Eating, Diet, & Nutrition for Hirschsprung Disease

How does Hirschsprung disease affect a child’s eating and nutrition?

Before Hirschsprung disease is diagnosed and treated, a child may develop

  • problems feeding
  • failure to thrive, meaning an infant or a child weighs less or is gaining less weight than expected for his or her age
  • malnutrition, a condition in which a child doesn’t get enough vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients to be healthy

What should my child eat and drink after Hirschsprung disease has been treated?

Talk with your child’s doctor about what your child should eat and drink after pull-through surgery to treat Hirschsprung disease. If your child had ostomy surgery, your child’s doctor and ostomy nurse can provide advice about diet after ostomy surgery.

Children usually don’t need to follow a special diet after Hirschsprung disease has been treated. If a child develops problems after surgery, such as bowel control problems or constipation, doctors may recommend diet changes, such as eating more foods that contain fiber.

Some types of Hirschsprung disease affect all of a child’s large intestine and part of the small intestine. After surgery to remove the affected parts of the intestines, a child may have problems getting enough nutrients and may need nutritional support or other treatments.

A young child drinks a glass of orange juice with help from his father. A plate of eggs, bacon, and vegetables sits on the table in front of them.Talk with your child’s doctor about what your child should eat and drink 
after surgery for Hirschsprung disease.
Last Reviewed September 2021
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This content is provided as a service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), part of the National Institutes of Health. The NIDDK translates and disseminates research findings to increase knowledge and understanding about health and disease among patients, health professionals, and the public. Content produced by the NIDDK is carefully reviewed by NIDDK scientists and other experts.