Complications of Constipation

Severe chronic (i.e., long lasting) constipation can cause complications that may require additional treatment. Complications include hemorrhoids (dilated veins in the rectum), rectal prolapse (condition in which part of the lining of the rectum protrudes from the anus), anal fissures (small tears in the anus), and fecal impaction (condition in which stool is packed into the colon and cannot be expelled normally).

Any change in bowel habits (e.g., constipation, diarrhea) may indicate a serious medical condition and should be reported to a physician. To diagnose the underlying cause for constipation, the physician takes a medical history (including a history of symptoms) and performs a physical examination. In some cases, diagnostic tests also may be performed.

Publication Review By: Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 28 Feb 2008

Last Modified: 08 Sep 2015