Impacted colon

Having regular daily bowel movements are necessary to keep you feeling light, healthy, and happy. With proper diet, exercise, and lifestyle choices, all should be smooth sailing. However, every now and then, some of us may start feeling a bit backed up. Occasional constipation is not any reason for serious concern, but if your constipation becomes more frequent, you may be suffering from an impacted colon or a faecal impaction.

When you eat food, it breaks down in your Stomach and passes through your Intestines aka digestion. Then, the walls of your Intestines absorb nutrients from the food. What remains as waste passes along to your colon and rectum.

At times, things may go wrong in this process and the waste becomes stuck in the colon. This is known as faecal impaction of the colon.

When you have an impacted colon, your faeces become dry and won’t budge, making it impossible to excrete them from your body. Impacted feces block the way for new waste to leave the body, causing it to back up.

Faecal impaction usually causes abdominal discomfort similar to that of constipation, but typically with more severe intensity and for a longer period of time. You are likely to experience other symptoms in addition to constipation and the symptoms tend to worsen the longer you go without having a bowel movement.

Some of these symptoms can include:

Abdominal cramping

Abdominal discomfort/pain

Abdominal distension

Faecal soiling

Loss of appetite

Back pain



Bad breath


There are some risk factors including a high fat diet, immobility for a prolonged period of time, and psychological factors, but it can occur without an identifiable reason. Some other reasons an impacted colon can occur are:

Medication side effects

Insufficient nutrient intake


Lack of fibre

Frequent bouts of diarrhea

Digestive system problems

Diseases such as diabetes or thyroid disease

Obstruction of the intestinal tract

Complications from pelvic or colorectal surgery

Continuous vomiting

Spinal cord injury

Mental stress

Jet lag

Pre-menstrual symptoms (PMS)

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