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Fecal Impaction


Fecal impaction is a buildup of hardened bowel movements that gets stuck in your rectum or colon. Fecal impaction may cause a partial or complete blockage. This can make it hard for you to pass a bowel movement.


Return to the emergency department if:

  • You feel lightheaded, dizzy, or faint.
  • You have worsening abdominal pain or bloating

Call your doctor if:

  • You have a fever.
  • You have blood in your bowel movements.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.


  • Medicines may help soften your bowel movement or increase the motion of your intestines. This can help clear bowel movement from your rectum or help you have a bowel movement more easily. Medicines may be given as a pill, suppository, or enema.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him of her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Prevent another fecal impaction:

  • Eat foods that are high in fiber. Healthy high-fiber foods include fruits, vegetables, whole-grain breads, and beans.
  • Drink liquids as directed. You may need to drink more water than usual. Water helps keep your bowel movements soft and easier to pass. Ask your healthcare provider how much liquid to drink each day and which liquids are best for you.
  • Exercise regularly. Exercise helps keep your bowels moving well. It may also help you pass bowel movements more often. Ask about the best exercise plan for you.
  • Set up a regular toileting schedule at the same time every day. Try to pass a bowel movement when you first wake up, or half an hour after you eat. This may help you control your bowel movements and their timing.
  • Try to pass a bowel movement as soon as you get the urge. This will help prevent more constipation.

Follow up with your doctor as directed:

You may be referred to a specialist. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Fecal Impaction (Aftercare Instructions)

Associated drugs

IBM Watson Micromedex

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.