Table of Contents
Fecal Impaction Definition
Hardened pieces of feces, also called stool, that lodge in the COLON or RECTUM. Fecal impaction typically occurs as a consequence of chronic CONSTIPATION or reduced bowel motility (movement of digestive waste through the colon) and is most common in people who are confined to bed for extended periods of time. Those who take narcotic PAIN medications or ANTIDIARRHEAL MEDICATIONS may also develop fecal impaction.
Fecal Impaction Symptoms and Treatment
Symptoms may include extended time without a BOWEL MOVEMENT, lower abdominal cramping or pain, and DIARRHEA from stool leaking around the impaction. DIGITAL RECTAL EXAMINATION (DRE) allows the doctor to make the diagnosis. Treatment may include manual removal of the impaction or ENEMA to soften the impaction and stimulate bowel movements to expel it. Increased fiber in the diet, stool softeners (medications that help the stool retain fluid), increased fluid consumption, and daily physical activity such as walking when possible can help prevent constipation and fecal impaction.