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Complications of Untreated and Long-Term Constipation

Medically reviewed by Mae Charisse Antalan, MD · General Practitioner

Written by Ruby Anne Hornillos · Updated Mar 18, 2023

    Complications of Untreated and Long-Term Constipation

    Some people may get a minor case of constipation on occasion, but chronic constipation should not be taken lightly. If left untreated, it can cause more serious issues. Here is a quick look at everything you need to know about long term constipation compilations and how to prevent them.

    What Defines Long-Term Constipation?

    Constipation is defined as having three or fewer bowel movements per week. And they frequently strain when trying to defecate. A person may have trouble going to the toilet for a few days, but it may not be a concern if the bowel movements go back to their regular schedule.

    Chronic constipation is when a person experiences constipation for a few weeks or longer. The person may have very infrequent bowel movements, or none at all during this time.

    If that is the case, it would be best to seek medical attention to prevent long-term constipation complications.

    long term constipation complications

    Complications of Long-Term Constipation

    A minor case of constipation may not be a cause for concern. However, chronic and untreated constipation can lead to several problems.

    Some potential complications include:


    Hemorrhoids are enlarged and swollen veins that develop in and out of the rectum and anus. They are often uncomfortable or painful and can lead to rectal bleeding. Most people are born with hemorrhoids, but they usually only become bothersome when they are enlarged and swollen.

    Hemorrhoids can be caused by many things, but it occurs when the veins swell up and produce irritating symptoms. A common cause is straining during bowel movements, which normally occurs during chronic constipation.

    Straining can inhibit blood from moving the way it normally would in the vessels, causing hemorrhoids. Moreover, straining to make a bowel movement can enlarge the veins and cause swelling.

    Anal Fissures

    Anal fissures are small tears in the lining of the anus, called the mucosa. It normally happens when passing big or hard stool, meaning it can occur if you are chronically constipated.

    Anal fissures often lead to bleeding and pain during bowel movements, along with spasms in the anal sphincter.

    Rectal Prolapse

    Rectal prolapse is when the lowest part of the large intestine (the rectum) sticks through the anus, protruding out of its typical position. This condition can vary in severity, ranging from a minor drop at the end of the rectum to the whole rectum extending out of the anus.

    Chronic constipation can cause rectal prolapse. During chronic constipation, a person may strain and push forcefully to try to make a bowel movement, causing the rectum to move.

    Fecal Impaction

    Fecal impaction is when a hard and big mass of stool gets stuck in the rectum or colon. Typically, this occurs when a person finds it very difficult to push the stool out, which is a common symptom in people who have chronic constipation.

    Your body will naturally create waste, but it will cause a build-up if the previous waste does not leave the body, causing fecal impaction.

    Chronic constipation can lead to this highly hazardous issue because the body is filled with bacteria, debris, and other obstructions. If you experience this, it is important to have it treated by medical professionals right away.

    How to Prevent Constipation Complications

    There are many lifestyle remedies that can prevent constipation, thus avoiding long-term constipation complications. Some great things you can try include the following:

    long term constipation complications

    Enhance Your Diet

    Foods that are high in dietary fiber can prevent constipation because they can help increase the size and weight of the stool, while also softening it. The softening and increase in size help stool pass easily.

    Having high-fiber foods in your diet is ideal to prevent constipation. Some foods you can try are whole grain bran and cereals, veggies, fruits, beans, etc.

    Try to avoid foods that are low in dietary fiber. Foods like meat, dairy, and processed foods are low in fiber, which can cause or worsen chronic constipation. If you choose to eat these foods on occasion, it may be ideal to add lots of healthy high-fiber foods to your diet.

    Drinking lots of fluids, especially water, is also good. Fluids can help prevent your stool from drying out. Chronic constipation can occur if the feces is dry, making it harder to push out.

    Follow a Schedule

    If possible, try to have a regular schedule for your bowel movements. You can routinely go to the bathroom at the same time once a  day, particularly after meals.

    Moreover, you ought to always go to the toilet when you feel the need to go. Ignoring bowel movements can make the stool dry and hard, potentially causing long-term constipation complications.

    Key Takeaways

    Chronic constipation can be unpleasant, and it can lead to a number of other complications. Remember the tips above to prevent constipation, and seek medical attention at the first sign of serious complications of chronic constipation.

    Learn more about relieving and managing constipation, here.


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Medically reviewed by

    Mae Charisse Antalan, MD

    General Practitioner

    Written by Ruby Anne Hornillos · Updated Mar 18, 2023

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