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What are the symptoms of Hirschsprung disease (HD)?

The main symptoms of Hirschsprung Disease (HD) are constipation or intestinal obstruction, usually appearing shortly after birth. Constipation in infants and children is common and usually comes and goes, but if your child has had ongoing constipation since birth, HD may be the problem.

Newborns with HD almost always fail to have their first bowel movement within 48 hours after birth. Other symptoms include green or brown vomit, explosive stools after a doctor inserts a finger into the rectum, swelling of the belly, lots of gas and bloody diarrhea.

Symptoms of HD in toddlers and older children include not being able to pass stools without laxatives or enemas. A laxative is medicine that loosens stool and increases bowel movements. An enema is performed by flushing water, or sometimes a mild soap solution, into the anus using a special wash bottle. Other symptoms are swelling of the abdomen, lots of gas, bloody diarrhea, slow growth or development and lack of energy because of a shortage of red blood cells, called anemia.

This answer is based on source information from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.