When you have constipation for an extended period of time, you may develop impacted stools. Feces becomes hardened and stuck in your rectum. The condition is painful and causes bloating, abdominal pain and cramping. You may have to change your diet and retrain your bowels once you've had impacted bowels.
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Your diet plays a role in preventing constipation and impacted feces. Inactivity, a diet high in dairy products and certain medications also can lead to the condition. Using laxatives on a regular basis causes your bowels to forget how to function properly. Ignoring the urge to defecate causes a backup in your colon that can lead to impaction. Irritable bowel syndrome, inadequate fluid intake and anal tears can complicate bowel movements, making them uncomfortable and difficult.
Fiber is the ultimate weapon to fight constipation. A high-fiber diet includes fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains. You should aim to eat a minimum of 20 to 35 g of fiber a day to clean your bowels of impacted feces and prevent further constipation. Fiber supplements may be used if you cannot eat enough whole foods in a day. Talk to your doctor before taking supplements to prevent any complications.
After loosening up an impaction, you may need to undergo bowel retraining. The goal is to have consistent bowel movements at the same time every day. According to the University of Miami, you should include yogurt in your daily diet to add healthy intestinal flora to your gut. Yogurt contains probiotics that are similar to the good bacteria your stomach contains that ensures regularity and prevents infections. Yogurt and other foods with added acidophilous are the most beneficial.
Prune juice acts as a natural laxative. Drinking fluids throughout the day can help promote healthy bowel movements because the fluids help keep stools soft enough to pass through your colon. Coffee and tea are natural diuretics and may help initiate a bowel movement if you feel constipated. You should experiment with various foods and beverages to find the combination that ensures your regularity, according to the University of Miami.
When laxatives or dietary changes don't relieve the impaction, you may need emergency treatment that could consist of surgery. First, a medical professional inserts two fingers up your rectum to try and loosen the impacted stools. Once the hardened feces are broken up, fiber and liquids can begin to work. If left untreated, however, impacted bowels can lead to intestinal perforation, infection, tissue death and gangrene.