Nick Thomas-Symonds has pledged his support for Gastroschisis Awareness Day by ‘going green’ in order to spread information about the terrible disease.

Gastroschisis is a birth defect of the abdominal wall. This causes the baby’s intestines to stick outside of their body, through a hole by the navel. The severity and size of this hole often varies. Sometimes other organs, such as the stomach and the liver, may also stick outside the baby’s body.

Soon after the baby is born, surgery is needed to move the organs back inside the body and to repair the abdominal wall. Even when the abdominal region is repaired, many children who were born with Gastroschisis can have problems with feeding and digestion as this can lead to difficulties in absorbing nutrients.

The causes of this birth defect among most infants are unknown, although it seems to particularly affect younger mothers under the age of 20 years. It is a rare condition but is now on the increase in Wales. The number of babies affected has increased from 3 per 10,000 births in 2000 to 7 per 10,000 in 2004.
Children born with Gastroschisis have around a 90 percent survival rate due to medical advancements that have been made in recent years. Research carried out by Great Ormond Street Hospital shows that children with simple Gastroschisis where no damage occurred to the intestines stay in hospital for about a month and start to feed normally within a few weeks of treatment.

Mr Thomas-Symonds said, ‘It is terrible that instances of Gastroschisis are on the rise in Wales and it is important that we raise awareness about the difficulties sufferers and their families face. I am proud to ‘go green’ this Saturday for the annual Gastroschisis Awareness Day.’

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