Five major factors can cause impaction:
Patients with impaction may have symptoms similar to patients with constipation, or they may have back pain (the impaction presses on sacral nerves) or bladder problems (the impaction presses on the ureters, bladder, or urethra). The patient's abdomen may become enlarged causing difficulty breathing, rapid heartbeat, dizziness, and low blood pressure. Other symptoms can include explosive diarrhea (as stool moves around the impaction), leaking stool when coughing, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and dehydration. Patients who have an impaction may become very confused and disoriented with rapid heartbeat, sweating, fever, and high or low blood pressure.
The doctor will ask questions similar to those in the
Impactions are usually treated by moistening and softening the stool with an enema. Enemas must be given very carefully as prescribed by the doctor since too many enemas can damage the bowel. Some patients may need to have stool manually removed from the rectum after it is softened. Glycerin suppositories may also be prescribed. Laxatives that stimulate the bowel and cause cramping must be avoided since they can damage the bowel even more.
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