Complications of Constipation

What are the complications of constipation?

Chronic, or long-lasting, constipation can lead to health problems such as hemorrhoids, anal fissures, rectal prolapse, or fecal impaction.

Hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids are swollen and inflamed veins around your anus or in your lower rectum. You can develop hemorrhoids if you strain to have a bowel movement. If you have hemorrhoids, you may have bleeding in your rectum. You have bleeding in the rectum when you see bright red blood in your stool, on toilet paper, or in the toilet after a bowel movement.

Anal fissures

Anal fissures are small tears in your anus that may cause itching, pain, or bleeding.

Rectal prolapse

Rectal prolapse happens when your rectum slips so that it sticks out of your anus. Rectal prolapse can happen if you strain during bowel movements, among other reasons. Rectal prolapse may cause mucus to leak from your anus. Rectal prolapse is most common in older adults with a history of constipation, and is also more common in women than men, especially postmenopausal women.[2]

Fecal impaction

Fecal impaction happens when hard stool packs your intestine and rectum so tightly that the normal pushing action of your colon is not enough to push the stool out. Fecal impaction occurs most often in children and older adults.

Source: NIDDK (NIH)1

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Back to: « Constipation

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Health Outcome

Most people will experience improvement in symptoms with simple lifestyle changes. Some long term complications of constipation include haemorrhoids, diverticular disease, faecal impaction and rectal prolapse.

Source: Queensland Health2

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Complications of long-term constipation

Long-term constipation can lead to faecal impaction. This is where poo has built up in your rectum. The main symptom is diarrhoea after a long bout of constipation.

Source: NHS Choices UK3

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Urinary tract infections: Some children may be more vulnerable to UTIs because of a problem with emptying their bladder, such as constipation - this can sometimes cause part of the large intestine to swell, which can put pressure on the bladder and prevent it emptying normally

Source: NHS Choices UK4

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References

  1. Source: NIDDK (NIH): niddk.nih.gov/ health-information/ digestive-diseases/ constipation/ all-content
  2. Source: Queensland Health: conditions.health.qld.gov.au/ HealthCondition/ condition/ 9/ 46/ 31/ constipation
  3. Source: NHS Choices UK: nhs.uk/ conditions/ Constipation/ 
  4. Source: NHS Choices UK: nhs.uk/ conditions/ urinary-tract-infections-utis-in-children/ 

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Note: This site is for informational purposes only and is not medical advice. See your doctor or other qualified medical professional for all your medical needs.