Pronounced: AY-nal ah-TRE-zhuh
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 the 5th-7th week of pregnancy. A disturbance in this development causes anal atresia. The exact reason for the disturbance isn't clear.
Anal atresia happens in boys twice as often as girls. It may also occur with other birth defects. The use of steroid inhalers by the mother during pregnancy may be linked to anal atresia.
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 baby'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:
Temporary Colostomy of an Infant
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.
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 May 29, 2014.
Imperforate anus. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated June 13, 2012. Accessed May 29, 2014.
Scott, J, Swenson O. Imperforate anus: Results in 63 cases and some anatomical considerations. Tufts University Medical School publication website Available at:
http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/picrender.fcgi?artid=1613419&blobtype=pdf. Accessed May 29, 2014.
Last reviewed June 2015 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.
Copyright © 2012 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved.
What can we help you find?close ×