Impacted bowel is a condition in which the faeces hardens itself in the bowel, obstructing easy flow. In more common terms, it is known as constipation. An adult is said to be suffering from impacted bowel when he/she consistently passes stools at a frequency of only once in three days or more. A child is said to suffer from the condition when the frequency is once in four days or more. Medical procedures and lifestyle changes can help correct the problem.
Understanding the Cause
Impacted bowel is attributed to intake of foods rich in protein (non-vegetarian), and low in fibres, such as greens, fruits and vegetables. Low intake of water is also considered a major reason for impacted bowel, as are genetics and intake of some kinds of constipation-causing medicines. Holding back the urge to pass stools; fear of passing stools, especially among people experiencing poor and unhygienic toilet conditions; the presence of painful conditions like fissure; and having a sedentary lifestyle are some of the other reasons that cause or exacerbation of impacted bowel. In some cases, stress can also manifest itself as impacted bowel. If a particular issue is causing the situation, the best cure may be to resolve this underlying problem.
In treating impacted bowel, the underlying causes or symptoms must be addressed. If the occurrence is not very frequent, and if the hardened faeces does not dislodge on its own after considerable pressure, a doctor may insert a finger with a glove and gel on it and remove the hard part of the faeces. This is an immediate and temporary cure that can be of immense value. Another short-term aid is the use of an herbal or chemical laxative.
Although removal of impacted faeces presents a temporary cure, the only long-term cure is lifestyle change. Leading an active lifestyle, drinking plentiful quantities of water to aid digestion, eating foods that are low in proteins and high in fibre and carbohydrates are among effective measures. The Family Doctor estimates that the average American diet does not consume nearly enough fibre. For example, the average intake of fibre needed for an adult is around 28.4gr. a day, while most Americans consume about half that much.
Regular colonic irrigation may also be a solution. This involves flushing or cleansing the colon using a colon cleanse product, and is often accompanied by a cleansing fast as well.