This site is intended for healthcare professionals

Go to /sign-in page

You can view 5 more pages before signing in

Clinical features

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

Authoring team

Hirschsprung's disease usually manifests itself in the immediate neonatal period by the failure of passage of meconium followed by obstructive constipation with abdominal distension and vomiting. 98% of normal infants pass meconium within the first 24 hours of life as opposed to just 6% of those with aganglionosis.

The symptoms are relieved by rectal examination which usually produces large quantities of gas and faeces.

In some instances, when only a small segment of the rectum is affected, the build up of pressure may permit the occasional passage of stools, even intermittent bouts of diarrhoea.

In unrecognised cases of Hirschsprung's disease - usually in older children - putrefaction with foul-smelling liquid faeces occurs and occasionally this is associated with a severe diarrhoea due to colitis.

If the condition is mild, then the symptoms may comprise a chronic and severe constipation, with gross abdominal distension that may continue unrecognised until childhood. Failure to thrive is common in this group. It is unlikely, however, that constipation will have developed later than one month of age, and careful history taking usually reveals this.

Related pages

Create an account to add page annotations

Add information to this page that would be handy to have on hand during a consultation, such as a web address or phone number. This information will always be displayed when you visit this page

The content herein is provided for informational purposes and does not replace the need to apply professional clinical judgement when diagnosing or treating any medical condition. A licensed medical practitioner should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions.


Copyright 2024 Oxbridge Solutions Limited, a subsidiary of OmniaMed Communications Limited. All rights reserved. Any distribution or duplication of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited. Oxbridge Solutions receives funding from advertising but maintains editorial independence.