How to Treat an Impacted Colon
An impacted colon, also called fecal impaction, is a mass of tough, dry stool that gets stuck and is not able to move out of the intestines by itself. This stool blocks the colon and also traps feces originating from above the blockage. If you struggle with this condition, you might feel constipated and experience abdominal pain, bloating, queasiness, vomiting or bad appetite. Severe constipation can be the cause, however the impaction may be associated with a medication or a medical disorder. Treatment is directed at getting rid of the stool from the colon, and taking steps to prevent the impaction from taking place once again.
Treatment for Impacted Colon
- Seek advice from your doctor to determine if you can attempt treating your impacted colon at home. If so, your doctor might recommend an over-the-counter (OTC) suppository or enema as a primary step. Often oral laxative services are advised. These items soften the stool, pull additional fluid into the gut and stimulate peristalsis which is the muscular motion of the intestines.
- If enemas or suppositories don’t work to resolve the impaction, the difficult, compressed stool will need to be manually fragmented and eliminated by your doctor. This is achieved by the doctor inserting a gloved, lubricated finger into the anus, and breaking up the pieces for elimination. Considering that this may be uncomfortable, a sedative might be used. Laxatives or enemas may be used to help flush the pieces out of the colon. To avoid complications such as rectal tears and bleeding, this procedure must be performed by a healthcare professional.
- After the fecal impaction has actually been dealt with, your doctor will explore the contributing factors so steps can be required to prevent future episodes. Risk factors for fecal impaction and severe constipation consist of immobility, inactivity, a low fiber diet and poor access to toilet centers. Specific medications, medical conditions and structural irregularities of the colon can increase the risk of impaction.
- To avoid future episodes, eat a high fiber diet – consisting of whole grains, bran, entire vegetables and fruits. Consist of a lot of water and other fluids, and workout daily. Don’t postpone using the toilet if you feel the desire to have a bowel movement, and aim to set up regular times to use the toilet– such as after your morning meal. If your doctor believes you are at risk for establishing another impaction, you may be advised to take a daily fiber supplement or stool conditioner.
Dangers of an Impacted Colon
Contact your doctor if your bowel movements stop and you have abdominal distention and pain. Also call if you have symptoms of constipation but likewise have liquid stool or very thin stools, as in some cases with impaction, some fecal matter from above the clogs escapes. Also call your doctor if you have any blood in your stools, or if you have severe constipation that needs laxative use more than a couple of times a week.
Avoid long-term use of laxatives, unless directed by your doctor. Laxative abuse or overuse can increase the risk of constipation and fecal impaction.
Things You’ll Need
- Your doctor’s telephone number
- Laxative suppositories or enemas if recommended by your doctor
- High fiber foods
- Water and other fluids
Last modified: May 1, 2017