning it doesn’t require a hospital stay.
Children who have Hirschsprung’s disease are prone / susceptible to a serious infection of the intestines called enterocolitis.
Enterocolitis is caused by stool backing up behind the immobile section of colon. The stagnant mass of stool provides a fertile environment for bacteria to grow. As the stool mass expands, it presses on the blood vessels in the walls of the colon. Decreased blood flow can lead to a breakdown of the lining of the colon (mucosa), making it susceptible to infection.
Enterocolitis can be a life-threatening complication. It’s treated in the hospital with colon cleaning and antibiotics.
Treatments and drugs
In modern medicine, these patients are treated with various purgatives and laxatives but no permanent and sustainable results found yet. These patients are advised to surgery invariably, at suitable time of the individual.
Hirschsprung’s disease is treated with surgery to bypass the part of the colon that has no nerve (ganglia) cells. The lining of the diseased part of the colon is stripped away, and normal colon is pulled through the colon from the inside and attached to the anus. This is usually done using minimally invasive (laparoscopic) methods, operating through the anus.
Results of surgery
After successful surgery, the child pass stool normally — although some may experience diarrhea initially and may persist longer.
Toilet training may take longer because children have to learn how to coordinate the muscles used to pass stool. Long term, it’s possible to have continued constipation, swollen belly and leaking of stool (soiling).
Children continue to be at risk of developing
- Bleeding from the rectum
- Swollen abdomen
Scope of Homeopathic Medicine
From the above article we can easily understand that Hirschsprung’s is a complicated clinical condition, which could be controlled with various homeopathic medicine. The symptoms are similar to Alumina, Acid Nit, Arnica, Bryonia Alb, Cina, Ferrum Met, Hydrastis Can, Medorrhinum, Nat Mur, Podophylum, Opium, Sulfur, Syphylinum, Thuja occ, Tuberculinum etc.
If the patient treated with care, he will be cured within a considerable short time and can avoid the ineffectual surgery and hazards onward.