Chronic constipation usually happens when patients have infrequent bowel movements or experience difficulty passing stools, sometimes for weeks or even months. Usually, there’s a reason behind this problem, but if there seems to be no direct cause, the patient will be diagnosed with chronic idiopathic constipation. 

While rather uncomfortable on its own, chronic constipation may also pose a few risks for patients. As a matter of fact, several medical issues may arise from constant constipation. For one, constipation may be causing hemorrhoids in some patients. Also, the long-term complications of constipation may lead to the development of other serious issues as well. 

This article will discuss the most prominent risks of untreated chronic constipation and what you can do to avoid them. Also, if you are looking for options regarding hemorrhoid treatment in Palm Beach County, FL, you can always reach out to us and discuss your options after reading this article. 

Hemorrhoids From Constipation

Man Suffering From Hemorrhoid in Living Room

When patients are constipated, they will often strain to be able to pass stool. The straining while trying to perform a bowel movement can increase swelling in the veins of the lower rectum and anus, which are known as piles or hemorrhoids. 

These can be uncomfortable, causing rectal bleeding and pain; basically, we’re all born with hemorrhoids, but they’re often not bothersome. Only when these piles enlarge and swell is when we experience the irritating symptoms and look for hemorrhoid and constipation relief. 

As a matter of fact, it isn’t only constipation causing hemorrhoids. There are a few other factors that may contribute to the development of these piles, such as:

  • Obesity
  • Eating a low-fiber diet
  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Pregnancy 
  • Regular heavy lifting
  • Prolonged sitting

Also, it’s essential to know that there are different hemorrhoid types. Depending on when the swelling develops, they may occur outside or inside the rectum. More precisely, hemorrhoids may be:

  • External or when the veins swell underneath the skin of the anus. 
  • Internal, when veins swell inside the rectum.
  • Prolapsed hemorrhoids can be either internal or external when they bulge and stretch outside of the anus, causing bleeding and pain. 

Furthermore, hemorrhoids can cause the following: 

  • Anal itching and irritation
  • Swelling around the anus
  • Anal pain and discomfort
  • Bleeding while performing bowel movements

Regarding hemorrhoids and constipation treatment, there are a few steps patients can take to avoid hemorrhoids from constipation or the situation getting worse:

  • Address the signs of chronic constipation early on.
  • Avoid straining while performing bowel movements.
  • Try limiting the time you sit on the toilet, as prolonged sitting can put unnecessary pressure on the anal veins.

When it comes to symptom management at home, patients may find relief in the following:

  • The application of OTC creams, pads, and ointments
  • Taking oral pain medications
  • Soaking the problematic site in warm baths a few times daily

Lastly, if symptoms don’t improve within a week, book an appointment with your healthcare provider to get proper constipation relief and discuss adequate hemorrhoids and constipation treatment options. The doctor might use surgical or nonsurgical procedures to remove or shrink the problematic hemorrhoids. 

Other Complications Associated With Chronic Constipation

As mentioned before, constipation causing hemorrhoids may not be the only problem. Some patients may develop other severe conditions that might also require medical attention.

Anal Fissure

Anal fissures can be best described as small tears in the anal lines. The delicate anal tissue can tear while patients are constipated during straining and passing hard stools.

The most apparent signs of anal fissures may include the following: 

  • Skin tags or bumps near the torn area
  • Visible tears around the anal area
  • Pain after and during bowel movements
  • The presence of bright red blood after a bowel movement on the stool or toilet paper

Anal fissures can be best prevented by treating chronic constipation in the first place and avoiding straining while sitting on the toilet. Taking warm baths and soaking the troublesome area a few times a day may soothe symptoms and promote healing. 

In other cases, healthcare providers may recommend additional treatment methods as well, such as: 

  • Topical nitroglycerin treatments
  • Botox injections to relax the anal sphincter
  • Topical treatment with the help of lidocaine hydrochloride and other anesthetic creams 
  • Topical or oral blood pressure medications may also be recommended to help relax the area
  • In chronic cases, doctors may advise surgery to treat anal fissures

Rectal Prolapse

Chronic constipation may even lead to rectal prolapse, in which a part of the large intestine (the rectum) gets dislocated and may even slip through the anus.

The potential signs of the condition may include the following:

  • A sensation of fullness 
  • Feeling that you’re unable to empty your bowels completely
  • Anal irritation, pain, and itching
  • Leakage from your anus, like mucus, blood, or feces
  • Visible protruding red tissue from the anus

Anal prolapse is a severe condition that will need medical attention. In milder cases, treatment may include diet changes and Kegel exercises, but in most cases, surgery will be required to treat the condition properly. 

Fecal Impaction

This may happen if hard stool can’t pass through the colon and gets rough. Also called impacted feces or bowel, the condition may produce the following symptoms:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Cramping, discomfort, and pain in the abdomen after eating
  • Difficulty passing gas or stools
  • Passing liquid stool
  • Appetite loss
  • Swelling and bloating in the abdominal area
  • Headaches

Based on your symptoms, your doctor may soften your stool with an enema, try manual disimpaction, or remove the hardened stool with a gloved finger. Lastly, the doctor may administer water irrigation by inserting a small hose into the rectum and flushing the feces out. 

Proper treatment is paramount, as untreated fecal impaction may lead to life-threatening infection. 


Young Woman Eating a Healthy Salad After Workout. Fitness and Healthy Lifestyle Concept.

The best way to avoid these complications is to prevent constipation in the first place. 

For the most part, introducing healthy habits can help, such as:

  • Drinking enough water
  • Emptying your bowels whenever you feel the urge (avoid waiting)
  • Eating foods rich in fiber
  • Following a regular exercise routine
  • Limit the time you spend sitting
  • Practice self-care and try to reduce emotional stress

With the guidance of your doctor, you may also take:

  • Fiber supplementation
  • OTC stool softeners
  • OTC enemas, rectal suppositories, and oral laxatives

— or try bowel training.

Doctors may prescribe medication to treat constipation if these changes don’t provide relief. In other cases, the chronic constipation problem may be a sign of an underlying condition that needs to be diagnosed and treated. 

There’s Help Available

As you may see, untreated chronic constipation may lead to severe complications. Luckily, several easy remedies and treatment options can address this problem effectively. 

And if you have any concerns or questions or simply wish to learn more about the causes and treatments, request an appointment at Advanced Surgical Physicians today.


The blog is for informational purposes only. If symptoms do not resolve or if they return, seek medical attention as soon as possible at your primary care physician or with our office.