Treatment for the condition starts with removal of the impacted stool. After that, steps are taken to prevent future fecal impactions.
Often a warm mineral oil enema is used to soften and lubricate the stool. However, enemas alone are not enough to remove a large, hardened impaction in most cases.
The mass may have to be broken up by hand. This is called manual removal:
- A provider will need to insert one or two fingers into the rectum and slowly break up the mass into smaller pieces so that it can come out.
- This process must be done in small steps to avoid causing injury to the rectum.
- Suppositories inserted into the rectum may be given between attempts to help clear the stool.
Surgery is rarely needed to treat a fecal impaction. An overly widened colon (megacolon) or complete blockage of the bowel may require emergency removal of the impaction.
Most people who have had a fecal impaction will need a bowel retraining program. Your provider and a specially trained nurse or therapist will:
- Take a detailed history of your diet, bowel patterns, laxative use, medicines, and medical problems
- Examine you carefully.
- Recommend changes in your diet, how to use laxatives and stool softeners, special exercises, lifestyle changes, and other special techniques to retrain your bowel.
- Follow you closely to make sure the program works for you.