Inadequate propulsion of gastric contents by peristalsis.
Weak intestinal muscle tone.
(6) Use of drugs such as narcotics, diuretics, calcium, iron, and aluminum
hydroxide or aluminum phosphate gels.
c. Symptoms. Included are the following:
Feeling of fullness.
Pressure in the rectum.
Frequent urge to defecate.
Hard and dry stools.
(5) Fecal impaction--hardened or putty-like stools in the rectum or colon.
Such stools may interfere with the passage of feces.
Possible anal lesions.
d. Treatment. For most patients, the goal is to help the person learn to maintain
habits that foster normal elimination. To do this, the patient must follow a balanced diet,
maintain a high fluid intake, get regular rest and exercise, and set aside a regular time
after a meal for a bowel movement.
Diet. Diet must include the following:
(a) Sufficient amount of food as well as food high in fiber. Bran, raw
fruits, and vegetables are helpful.
(b) Increase stewed or raw vegetables or fruits unless otherwise
(c) Drink six to eight glasses of fluid per day. A mild natural laxative
action is produced by drinking a glass of hot water half an hour before breakfast.
(2) Exercise. The patient must have moderate physical exercise. It is
important for the abdominal muscles to be well toned. If necessary, physical therapy
may be recommended for those with a front-bulging abdomen.
(3) Medication. A cathartic such as castor oil may be used. A cathartic is a
drug which softens the stool by increasing the motor activity of the intestine. Cathartics
are different from laxatives; laxatives produce a milder effect.