Severe Constipation – Extreme Pain, Complications

Constipation is a common gastrointestinal condition where stool is passed infrequent (less than 3 times in a week) with the passage of hard stool and where there is straining to have a bowel movement. Although constipation is not usually seen as a serious medical condition, it can lead to complications and some of these complications can even be life-threatening.

Complications of Severe Constipation

Complications are the other conditions that arise from a certain disturbance, disorder or disease. It usually arises when a condition is severe and left untreated. Therefore severe constipation, acute or chronic, has to be treated promptly otherwise complications mentioned below may develop.

1. Bloating

Bloating and severe pain, usually in the lower left abdomen may result from gas, produced by normal intestinal bacteria that break down fiber in the stool stuck in the colon. The left side of the abdomen is distended and usually tender to touch.

2. Lazy Colon

Lazy colon does not respond to presence of the stool in the colon and gastro-colic reflex that normally stimulate the bowel movement after food enters the stomach. Often even laxatives do not help. This poor colon activity may result from long term laxatives abuse, postponing bowel movements or prolonged bed rest. You often do not feel the urge to have a bowel movement. Lazy colon is a synonym for severe chronic constipation and does not mean a permanent colon impairment. You can achieve relief only by eliminating all possible causes of constipation and sticking with appropriate diet and active life style.

3. Fecal Impaction

In fecal impaction, a solid stool sticks in your colon and you can not expel it by your natural effort. It typically occurs in old bedridden patients, but can also affect other adults or children with chronic constipation or those taking opiates or methadone. A meal with a large amount of cereals without drinking enough fluid may also result in fecal impaction. In infants, rice cereals with milk could be the cause. Sensation of fullness or pain in the rectum, urge to defecate, abdominal discomfort, cramping, nausea and frequent urge to urinate are main symptoms. Clear stool may accidentally pass impacted stool; this is called paradoxical diarrhea. You may feel a hard lump when you press deeply upon the lower left part of your abdomen.

Sometimes you can remove the stool piece by piece using a finger, or a doctor can do so under local or general anesthesia. Forceful expelling hard stool is not recommended since your anus can tear. Water irrigation using a sigmoidoscope is sometimes necessary. Glycerin suppositories or phosphate or arachis oil enema may also be used. Stool softener, as docusate, may help pass the stool. If impaction is higher in the colon, an oral solution containing polyethylene glycol (as used in colonoscopypreparation) can be used carefully under doctor control. Rarely, operative removal of impacted stool is required.  Fiber laxatives, like metamucil, may be used as prevention of impaction (1). Read about foods that cause constipation.

4. Obstipation

Obstipation is severe constipation caused by intestinal obstruction, which may be acute or chronic, partial or complete. Constipation, abdominal distension, painful cramps and vomiting are main symptoms. Obstruction of the intestine may be caused by a polyp, cancer, scar tissue (adhesionsor strictures) developed after surgery or inflammation, volvulus (intestine twist upon itself – congenital defect found in infants), intussusception (telescoping, when one part of intestine slips into adjacent part; found in infants and young children), hernia, gallstones or foreign bodies. Certain diseases, like scleroderma, lupus or amyloidosis, can affect motility of the colonic wall. Ultrasound can detect excessive stool within the intestine. Obstipation has to be solved quickly by operation to prevent bowel perforation, bleeding or infection.

5. Rectal Prolapse

Rectal prolapse is protrusion of a part of the rectum through the anal opening during the bowel movement. It usually occurs in old people with chronic constipation who have week pelvic floor muscles and strain during the bowel movement. Full-thickness rectal prolapse usually causes constipation, while partial prolapse involving only the rectal lining does not.

Bulking laxatives or stool softeners may prevent aggravation of prolapse, but sometimes a surgery is necessary.

6. Rectocele

A rectocele, mostly occuring in women after menopause, means bulging of the rectum forward toward the vagina. It happens after heavy vaginal delivery or constant lifting of heavy loads. The stool may be trapped in the bulge. A doctor can detect this bulge during a vaginal and rectal examination.

Kegel exercises to strengthen muscles of pelvic floor may help in mild cases (2). If a rectocele protrudes through the vagina, surgery is usually necessary.

7. Anal Fissure

An anal fissure is a tear of the anal mucosa occuring during forced passage of large and hard stool. After the tear, you may feel severe pain lasting for several hours, and you may find blood on the stool or toilet tissue. Pain and bleeding during the bowel movements may persist for several weeks.


  • Warm sitz baths for 10-20 minutes few times a day sooth anal muscles
  • Stool softeners enable soft passage of the stool
  • Local analgesic creams relieve the pain
  • A tear usually heals completely in few weeks on its own, but sometimes surgical treatment is required.

