Pediatric Meckel’s Diverticulum
Meckel’s diverticulum are congenital (present at birth) pouches in a child’s intestine that are leftover tissue from the development of the digestive system.
The body creates multiple tissue types during development of the digestive system. Leftover tissue that wasn’t absorbed properly can remain in the intestines after birth, creating pouches called Meckel’s diverticulum. These will bulge out at weak muscle points.
If the pouches are made of stomach or pancreas cells, they will continue creating digestive enzymes that will interrupt the function of the intestines and cause symptoms.
Symptoms can come and go over time, and are dependent on the type of cells and age at the time of diagnosis. Symptoms normally appear before the age of 10, and include:
- Anemia (low red blood cell count)
- Bleeding into the intestines, which creates bloody stools
- Blockage/obstructions of food or stool
- Intestinal inflammation (swelling)
- Tenderness near the belly button