Occasionally, people with chronic constipation can also suffer from diarrhea. If you do have an episode of diarrhea while constipated it can be due to something called a fecal impaction. This means that you have a dry, hard stool inside your rectum, but which is not causing a total blockage. This means that loose and watery stool can get past the mass.
Signs and symptoms
- You experience constipation, then diarrhea
- Cramps in your stomach
- You pass blood
- Small, irregular stools
- Incontinence – leaking watery diarrhea
Fecal impaction most often occurs in people with limited mobility, children or the elderly. Treatment for the condition will be removal of the stool. This might require a mineral oil enema to moisten the stool. Sometimes, your doctor might need to manually break up the stool and remove it from the rectum by hand. In rare cases surgery is required to remove the mass.
Once the condition is treated, changes must be made to diet and exercise so that constipation is less likely to reoccur. These changes include increasing dietary fiber, and introducing exercises to the daily routine where possible. Bulking laxatives might also be used to help prevent constipation, as well as a stool softener.