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Fecal Impaction

Information about Fecal Impaction

We Have to Know about the Fecal Impaction

  • A fecal impaction is a large mass of dry, hard stool that can develop in the rectum due to chronic constipation.
  • This mass may be so hard that it cannot come out of the body. Watery stool from higher in the bowel may move around the mass and leak out, causing soiling.

Causes of Fecal Impaction

  • Chronic constipation

Signs & Symptoms of Fecal Impaction

  • Sudden watery diarrhea in persons with chronic constipation
  • Straining with the passage of liquid or small, semi-formed stools
  • Abdominal cramping and discomfort.

Medical advice for Fecal Impaction

  • Chronic diarrhea or fecal incontinence following a long period of constipation
  • Sudden constipation with abdominal cramps, and an inability to pass gas or stool. In this case, do not take any laxatives.
  • Very thin, pencil-like stools
  • Abdominal pain and bloating
  • Blood in the stool

Risk factors of Fecal Impaction

Patients at risk include those who:

  • Take certain drugs:
  • Any type of narcotic pain medication
  • Methadone maintenance treatment for drug addiction
  • Anticholinergic medications (drugs that affect the interaction between certain nerves and muscles)
  • Anti-diarrhea medications
  • Have limited ability to move, such as bedridden patients with dementia, or patients with cerebral palsy

Treatment for Fecal Impaction

  • Removal of impacted stools if possible
  • Medications (laxatives) for softening the stools
  • Surgery for some cases

Self-care for Fecal Impaction

  • High fiber diet particularly for those with constipation
  • Regular exercise

Investigations for Fecal Impaction

  • Colonoscopy
Risk factors of Fecal Impaction
                                 Fecal Impaction