Fecal impaction

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Overview

A fecal impaction is a solid, immobile bulk of stool that can develop in the rectum as a result of chronic constipation.

Symptoms include chronic constipation. There can be fecal incontinence and paradoxical diarrhea as liquid stool passes around the obstruction. Complications may include necrosis and ulcers of the rectal tissue.

Non-invasive treatments are similar to those for constipation and include increased intake of fluids and dietary fiber, and physical exercise. However, once fecal impaction occurs, these methods are usually not successful.

The mainstay of treatment are enemas to soften the impaction and disimpaction, i.e. digital manipulation by a health practitioner. Use of laxatives may be dangerous because of the possibility of tearing caused by violent expulsion of a large mass (known as stercoral perforation). Surgery may be necessary if the bowel becomes totally obstructed.

See: Fecaloma


Historical Perspective

Classification

Pathophysiology

Causes

Drug Induces

Lanthanum carbonate

Differentiating Fecal impaction from Other Diseases

Epidemiology and Demographics

Risk Factors

Screening

Natural History, Complications, and Prognosis

Natural History

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Diagnosis

Diagnostic Criteria

History and Symptoms

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Treatment

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