Repeated injury of the anal sphincter by hard defecation may lead to patulous (widened, spreading) anus with diminished anal sphincter tone; a surgical repair is required in this case.

8. Chronic Hemorrhoids

Chronic hemorrhoids are common complication of chronic constipation. Treatment includes diet rich in fiber and fluid, physical activity, sitz baths, anti-hemorrhoidal and analgesic creams. Bluish hardened hemorrhoids with extreme anal pain and tenderness may result from thrombosed hemorrhoids, in which a blood clot form in the anal veins; an urgent surgical removal of a clot is required.

9. Non-Intestinal Complications

Urinary incontinence or infection or incomplete urine excretion are often connected with constipation where the rectum is full of hard stool.

Heavy straining may trigger heart attack or stroke. Holding breath and exerting raises the pressure in the chest cavity, preventing the blood from the veins to enter the heart. When the breath is released, the pressure within the chest drops and the blood having being trapped within the veins is quickly propelled through the heart, resulting in increased heart rate and blood pressure. Shortly thereafter, the heart rate reflexively slows down, what may trigger a heart attack in vulnerable persons. By the same mechanism, suddenly increased and then decreased blood flow in the brain may result in stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA). Additionally, a blood clot may be dislodged from atherosclerotic brain arteries resulting in stroke. These are two causes of not so rare “toilet deaths” mostly occurring in old people with severe atherosclerosis. Squatting position during the bowel movement greatly reduces a need for straining.


  1. Fecal impaction  (
  2. Kegel exercises  (
About Jan Modric (249 Articles)
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  • bhootesh patel

    operated for gastric volvulous in 2003 suffering from lazy colon,been taking laxatives since 2003, severe pain due to spasm in sigmoid and descending colon,also taking various anti spasmatics and medicines,age 38 male please suggest option for severe pain or any remedy

  • LadyLynda0712

    My 68 year old aunt has not had a bowel movement in a month! MONTH! She is losing weight, and her lower back hurts a lot. She is afraid of doctors. I am very worried. Can she actually burst something or perforate a bowel? I can’t imagine a month with no BM.

  • LadyLynda0712

    To add: She is not running a fever (yet) and says she is trying a 7 day colon cleanse she saw on t.v. But she has been doing laxatives, etc. for the past month to no avail. I am worried because of the weight loss (not due from not eating, because she is).

  • Jan Modric


    this will need to be resolved. She probably avoids food, so this is why she is losing weight. She can be also dehydrated. Her colon is probably full of stool and from here the pain. A gastroenterologist can irrigate her colon and that can help. There are other dangers than colon bursting (not likely), like dehydration, malnutrition, vitamin and mineral deficiency. She should also need to get advice about appropriate diet and, eventually, she will need some tests to determine a cause of constipation.

    If laxatives have not worked so far, she will hardly resolve this on her own.

  • LadyLynda0712

    Thank you. My aunt has not been to a doctor in 19 years and believes everything can be resolved holistically on her own and it’s very hard to change her mind.

    I’m afraid she’ll probably end up in the ER before she sees anyone, but I’ll keep trying. She lives in a bordering state so is not close to me so it is more difficult. I never thought about dehydration. That could be really bad. Thanks for the advice! 🙂

  • OKSoonermoom

    I am a 36 year old female that has been dealing with constipation that has progressively becae worse over 2 years. It is getting to the point where I am lucky to have a BM every 2 weeks, but lately as long as 4+ weeks. I also have been havin SEVERE pain in my mid back on the right side that wrap around the ribs and is getting worse, sometimes the pain is also on the right mid-upper abdomen under the ribs, severe vitamin d deficiency that has became worse recently (it stays at a 2)even though I am now up to prescription 50,000 IU’s weekly, also, my alt enzymes were very high but I just found that out a few days ago and the doc said we’d discuss it after the tests, severe heartburn with nothing relieving it, and when I do have a BM it is usually white or pale yellow, pencil thin and one side has LOTS of blood in it. Sometimes, only blood and water come out. It’s not from straining and no obvious hemorrhoids. I am on amitiza AND 4 caps of miralax a day but that still does nothing. Even suppostitories or enemas do nothing. I finally got up the nerve to schedule an egd and colonoscopy (my GI doc has recomended it but I have been quite embarrassed to go through with it!)but I scheduled it and put it off a bit (april 15th, over 3 weeks away)to do it as I am fearful and embarrassed of the entire process. Oh yeah, I’m not sure if it’s related but my glands on my neck have also been huge for a while now (the one on my left side under my neck is quite noticable and is larger than a walnut. and now I have enlarged glands under my armpits that are all so sore. I am so miserable and live with alternating heating pads and ice packs the apst week as the pain is unbearable. A 9 out of 10! Do you recommend getting in for the test sooner, or is it fine to wait that loing in your opinion? I am asking a neutral paryt that I do not have to see face to face as this is all hard for me to deal with which is why it has became this bad since I’ve put it off for so very long untill I can’t ignore it any longer. Please, any advice is appreciated.

