Constipation can lead to a number of digestive problems, with one of the most severe being an impacted bowel. Impaction occurs when fecal matter has accumulated within the colon to the point that regular bowel movements are blocked from exiting the body naturally. When waste and toxins cannot be removed from the digestive tract, health crises will quickly arise.
Causes of Bowel Impaction
A variety of precursors can cause an impacted bowel, with recurrent or acute constipation at the top of the list. Chronic constipation can lead to fecal matter hardening and drying onto the walls of the digestive tract, causing blockage throughout the intestines. Not only does this hinder movement of waste but it makes nutrient absorption even more difficult, placing additional strain upon the digestive system. In some cases of chronic constipation, bowel impaction may be present but liquid stools still occur as the debris leaks around the impaction. This can result in a partial or complete loss of rectal control and the potential for soiling oneself.
Prescription or even over-the-counter medications (such as chemical laxatives) can cause an impacted bowel. Some of these medicines restrict the body’s ability to function on its own, and this slows down the elimination of waste, creating stools that may be overly large. These large bowel movements may then block the intestinal pathway, creating an impacted area.
Lack of Movement
People that are bedridden or confined to a wheelchair may struggle with an impacted bowel because of the inherent lack of movement. Even in individuals with full body function, avoiding exercise can cause digestive trouble because all the muscles (internal as well as external) must stay toned. A sedentary lifestyle of any kind may cause chronic constipation, and then you arrive back at the impaction issue.
Situations wherein individuals have certain disabilities, such as cerebral palsy, have an increased risk of developing impaction. The lack of muscle control associated with the disease may create ideal circumstances for chronic constipation, sluggish digestive function, and eventually an impacted bowel.
How Do You Treat Your Impacted Bowel?
Resolving an impacted colon requires removing the waste matter without damaging the sensitive tissue of the intestinal tract. In most cases, a qualified physician can insert their finger into the rectum and gently scrape out the waste.
Organic Diet and Regular Exercise
Easy preventative measures to promote regular bowel movements include adopting a high-fiber diet and exercising regularly. Drinking six to eight glasses of purified water each day is also important because it keeps the intestines from drying out. Colon cleansers are sometime recommended by medical practitioners to loosen up impacted bowel and is a much better alternative to using chemical laxatives.
Taking an organic fiber supplement can help ensure you consume sufficient amounts each day (30 grams optimally), but it’s better if you can get your fiber from whole foods. If you choose to try a fiber supplement, make sure it doesn’t contain artificial colors, preservatives, or chemical stimulants. Eating sufficient amounts of fiber cannot be emphasized enough, as this will provide plenty of bulk to move waste out of the body.
Retraining the Bowels
In more severe cases of impacted bowel, you may need to retrain them to work well again so regular bowel movements can be achieved. Retraining the colorectal nerve and muscle groups is the core of this process, but you must also permit healing if the obstruction caused any internal injuries. If you suspect injury has already occurred, or that it may be serious (by experiencing bleeding or pain) consult a physician as soon as you can.
If your impacted bowel becomes a habitual problem, further evaluation may be necessary with a specialist. Surgery is usually a last-case option. It’s extremely rare that impaction would be so severe as to require an invasive procedure, unless you’re suffering from a serious digestive disorder, but it’s always best to play it safe in this regard.