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Obstipation

AMBULATORY CARE:

Obstipation

develops when you become so constipated you cannot have a bowel movement. You may feel like you need to have a bowel movement. You may have abdominal or rectal pain. You may also have bloating, nausea, or vomiting.

Seek care immediately if:

  • You have severe abdominal pain.
  • You have a bloody or black bowel movement.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You have a fever and back, stomach, muscle, or joint pain.
  • You vomit more than once.
  • You are losing weight without trying.
  • You have a change in the color, amount, size, or consistency of your bowel movement.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Treatment

may include any of the following:

  • Fiber supplements help decrease constipation by adding water and bulk to your bowel movement.
  • Laxatives can help stimulate your bowels to have a bowel movement. You will only take laxatives for a short time. Long-term use may make your bowels dependent on the medicine.
  • Manual removal is a procedure to take out your impacted bowel movement. Your healthcare provider will use a gloved hand to remove the impaction. He or she will use lubricant to make the removal easier.
  • Surgery may rarely be needed to remove your impaction or to repair damage caused by your obstipation.

Relieve obstipation:

  • A suppository may be used to help soften your bowel movements. This may make them easier to pass. A suppository is guided into your rectum through your anus.
    Suppository for Constipation
  • An enema is liquid medicine used to clear bowel movement from your rectum. The medicine is put into your rectum through your anus.
    Enemas

Prevent obstipation:

  • Drink liquids as directed. Liquids will help keep your bowel movements soft so you pass them with less pain. Ask your healthcare provider how much liquid to drink each day and which liquids are best for you.
  • Eat high-fiber foods or take fiber supplements. Fiber adds bulk to your bowel movement and makes it easier to pass. Raw fruits, fresh vegetables, whole grains, and beans are examples of high-fiber foods. Adults should eat at least 20 grams of fiber a day. Your healthcare provider or dietitian can help you plan meals.

  • Make time for your bowel movements. You may develop constipation if you ignore the urge or wait too long. Help train your body to have regular bowel movements by setting a bathroom time each day. The best time is after a morning meal, because your colon prepares for a bowel movement when you eat.
  • Exercise regularly. Exercise may help your intestines pass bowel movements more often. Ask your healthcare provider about the best exercise plan for you.
    Walking for Exercise

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Your healthcare provider may refer you to a gastroenterologist. Bring a list of 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 Obstipation (Ambulatory Care)

Associated drugs

IBM Watson Micromedex

Symptom checker

Medicine.com Guides (External)

Further information

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