Fecal Impaction and What It Is

Fecal impaction (also known as impacted stools) is where a large mass of hardened and dried stool accumulates in the colon.

The large mass of stool can become so hard, that it can't come out of the body. Stool, further up from the hardened mass of stool, will move around the mass and come out as watery stool or diarrhea.

This condition can occur when a person has chronic constipation.

How do you know if you have fecal impaction or impacted stools? You may have impacted stools if you have the following symptoms:

  • Abdominal cramping
  • Frequent straining and passing watery stools
  • Rectal bleeding and rectal tears (see doctor immediately if this happens)
  • Explosive diarrhea if you have chronic constipation

If you suspect that you have this problem or have a concern about it, you may want to see a doctor.

What to Do...

When you go to the doctor, the doctor will examine your rectum and your stomach.

If the condition is serious enough and nothing else works, your doctor may insert his or her fingers in your rectum to break up the stool. The doctor would break up the stool a little at a time so as not to damage your colon.

You can also try the methods below. However, it may be wise to let your doctor know what you are planning to do... I just want to caution against self-diagnosis.

Onward and forward - here are other things you can do...

  • To break up the impacted stools, you can use a stool softener. You can also use gentle laxatives or glycerin tablets.
  • Exercising regularly is also important. If you are wheelchair bound or bedridden, moving the abdominal muscles may help. Also, if you are bedridden or wheelchair bound, a physical therapist can work with you to recommend some exercises for you.
  • Some have recommended an enema or colon hydrotherapy. The belief there is that this method is only effective in eliminating waste within the first few inches of your colon.
  • Make sure you have a good diet high in fiber and drink lots of water
  • You can also try out a colon cleanser. There will be specific ones that I recommend on this site. In the case of fecal impaction, you would want one that softens your stool. Not all colon cleansers soften your stool. So, be careful if you choose this option.
  • In rare cases, surgery would have to be performed. Surgery will only be performed if the bowel is fully blocked or the colon becomes much wider than normal.
  • Make sure you go to the bathroom when you have a bowel movement. Not doing so can result in constipation. And, as mentioned before, if the constipation becomes chronic for a long time, you can end up with impacted stools.

How Easy is it to Treat?

The odds of treatment are usually good. An impacted colon can usually be treated easily.

As long as you take care of yourself, and don’t let the condition linger, the impacted colon will not require surgery. Surgery is only done in very serious cases as an emergency treatment.

DISCLAIMER: This website was created to share the benefits of alternative health, and is for educational purposes. What is written is not a substitute for medical care. It is not designed to treat, cure, or diagnose any medical condition. Please consult with your doctor if you have a medical condition.

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