  • OKSoonermoom

    I meant to put that soetimes the pain is also on the mid upper left side under the ribs that comes randomly, but always pain on the right. When I have the left sided pain is alwyas when the stools are white. Very white! Also, I forgot to mention that I am now very anemic, but they are avoiding iron at the time since they said that may make the constipation worse. Thanks.

  • Jan Modric


    There could be a mass within your rectum that could obstruct it and result in constipation and pencil thin stools. The gastroenterologist that will perform the colonoscopy, probably have done it several times. Also, they will probably gave you some sedatives. Please mention you are severely constipated, so they can give you proper instructions how to perform a complete colon cleansing. This will take you at least two days of not eating, and drinking special fluids doctor will prescribe. You will probably need to correct your anemia before colonoscopy. Since I think there’s no time to postpone colonoscopy, ask your doctor to give you intravenous iron instead of oral pills (if you have low iron). This can correct anemia faster and lessen the risk of aggravating constipation.

    White color of stools is probably from unabsorbed fat. This makes stools smelly, floating and sticky (is it?). The cause of fat malabsorption can be a small intestinal disorder, gallbladder, bile duct, liver or pancreatic disorder. Ultrasound of the abdomen can often reveal the cause. Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin and can be absorbed only with fat – so if fat is not absorbed, vit D won’t be either. This can explain low vit D levels. Other fat soluble vitamins are vit A, E and K.

    Red (is it?) blood originates from the small or large intestine or both. The blood from the stomach would be black. The cause of blood can be a disorder in the small or large intestine, intestinal parasites or lack of vitamin K.

    Enlarged lymph nodes in the neck and in the armpits can be from an infection, parasites and to say directly – from cancer or lymphoma, or leukemia, or other disorder.

    I recommend you to go to the hospital, wher you can stay for few days. Tests and treatments will need to be done in a certain order, before the next investigations will be done, roughly like this:
    1. Blood test for iron (and other minerals), vitamins A, D, E and K (and others, if necessary), white and red blood cells, liver enzymes, ESR, CRP, etc.
    2. Iron, vit D and other supplements, according to test results, preferably by intravenous route.
    3. Ultrasound of the abdomen
    4. Stool test for fat, blood, parasites
    5. Depending on results of previous tests, colonoscopy, eventual gallbladder surgery, gastroscopy or lymph nodes gland biopsy might be necessary in the order decided by your doctor. Before any surgery and even before colonoscopy, you will probably need to correct your levels of vitamins and minerals in the blood. If you have gallstones, colonoscopy may be painful (which is usually not)

    You have provided a good description of your problems here – every detail, like stool color, can be extremely useful for your doctor, so I encourage you to go through this personal medical history questionnaire write all your symptoms and other circumstances down on the paper and tell that to the doctor.

  • OKSoonermoom

    I want to thank you for your quick response. Yesterday evening, my GI doc called regarding some of the other blood work labs that came in and he urged me to get this does quicker. Today his office called and rescheduled it so I am now having the egd & colonoscopy done Thursday and started the clear liquids and the first step of the prep tonight. I am being admitted overnight tomorrow to run other tests and he wants a central line in too. He mentioned something about markers being very elevated. (He said they were CA something markers, but am unsure what that may be as he did not elaborate. Although he did once mention tumor markers so maybe that could be it it.) At this point I am so very miserable so it may be better to get it over with. My pain is trully out of control and I am so fatigued that I barely want to get up at all since I do not have the energy at this time. I know it is not my galbladder since it was removed from galbladder disease and gallstones several years back. However, the pain that is in my mid right side back and radiates under my ribs stops right where I used to have the galbladder pains at. But it definitely did not hurt this bad or hurt in the back or even in the left side under the ribs at times. I did take your advice and wrote EVERYTHING down so my doc knows all of the issues I am having and I will not forget when I get there. Hopefully, it will be resolved quickly and I can actually start getting back to normal. I must admit that I am nervous as to why he insists we do this quickly after getting some abnormal blood tests. I wish I even knew what these tests are for but I guess I will find out soon enough. Thanks for your advice!

