Imperforate Anus, Pediatric
Imperforate Anus, Pediatric

Imperforate Anus, Pediatric

The anus is the opening of the buttocks where stool leaves the body. Imperforate anus is a birth defect in which the anus is missing, blocked, or in the wrong place. The defect can cause stool to back up in the large intestine or leave the body through another opening.

What are the causes?

The exact cause of this condition is not known. However, it is sometimes associated with other birth defects.

What are the signs or symptoms?

Symptoms of this condition include:
  • No visible anus.
  • Swollen abdomen.
  • No stool during the first days of life.
  • In boys, stool that comes out with urine from the tip of the penis.
  • In girls, stool comes out through the opening of the vagina.

How is this diagnosed?

This condition is diagnosed based on a physical exam and tests. Tests may include X-rays of the abdomen and an ultrasound. Sometimes an MRI may be needed.

How is this treated?

This condition is treated with surgery to create a normal rectum and anus. Surgery involves creating an opening where the anus should be, and closing any openings in the wrong place. Often, more than one surgery is needed. Surgery is usually successful. However, some children may have lifelong difficulty controlling bowel movements after surgery.
In some cases, a procedure may be done to create a temporary opening for stool to leave the body (colostomy). The opening allows stool to collect in a bag outside of the body. Colostomy may be done if reconstructive surgery cannot be done right away. After reconstructive surgery, the opening will be closed off.

Follow these instructions at home:

  • Give your child over-the-counter or prescription medicines only as told by your child's health care provider. Your child’s health care provider may recommend stool softeners or medicine to help your child have a bowel movement (laxatives).
  • If your child was prescribed an antibiotic medicine, give it to him or her as told by the health care provider. Do not stop giving the antibiotic even if he or she starts to feel better.
  • Keep all follow-up visits as told by your child’s health care provider. This is important.

Contact a health care provider if:

  • Your child develops a fever.

Get help right away if:

  • Your child does not have any bowel movements or stool for 2 days.
  • Your child who is younger than 3 months has a temperature of 100°F (38°C) or higher.
  • Your child has a swollen abdomen.
  • Your child has uncontrollable vomiting.

Summary

  • Imperforate anus is a birth defect in which the anus is missing, blocked, or in the wrong place.
  • The exact cause of this condition is not known, though it is sometimes associated with other birth defects.
  • This condition is treated with surgery to create a normal rectum and anus.

This information is not intended to replace advice given to you by your health care provider. Make sure you discuss any questions you have with your health care provider.