What Causes Hirschsprungs Disease

What Causes Hirschsprungs Disease

It’s not clear what causes Hirschsprung’s disease. Doctors know that Hirschsprung’s disease occurs when nerve cells that surround the colon don’t form completely.

Normally, as a baby grows in the womb, bundles of nerve cells (ganglia) 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 with Hirschsprung’s disease, this process does not finish, and the ganglia do not form normally along the entire length of the colon. Sometimes the cells are missing from only a few centimeters of the colon. Other times a longer portion may be affected.

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