  • Jan Modric


    “CA markers” are tumor markers, yes. Colon cleansing may make you dizzy – if this happens call the doctor about what to do. It’s important you clean the bowel completely for colonoscopy to be successful. From how your doctor reacted, I believe he knows well what needs to be done.

  • amy wool

    i have recently started to get real bad constipation problems i havent relieved myself in like a month and when i do only a small amount comes out,
    i have also suffered from most of the points mentioned above
    it gets really hard to sit down at times and know i am having problems with urinating.
    i am 18 years old
    is this normal? and what can i do to get my condition back to normal?
    many thanks x

  • Jan Modric

    amy wool,

    can you think what could trigger constipation? Are you under stress, have you changed diet, starting taking any drugs, do you drink enough water, are you physically active (walking at least)? Do you have fever, rash or other symptoms? You will need to solve this, one month without a bowel movement is a serious problem. Your doctor should tell you how to empty your bowel, and if you need to treat eventual dehydration or other problems.

  • BabyMama

    Ever since I had my 2nd child on 11.04.09, I’ve been constipated and have hemorrhoids. I started taking laxatives and then I had to take more and more. It started from once every few days to once after every meal. I even took some type of tea to help me but it was bad because it made my stomache hurt and was uncontrollable. Going to the bathroom was like having a baby without meds all over again. It was painful!

    It slowly got better and I told my ob about it but she said it’s normal and just eat fiber and exercise. Well I work a 12hr shift which we have to mostly be on our feet the whole night and I eat fruits all the time, drink water and yet I’m still constipated.

    Lately it has become worse and when I push, it seems as if I’m not making any progress. It’s as if nothing is moving when I push. When I am done however, my rectum seems to be loose and hanging; I guess it’s probably because of the hemorrhoids.

    I have also found some string-like segments in my stools. I’m thinking maybe worms also? I remember us having a bad case of fleas or mites last summer in our home because my husband raise chickens and pigeons at a farm so maybe I got the parasite from them(hopefully I don’t have parasites). I also have been having hunger pang like feelings/abdominal pain even right after eating.

    Could it be something more serious and severe than just constipation and hemmorrhoids?

  • Jan Modric


    string-like segments in the stool, constipation and hunger pangs could actually be from intestinal worms. Stool test for “Ova and Parasites” exist. Other causes of food craving after a meal:
    – small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). Dx is by a beath test for SIBO.
    – hypoglycemia after a meal. Dx is by a blood test for glucose
    – fructose malabsorption. To check, if you have fructose malabsorption, you can make a few days lasting low-fructose diet.

  • blckdup

    I recently had a bout of severe constipation according to an xray. I usually have a bowel movement every 2-3 days. I have been having a “pinching” pain in my left upper abdomen for a few months that comes and goes and quite a bit of gas. Recently I developed some major lower abd pain that felt like gas pain, during the course of the day, the lower abd pain got better but I started having pressure in my abd. I later had 2 fairly normal bowel movements, the pain continued so that night I went to have an xray only to find my complete colon blocked to “the rim”. How could I be so severely constipated yet still having bowel movements? I drank a bottle of mag and was “cleaned out” but I’m still having the pinching pain in my left upper quad. What could be causing this?

  • Jan Modric


    are you male or female, how old are you, what’s your general diet, are you physically active? Constipation and bloating themselves may, I guess, cause a “pinching” abdominal pain. When did constipation start, and are you often constipated? Any underlying chronic disease? Depending on your age, something could obstruct your bowel from inside or outside, but an X-ray (without contrast?) is not enough to reveal this.

  • Maryalice

    I had a c-section 3 years ago due to an emergency for a premature delivery. I had alot of different medicine including painkillers, some to reduce my blood pressure, and magnesium sulfate for sezuire due to pregnancy. After the c-section I was severely constipated and when I went to the bathroom a week later, I strained and i was bleeding very badley. I developed an anal fissure, I changed my diet like the doctor told me, even though the dr. said the fissure was gone it still hurts i get hemmroids, and I have gained over 100 pounds. they told me there is nothing they can due,”they have tried everything.” My stomach is very descended and it actual feels like a bowling ball in my stomach, and it feels like i did when i was pregnant(movement) It hurts very badly when i have a bowel movement and it is never soft,nothing works. I really need Help!!!

