Anorectal malformations are birth defects, or problems that happen as an unborn baby is
developing during pregnancy. With this defect, the anus and rectum don’t develop
properly. They are the lower part of the digestive tract.
- Ano means the anus. This is the opening at the end of the large intestine. Stool passes through here when there is a bowel movement.
- Rectal means the rectum. This is the part of the large intestine just above the anus.
Normally during a bowel movement, stool passes from the large intestine to the rectum and then to the anus. Muscles in the anal area help to control when you have a bowel movement. Nerves in the area help the muscles sense the need for a bowel movement. The nerves also stimulate muscle activity.
With an anorectal malformation, several problems can occur. These include:
- The anal
passage may be narrow.
anal opening may be covered with a tissue or membrane.
rectum may not connect to the anus.
- The rectum may connect to part of the urinary tract or the reproductive system. This happens through a passage called a fistula.
Anorectal malformations cause problems with how a child has a bowel movement. Treatment depends on which type of problem your baby has.