Obstipation is the failure to pass fecal matters or gas, practically a chronic constipation. It is a state where the intestines are never fully emptied and would eventually lead to obstruction.
Identification of the condition is frequently made based on the patient’s medical history and the presenting signs and symptoms.
A person who is chronically constipated would feel bloated most of the time which could lead to anorexia and abdominal discomfort or tenderness. If the bowel is not emptied, toxins would accumulate which could lead to infection, inflammation and a foul breath or body odor. Prolonged inflammation may interrupt the blood supply to the intestines which could lead to intestinal collapse or cramps, peritonitis, fever, body malaise and tachycardia. Intestinal distention may arise which would affect the intestinal peristaltic movement and secretory function. The intestines would also lose their ability to absorb water and nutrients. Other physical symptoms would arise such as dehydration, nausea and vomiting.
It can be caused by several factors such as: low fiber diet, decreased water intake, intestinal obstruction, fecal impaction, anal fissure, adhesions in the peritoneum, faecolith, gallstone ileus, hypokalemia, hypothyroidism, functional constipation, colonic stricture, intestinal atresia, intussusception.
Although there is no definite diagnostic exam, obstipation can be seen through abdominal CT scans or x-rays, barium enema, upper GI series, sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy.
Obstipation, All Health Site. Internet. Accessed on 16 March 2013.