  • Maryalice

    I also wanted to say that when i was putting cream that the dr recommended on inside for the hemmroids I felt like a larger bump on the inside wall. It felt 3 times the size of my usual hemroids. the hemmroids always feel like they are a growth, where as this feels like it is growing from under the skin, almost like a cyst would do on your skin,I’m very nervous. thank you

  • Jan Modric


    the doctor should make a rectal examination, and then other investigations as needed (rectoscopy, CT…)

  • Maryalice

    thank you very much.In your opinon, Do you think it could be anal cancer? I donot have insurance until next month and i’m wondering if I should wait or may go for an emergency visit.Thank you for your time.

  • Maryalice

    Or are these symptoms from an anal fissure. it just sounds like more then that to me.

  • Jan Modric


    colorectal rarely appears before age of 50. It grows slowly, so if you have checked your rectum once and was nothing there, it is not likely that a colorectal cancer would develop to an obvious size in few months. Abscess would be likely quite painful, so I’m not sure what to think about it.

  • Maryalice

    thank you very much. my main conceren was just my severe weight gain. I was overweight my whole life then, became bulemic and lost my weight, after I had my baby i had the fissure and gained it back with chronic constipation. Could a previous eating disorder have something to do with my severe weight gain? no matter what i do the healthy weigh i continue on gaining weight. Thank you for answering my questions you have been a wonderful help!

  • Jan Modric


    I guess the anal fissure and constipation make you less active. Worries may make you depressed and you maybe eat more than you are aware of. I recommend you to set a firm goal, for example to solve the fissure problem, whatever it takes. Be sure to insist until the fissure is completely healed. Your doctor should tell you what exactly the lump in the rectum is. If rectal examination will not be enough, the doctor (gastroenterologist) can use a rectoscope to check it (no preparation is necessary). In meantime you can have some basic tests (hormone levels – thyroxine, prolactine…, glucose, etc) to see if there is any underlying disorder contributing to obesity.

  • uncomfortable

    I am a 21 year old female, otherwise healthy. I have been having chronic constipation, extreme bloating, abdominal pain, and blood when i do have a BM for almost 3 years now, also recently it has slowely gotten alot worse and i am having pencil thin stools or just diarrhea and having stringy muscous and more blood. I usually go maybe 1/week or 1/2weeks. I am extremely bloated and end up almost in bed miserable and uncomfortable then i end up with diarrhea. I get nauseated and vomit a few times a week, i also vomited up some hard ball looking things and I had diarrhea at the same time with the same things. I also have so much noises coming from my stomach sometimes, not all the time. (Can someone vomit feces?) I drink prune juice 2 times a day, all lean meats, oatmeal or yogart or flax/wheat cereal, salad, LOTS of water, fiber bars, and I excersise 2 times a day and run everyday 2-4 miles. I live a very healthy lifestyle and have always, but i have been embarrassed of this since it started but it is to the point i cant take it anymore. I told my primary care dr and she referred me to a GI. They can not get me in for over a month. I am very worried and uncomfortable. I have been told i am anemic and had to take iron during my pregnancy. I also have a family h/o colon CA. Any advice would be appreciated.

  • Jan Modric


    blood in the stool is considerd medical emergency. Pencil thin stools suggest a narrowing in the rectum. It’s not likely you have a colorectal cancer at your age, but there could be a polyp, inflamed diverticle or something other. I strongly recommend you to ask for an earlier appointment, or if you think you can go through an ER. You should have blood test for iron and get oral iron supplements (or preferable by injection, since oral iron can upset your bowel even more).

    Prune juice, fiber bars and oats can all produce a lot of gas, as can many fruits, soda and other foods high in fructose or sorbitol.

    Nausea and vomiting could be from partial bowel (colon?) obstruction. You could vomit bile (bitter taste).

    I can assure you gastroenterologists are used to any kind of disorders, and I’m sure they will take you seriously and will be able to help you.

  • wantshelp

    I am a 18 year old female and I am having really uncomfortable bowel troubles. I’ve been prone to constipation alot when I was younger and would sometimes bleed from the strain of passing stools. Lately I constantly feel like a need to go to the toilet, but often can’t when I try, or have diarrhoa sometimes or only pass a small amount. I occasionally still bleed from straining. Also a white mucus has started coming out of my anus when I pass stools, or when I am trying. I also feel the need to urinate very frequntly, I’m not sure if it is related, but this, coupled with the contant need to pass stools (and often not being able to) and the fact I have a very weak bladder, is really really inconvenient and uncomfortable. I am often quite bloated and feel very uncomfortable in the abdomen at times (almost like i can feel that my colon/intestines are ‘blocked up’ a long way and that eating things would just sit on top of it..but it feels alot better when I pass stools, but then comes back frequently or doesn’t stay away long as I only pass a small amount of stool). I eat fairly well – quite a bit of fruit and vegetables, I drink a fair bit of water too. I don’t eat healthy all the time though and it feels alot worse then I eat junk food/lots of carbohydrates etc i think. But it often is still bad when I am eating really well. I don’t exercise heaps, but am fairly active (walking to and from work train station etc) and I play netball. I am very stressed lately though and feel anxoius alot so I dont know if this is affecting it at all. help or information or advice would be so much appreciated.

