Anorectal Malformations in Children

­A birth defect is a physical, mental, or biochemical abnormality that is present at birth. Every year, two through three percent of infants are affected by birth defects. Birth defects may involve many internal organs. such as the heart, lungs, liver, stomach, bones, brain, and also the intestines.

Birth defects may also involve limb defects (legs or arms), down syndrome or mental retardation, spina bifida, and cleft lip or palate. Birth defects can be formed in many ways no matter what your race, income, or age is. Many birth defects happen when the mother of the fetus consumes alcohol, takes drugs, or smoke cigarettes. Infants can also can inherited birth defects from their parents or ancestors. Birth defects are known to be the leading cause of one out of three deaths in infants in the United States.

Anorectal Malformations, occurs in about 1 out of 5,000 infants, boys and girls, are birth defects involving the anus, rectum as well as the urinary and genital tracts, taking place in the lower end of the digestive tract, which develops abnormally. During a bowel movement, stool travels through the large intestine, to the rectum and than to the anus. The muscles in the anus helps control when a bowel movement occurs in other words, the nerves in the anal area helps us sense the need for a bowel movement and stimulate muscle activity. Several abnormalities can occur, with an anorectal malformation, such as the anal passage may be narrow, the rectum may not connect to the anus, a membrane may be present over the anal opening, or the rectum may attach to a part of the urinary tract or the reproductive system within an irregular path.

Doctors may diagnose there is probable Anorectal Malformation in an infant if the infect does not have a bowel movement within the first 24 hours, if the anal opening is very close to the vagina opening, if stool passes out of the vagina, base of penis, scrotum, or urethra. The doctor may also check for sign of a swollen belly and missing or moved opening to the anus. If the infant have any of these characteristics then surgery is an option to correct this birth defect to prevent other health problems and possible death. It has been said the children with a mild form of anorectal malformation do very well after surgery and often may have some constipation. Children with a more serious form of anorectal malformation that have surgery may have control of their bowel movements and may have to use the bowel program that included high fiber foods and taking stool softeners. Sometimes after the first surgery some kids may have to have more. There is no none prevention from this birth defect.­

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