#bern200 – Fecal Impaction aka The Cheat Meal Nightmare


Over the past 7 months that I’ve been eating healthier and working out, I’ve had my fair share of cheat meals. I’ve stuck to my diet about 90% of the time, but vacationing and celebrating milestones was often accompanied by alcohol and fried foods. This post isn’t to discourage you from having cheat meals. In fact, a lot of doctors and nutritionists encourage cheat meals as a way to reboot the digestive system when the body gets used to healthier foods (search for ‘refeed’ on the web). This post is telling the story of how a person can overdo a cheat meal/day, and the repercussions of this action in the form of what’s called ‘fecal impaction.’ This post is graphic in nature, so do not read while eating lunch or if you’re squeamish.

After the first 3 months of sticking to my diet, I would have 2 buttermilk biscuits Saturday mornings with breakfast to introduce some carbs back into my diet slowly. I also had the occasional beer once every two weeks. These additions didn’t do much to my body. However, I decided to celebrate losing 65 pounds by getting drunk and going out of control with fast food! One Saturday evening I ate two chicken sandwiches, a large fry, and a bottled water (because no matter how drunk I get, I can not drink soda). The food went down fine, and the following day I decided to splurge and eat half of a large pepperoni pizza.

All of this seemed okay, until the following Tuesday. During my morning cardio session I needed to stop and use the bathroom to pass some of the food I consumed. This is normal, as doing heavy cardio usually causes my bowels to move. However, this instance was slightly different, as I noticed blood in my stool. I didn’t pay it any mind, and didn’t think much of it until 4 days passed and I hadn’t experienced a bowel movement since.

I did what any other young American would do in this situation; I searched the internet for the answer. Ignoring all of the “you’re dying” extreme articles I came across, I found the answer that most closely matched my symptoms was a condition called fecal impaction. Fecal impaction, as defined by thefreedictionary.com, is an immovable collection of compressed or hardened feces in the colon or rectum. This was more than likely caused by all of the bread/starch I consumed in a short period of time, after I went a long period of time without having much of each. All of this starch at once piled up in my digestive system, causing a big piece of sh*t to form. Sounds great, right? Well, what’s more interesting are the remedies for this condition.

Going to the doctor and getting surgery was out of the question, since I don’t have insurance, so I tried every home remedy available. First attempt was in the form of a laxative, which was only good for flushing out the food I ate AFTER the fast food, and not the actual impaction. Listening to a friend, I then tried one of those herbal diet cleanse teas, which worked exactly the same as a laxative but was much harsher on my stomach, and still didn’t move the impaction. The next step, and probably the most embarrassing, was a mineral oil enema. This was supposed to soften the stool so it could break down and pass in smaller pieces, but IT DIDN’T WORK. Finally, after three attempts and 4 days passing, I tried a cherry flavored magnesium citrate laxative, and it worked like a charm. 

So what did we learn here? Besides a number of different ways to flush your system, you should take it easy on your cheat meals. It’s necessary to have some carbs in the form of starch / bread after you’ve been dieting so long, but have them in moderation. Maybe a small serving of spaghetti, some pancakes, or even some toast in the morning. Your body needs it, but if you overdo it, you might find yourself in a similar situation. Beware!


One Reply to “#bern200 – Fecal Impaction aka The Cheat Meal Nightmare”

  1. Shannon says:

    I have been there. I didn’t even know it had a name. It was terrible.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.