Studies show that roughly half of Americans deal with constipation and fecal impaction, and many cases go overlooked. With a significant increase in the aging population worldwide, the risks of developing this type of bowel obstruction are on the rise.

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1. Relation to Constipation

While many use the terms constipation and fecal impaction interchangeably, they are not the same. Constipation refers to bowel movements that are uncomfortable to pass because they are dry and hard. Fecal impaction is a serious consequence of constipation. It occurs when hard, dry feces completely block the distal sigmoid colon, the S-shaped part that leads to the rectum.

constipation fecal impaction dry feces Peter Dazeley / Getty Images
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