Spina bifida is a form of birth-defect referred as a neural-tube defect. It happens once the bones of the spine fail to develop properly around the baby’s spinal cord. This kind of defect occurs in 3 forms, each changing in severity.
Forms of Spina Bifida
There is a mild form, Meningocele form and Myelomeningocele form.
The mild spina bifida is very common, though it does not cause complications. Most of the people with mild spina bifida cannot tell if they have it. Most people get to know about it when they get a spinal X-ray for another unrelated illness.
In a more severe form, meningocele, the fluid drips out of the spine. You could notice a swelling in the skin. There is no other symptom of meningocele.
Myelomeningocele is when parts of back nerves come out of the spinal cord. It is also known as open spinal bifida. In most cases, the baby’s nerves are exposed because the skin is open.
Causes of Spina Bifida
No one knows the precise causes of Spina bifida. However, doctors believe that genes and environment are some of the causes. For instance, a woman who has a kid with the defect is likely to give birth to another baby with spina bifida. Obese and diabetic women are also likely to have babies with this defect.
Symptoms of Spina Bifida
Its form determines the symptoms of spina bifida. Children with mild spina bifida do not have any problems at all. Also, babies with meningocle do not have symptoms.
Children with Myelomeningocele have brain and spine problems that cause a lot of problems. They also have no feeling in their arms, legs and feet. This means they cannot move those body parts. They also have bladder and bowel problems that include leaking urine and having a difficult time passing stool.
How is Spina Bifida diagnosed?
During the pregnancy period, one should have tests on developing baby to identify any defect including spina bifida. Such tests include blood test and ultrasound of the baby.
After the baby infant is born, the doctor can tell if the child has spina bifida by the looks of the baby’s back. If the doctor suspects something, an X-ray, a CT scan or an MRI is done. This helps to determine if the disease is mild or severe.
Treatment of Spina Bifida
Children with minor spina bifida do not require any treatment. Those with meningocele might not need any treatment either. However, those with myelomeningocele usually require a surgery to fix the problem. A surgery is done to relieve pressure on the baby’s brain. The extra fluid is drained into the belly.