Fecal Impaction: 20 Causes – Risk Factors, and Clinical manifestations – When you eat, the food will be digested by your stomach and intestines. Then, the intestinal wall will absorb nutrients from food. And the waste residual digestion process will be excreted as stool through the colon and rectum.
Sometimes, the process of disposal of waste from the colon is subject to interference. Sometimes the stool is stuck in the colon and causes you cannot defecate or that is known by constipation or impaction.
When you have constipation, your stool becomes dry and hard, making it difficult to remove it from your body. The dirt that dries and hard blocks the channel from the discharge of other newly formed impurities.
Fecal Impaction (FI) is a prolonged constipation. This happens when the stool is so hard that it cannot pass by normal bowel movements. There are several risk factors, including a high-fat diet, immobile for a long time, and psychological factors, but it can occur without any identifiable reason.
This causes abdominal discomfort, and rarely, can lead to serious medical complications. The FI can be treated with medications or with procedures for removing hard feces.
Causes of Fecal Impaction
The cause of Fecal Impaction is usually the same as severe constipation. The causal factors have been widely discussed under Constipation Bowel Movements: Symptoms, Causes, Prevention, and How To Cope With It
In addition, severe constipation is a symptom of a number of intestinal disorders, including partial and complete intestinal obstruction.
Constipation so far can lead to the effect of Fecal Impaction can also be a consequence of the use of certain medications such as strong painkillers, anticholinergic or antidiarrheal drugs or other substances such as certain narco**tics.
Fecal Impaction is not a common occurrence in constipation, except in certain predisposing circumstances. Especially, it tends to occur in elderly patients, especially lying in bed and inactive (settled).
Common lifestyle Risk factors for FI include:
- Fiber deficiency in diet
- High-fat Diet
- Not eating or drinking enough; Dehydration
- Lack of access to toilets, due to travel or other circumstances
- Excessive stress
- Reluctance to defecate
Medical conditions that increase the risk of FI include:
- Neurological disorders
- Extended physical immobility Period
- Inability to eat or drink
- Postoperative bowel Dysfunction
- Intestinal obstruction (blockage)
- Thyroid disease
- Drug Side effects.
Some of the higher-risk populations affected by feces include:
- Elderly who live in nursing homes who have minimal or no physical activity
- Individuals with neurological conditions that can interfere with intestinal mobility, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, dementia, spinal cord injury, or stroke
- Children, especially those who avoid defecation due to anxiety, shame, or to avoid pain
- People who use drugs that produce side effects from constipation, such as some antihypertensive drugs, antidepressants, and muscle relaxants
- Individuals using narco**tics, the category of drugs closest in conjunction with constipation, which can lead to a condition known as narco**tic bowel
- People who overuse or use laxatives (feces softeners), which can have a paradoxical effect of the colon, make it unable to function normally.
- Individuals who have structural and functional conditions involving the small intestine, colon or anus, due to digestive diseases, cancer, or surgery.
Read also: The Causes of Frequent Bowel Movements
Weak, confused, or unconscious patients are the most risky to experience Fecal Impaction. Patients will be dehydrated and feel too weak or unaware of the need for defecation, so the stool becomes too hard and dry to be removed.
The obvious signs and symptoms of Fecal Impaction are the inability to defecate for a few days, despite the urge for bowel movements appear repeatedly, loss of appetite (anorexia), nausea and or vomiting, abdominal distention and abdominal cramps, and rectal pain.
Table of Clinical manifestations of fecal impaction
|Paradoxical diarrhea||Fecal incontinence|
|Agitation||Urinary overflow incontinence|