  • Jan Modric


    frequent urination can be triggered by a distended rectum pressing upon the bladder. There are several causes of bloating, like there can be a substance (lactose, fructose, fats, bile) not absorbed in the small intestine, entering the colon, where bacteria break it down and release gas. There can be an inflammation in the colon. A gastroenterologist can say which test to perform first.

    Lactose intolerance and fructose malabsorption can be resolved by a low-FODMAP diet. I mean, fructose and sorbitol from fruits and soft drinks can be a source of gas.

  • Krazy504Gal

    Some of you guys have no idea what constipation even is!!! Oh my Lord is this discouraging. I just spent the past five hours in an ER due to severe belly pain due to not having a bowl movement for LITERALLY 3 1/2 weeks!!! I had to lie on cold metal table with a gown on, and have a dirty old man doctor stick a hose like tube up my ass, so far I swore it was going to come out my throat. It was the most uncomfertable, embarressig thing I think I have ever gone through. I would do anything….anything… to be able to poop every 3-4 days because despite what you may say–THAT IS NOT CONSPITATION. I couldn’t even walk this morning when I got up out of bed my cramps were so bad. Mind you I am a beautiful young girl who just started college and should not be having these medical problems. Ever since I was a baby my ma and dad said I would strain and my little face would turn bright red from trying to go in my diaper. Now here I am, 19 years later, still straining, still getting urinary track infections due to being so BLOCKED UP, still feeling so completly full of shit that I cant enjoy food, I can’t enjoy sex, and I most certainly can’t enjoy life. Not when I am throwing up from being so backed up. Errrrrrrrrr, will this ever end? Nothing works. Not mineral oil. Not prunes, not laxitives, enemas, stool softners, NOTHING!!!!!!! Help =( I just want to be a normal person who digests their good normally, as I am sure all of you do too. People don’t think this is something that effects your every day life but it does, am I right? And they just blow it off like it’s a joke. Well, it’s NOT! And if any of you out there know what I am going through, for real, none of this “I haven’t gone to the bathroom in 4 days” crap. I mean for real. Then please feel free to comment back. I will be checking. Thanks and God bless to you all!

  • Jan Modric


    not crazy, right?, one possibility is some inborn disorder of your colon or rectum, for example Hirschsprung’s disease or other. I do not know, if the investigation you had was a colonoscopy, and if a sample of the colonic tissue (biopsy), which could confirm a mentioned disorder, was made. In any case, it’s likely that constipation lasting from ever is a structural, organic problem and an experienced gastroenterologist should know which investigations to perform.

  • Readymade

    Alright, so I have major stomach problems. Where it will spasm a full day to the point where I’m crying, and then it just disappears. Well I went to the Doctor to find out what it was from, but they couldn’t find anything. They say it could be from anxiety so they put me on Lexapro. That was almost four weeks ago and I haven’t been able to have a bowel movement since a week before that visit. So it’s been about a whole month and I haven’t gone to the bathroom and I have literally tried everything I can do at home. I’ve done every kind of enema there is, used my fingers, and my mothers (shes a nurse), taken lots of fiber, lots of water (though I regularly have great amounts of fiber and water anyways), tried laxatives, colon cleanse, milk of magnesia, miralax, you name it I’ve taken it.

    My mother, the nurse, says the only other option she can think of is going to the hospital. I will not allow myself to go to the hospital for at least another week because I have finals in school and I can NOT miss them.

    I was wondering if there is possibly anything else I can do, or if indeed I will have to go to the hospital..

    Help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

  • Jan Modric


    I believe that enema or whatever it takes to empty the bowel can be made fairly quickly in the hospital, so you my not need to stay there overnight.

  • HBenny

    I am 29 years old, have had occasional constipation with 2-3 BM’s each week for over a year. In the past 2 months I have taken on a new job and I am excessively stressed. Even when I’m not working I am often unable to have a BM. I started taking Senna, one tablet,once a month about 6 months ago, and have increased it to once a week, 2 tabs at once. This is just barely working for me now, the stools are small in quantity, and the bloating is terrible. I have BM’s once every 4-5 days now, very frustrating. I used to be an avid exerciser, I no longer do this, I admit I am caffeine addict, with maybe 24 oz of water a day. Have I damaged the muscles of my colon by increasing Senna? Can I get back my colon with increased water, higher fiber, and completely stopping Senna?

