Anal atresia is a condition that a baby is born with. It is a problem with the development of the anus and the part of the intestine leading to the anus. Anal atresia can make it difficult or impossible for the child to pass stool. The specific problems can vary but may include:
Most of the time, anal atresia can be corrected.
An unborn baby's intestines develop during weeks 5-7 of pregnancy. A disturbance in this development causes anal atresia. The exact reason for the disturbance isn't clear.
Anal atresia is more common in boys. It is also more common in those with disorders, such as Down syndrome and congenital abnormalities.
If your baby has anal atresia, symptoms may include:
Milder anal atresia may not be apparent until later in life. It may show as a lack of bowel control by age 3.
You will be asked about your child's symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.
Images may be taken of your baby's bodily structures. This can be done with:
Talk with your child's doctor about the best treatment plan for your child. Treatment options include:
Surgery may be an option to correct the anal atresia. The exact surgery will depend on the defects that are present. Options include:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Healthy Children—American Academy of Pediatrics
About Kids Health—The Hospital for Sick Children
Imperforate anus. Cincinnati Children's website. Available at: http://www.cincinnatichildrens.org/health/i/imperforate-anus. Updated July 2010. Updated December 2013. Accessed June 3, 2016.
Gangopadhyay A, Pandey V. Anorectal malformations. J Indian Assoc Pediatr Surg. 2015 Jan-Mar;20(1):10-15. Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4268748/. Accessed June 3, 2016.
Last reviewed June 2016 by Kari Kassir, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.