Every new parent hopes for a healthy baby. But some infants are born with challenges, problems that are known as congenital conditions. Hirschsprung\u2019s disease, also known as aganglionosis, is one such congenital condition. A disease of the large intestine, Hirschsprung\u2019s disease can cause constipation and intestinal blockages. Most cases of Hirschsprung\u2019s disease are identified soon after birth, although some children may not be diagnosed with it until they are older. The condition is about five times more common in boys than in girls and tends to occur in babies with other congenital disorders, such as Down syndrome.\nDid you know #Hirschsprungs disease is 5x more common in boys than girls? Click To Tweet\nA Gut Feeling?\nNormally, nerves located between the muscles in the gut trigger contractions called peristalsis, which move digested food and liquid through the intestines. People with Hirschsprung\u2019s disease are born without these cells (known as ganglia) in some parts of the large intestine, so they are unable to push waste through these areas. As a result, contents of the intestine back up, causing a blockage.\nHirschsprung\u2019s Disease Symptoms and Complications\nIn infants, Hirschsprung\u2019s disease can cause:\n\nFailure to pass a first stool within 48 hours of birth\nInfrequent but explosive stools\nVomiting\nPoor feeding\nPoor growth\n\nSymptoms in older children can include:\n\nConstipation\nSwollen abdomen\nGas\nFatigue\nMalnutrition\nSlow growth\n\nLeft untreated, Hirschsprung\u2019s disease can sometimes lead to inflammation, infection, or even rupture of the intestines.\nHirschsprung\u2019s Disease Treatment for Young Patients\nMost cases of Hirschsprung\u2019s disease are diagnosed soon after a baby is born when clinicians and parents notice that the infant hasn\u2019t passed a first bowel movement or meconium, the dark-green substance that forms the first stool that is passed following birth. In older babies and children, physicians may use a variety of tests to diagnose Hirschsprung\u2019s disease. These include:\n\nPhysical exam\nRectal biopsy\nContrast enema\n\nHirschsprung\u2019s disease surgery\nDoctors always recommend surgery to treat Hirschsprung\u2019s disease by taking out the sections of the intestines that lack ganglia. This involves surgically removing abnormal portions of the colon and rectum and then pulling the remaining healthy part of the colon down to the anus, where it is reattached. It may sound complicated, but this surgery is usually performed through the anus or with a laparoscope (thin flexible tube) and is minimally invasive.\nSymptoms of Hirschsprung\u2019s disease typically clear up after surgery, although a small number of children may still experience constipation, colitis, or fecal incontinence (loss of bowel control) on occasion. Your child\u2019s physician can tell you more about the condition and its treatment.\nTo learn more about Hirschsprung\u2019s disease and its treatment options, visit the Colorectal Center at Children\u2019s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC website.