  • Jan Modric


    Senna is highly addictive, so I recommend you to switch to “usual bowel stimulation” by measures you’ve mentioned. Physical activity and mental activity (fighting with stress or depression) are also important.

  • Misty

    My husband had surgery on a severe ruptured disc, which created pain in his leg along with numbness in the foot. A few days after surgery, he had his first bowel movement. He told me it was very painful and felt like he passed a baseball. I gave him milk of magnesia one night to try to help soften the stool. He woke with severe cramps but finally went to the bathroom a few times. All very loose stools. It has been two days since that happened. Now, he has only had two movements since with very thin stools. Is that normal, or could the hard stool have damaged his colon? I worry that he strained an reinjured the disc in the back, too. Originally, the disc was pressing on the sciatic nerve. What do you think? This all happened over the weekend when the doctor’s office was closed. Everyone talks constipation, but no one addresses the damage it might cause afterward.

  • Jan Modric


    a day or two without a bowel movement is not a big deal. The colon might be still slowed down from all the stress and medications (painkillers). Your husband can eat foods rich in dietary fiber and drink enough water to maintain soft stools. He can avoid suggary and fatty foods to prevent constipation. I do not recommend triggering bowel movements with laxatives, if there is no special need. Stools were probably loose from milk of magnesia.

    Vigorous straining could actually result in anal fissure, but otherwise it is not likely that the colon or spine would be affected. If bowel movements will be still problematic after a week, he may speak with the doctor.

  • elizabeth

    I have not had a bowel movement in about 2 months. I can say something like this has happened a couple times and eventually I just end up going. However, I have recently been on methadone for about 6 weeks now and I have read that is a sure sign of a reason for constipation. My boyfriend begs me to go to the hospital because I dont have a family doctor im not in huge pain like i dont have stomach aches im only bloated sometimes. However, now its just getting to the point where I do always feel like I have to use the bathroom but I cant expell it into the toilet. Its prevented me from doing normal daily activities. I have tried an enema but it didnt work, I do not think I did it properly though. Ive read everything I can online and diagnosed myself with Fecel Impactation. What medication should I take to help relieve me of this pain, like I said I havent had a bowel movement in over two months. If I go to a walkin clinic, or hospital can they even do anything for me?

  • Jan Modric


    in a clinic, they can give you appropriate laxative or enema, or they may irrigate your colon. I encourage you to solve this soon.

  • tanya214

    My 3yr old has been experiecing constipation since birth but in the last 2 months it has gotten worst where nothing is working. I am having to give her a enema once a week because she is in contanst pain. Doctors are telling me by her age and size there is pretty much nothing I can do but keep giving her the enema. Is there another solution?

  • Jan Modric


    a reliable pediatric gastroenterologist could say if any investigation would be needed. Certain inborn disorders, like Hirschsprung’s disease can be present from birth but symptoms may worsen later. It is not usual for the small child to be constantly constipated.

  • Lulu

    Since I got hypokalemia(low potassium levels) I have had extreme constipation for 2 months. I am now being treated and I get the urge to expell but when I go to the bathroom it is SO painful and I feel like it is a large hard stool that I cannot pass. Are there any at home remedies that I can try out to help me pass the stool?

  • Jan Modric


    they are foods that may relieve constipation
    and foods that may aggravate constipation.

    The hard stool can be broken down to pieces with a gloved (and lubricated with glycerin) finger inserted into a rectum. A nurse or a doctor usually can do this.

  • vanessa

    I’ve not had a bowel movement for nearly a week now. For the past two days I’ve felt a hard stool which I just can’t pass however much I try. I’ve just come back on holiday (four weeks) and I had constipation the whole time, and it has got worst. Before the bowel movement last week I hadn’t had a bowel movement for a week before that, but managed to dislodge it with the help of glicerin suppositories, although I was in a lot of pain for hours afterwards. Now nothing works, I’ve tried suppositories, stool softeners, prune juice, etc. I admit my diet was pretty poor while I was away, but I’m now living on brown rice, fruit and salad. The constipation is keeping me up all night as the stool is giving me a lot of discomfort and keeps trying to push out of my anus, I’ve also got cramps in my abdomen and lower back, and feel dizzy and feverish, and am desperate to get the stool out. Help!!! p.s.: this is a ongoing problem, I tend to have periods where I experience chronic constipation, and it usually responds to change in diet and stool softeners, but because of stress and busy life I find it difficult to sustain the diet.

  • vanessa

    I’m also finding it fiicult to drink water at the moment as passing water seems to be impossible without me trying passing a bowel movement, resulting in double discomfort.

  • Jan Modric


    you need to resolve this right away. It seems you are dizzy because of dehydration, so you have to drink. If you can’t remove the stool, go to the ER, or to a gastroenterologist, who can remove it manually or by using enema. If you try hard yourself, an anal fissure may develop and this can cause weeks and months of additional problems with defectaion.

    Skipping meals can really aggravate constipation. Having meals at about same hours every day can help, especially regular breakfast as soon as you get out of the bed. Foods that can help to relieve constipation.

  • angweber

    I am 36 yr old female, I was diagnosed with IBS when I was an infant. I try to avoid dairy, I eat whole wheat oatmeal with fresh fruit every AM along with a soy latte, I eat a lot of vegetables and my proteins of choice for the day are usually, salmon, white fish, chicken, and tofu. I’ll have red meat once every 3-4 months. I drink lemon water daily I and use olive oil freely. I exercise at least 1 hour a day.
    I’ve had to be careful about what I eat most of my life. I once had lobster and ended up in hospital with illeitis. I have had hemorrhoids off and on in my 30’s, and bloating and constipation since my teens. It is not unusual for me to go 3-4 days without a bowel movement. I had a colonoscopy when I was in my late 20’s that didn’t reveal anything. And a CT scan when I was 31 (illeitis hospital stay). I use enema’s and Senna a couple times a month.
    This last week, I have severe constipation, with some new symptoms: I feel like I have a huge air pocket where my stomach and my lower esophagus connect, there is a lot of pressure, I can burp but when the air comes up it feels constricted. This pressure is accompanied with a sharp pain in my back, the vertebrae feels as though it’s directly in back of this pressure in the front (lower thoracic/upper lumbar). The night this started I had had a deep tissue massage and sushi for dinner. I’ve been under a lot of stress this last month, so I’m sure that’s a piece of the puzzle, I ha had a couple of days where I ate poorly and had too much alcohol, but it was separated by about 6 days from this pain starting.
    So far I’ve tried:
    a perfect diet for last 5 days
    Acid reflux meds
    gas X
    apple cider vinegar
    chiropractic visits x2
    muscle relaxer
    and laxatives.

    Any thoughts on the pressure in my stomach and the back pain? I can’t seem to do anything about it.

  • Jan Modric


    pain starting after a deep massage could be from physical injury of certain tissues, especially if the pain is triggered by body movements. You are not mentioning any tender spots, though, so hard to tell. Abdominla bloating from gas can cause abdominal pain; not sure if it can cause “sharp pain in the back”.

  • Unhappy709

    I have been struggling with constipation now for over a year. My doctor put me on align and it worked until i got pregnant. Then my OB said to take peri colace everyday if i had too. So thats what I did. I have been taking peri colace everyday since Sept 2009. I have to take 4 a day. If i don’t take it I won;t beable to go. My body can’t really tell when it has to go. I just get bloated. I have tried amitza and that dosen’t work either. I just need help. It affects me everyday. People think its funny, its not. My day revolves around it. I can’t go anywhere before 10am because of taking the peri colace. Its all i can think about. My diet hasnt changed much. I drink a tons of water. Nothing works besides peri colace. They told me it wouldnt become addicting, but i fear it has. Please help me. Is there a medication out there for a lazy colon?

  • Jan Modric


    it would help me understand your situation better, if you tell which all symptoms do you have (constipation, bloating, belching, changed color or consistence of the stool, mucus in the stool, nausea..?), and how has your constipation started (suddenly, because of stress…?), also what is your current diet. Have you had any gastrointestinal symptoms before constipation has started? Did fruits or other foods trigger symptoms?

  • Laura

    Hi, I’m Laura. I’m 17 and have chronic constipation as well as kidney and bladder problems resulting in recurring kidney infections. My doctors told be that my bowel is sitting on my bladder and have told me that I have to treat it aggressively. At the moment I’m on senna 4 tablets a day and it don’t matter how many tablets and what type of laxatives I take it still results in very bad pain it’s very embarrassing as it can happen in public in families homes and as I never talk about my constipation to anyone but my parents. As the pain can be very painful and unbearable and uncomfortable I don’t know what to do hoe can I cope, should I consult my doctor about this problem? I find this issue very hard to talk about face to face. The pain can sometimes be triggered by stress sometimes and if it’s bad I can have nausea and dizzy spells, I just want to give up. Please help I’m at the end of my tether with this problem. Thanks