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Can Constipation Cause Fever?
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Can Constipation Cause Fever?

Written by Edibel Quintero, RD | Medically reviewed by Medically reviewed by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Published on 2022 July 13
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4 min

Can constipation lead to such an unpleasant side effect as fever? Our experts answer this question once and for all.

can constipation cause fever

Constipation is a common condition for both adults and children. Infrequent or hard-to-pass bowel movements are some of the most prevalent signs that you have constipation.

In many cases, some adults and children experience high body temperature or low-grade fever accompanied by several other severe symptoms. Does that necessarily mean that constipation can cause a fever?

Our medical team has an answer.

Can Constipation Cause a Fever?

Constipation does not cause fever directly. However, underlying disorders connected with an insufficient bowel movement may induce a rise in body temperature, resulting in a fever in some cases.

Fever is the body’s natural response to an ailment or, sometimes, severe infectious disease.

One becomes feverish because the body attempts to kill off viruses and bacteria by increasing the temperature above average, making it almost impossible for pathogens to survive and thrive. Additionally, the elevated body temperature causes the immune response to become more active.

Other causes of health disorders that could lead to constipation and fever include fecal impaction, a severe issue that can be life-threatening if left untreated, anal fissures, rectal prolapse.

A fecal impaction is a big lump of feces lodged in the colon or rectum. It is more frequent in older people with gastrointestinal issues.

Constipation and Fever in Children

Many typical pediatric clinic visits are because of constipation and fever. A child’s constipation is also one of the causes of fever, although the two may not necessarily go hand in hand. 

It is possible for a child to get constipation and for the condition to worsen fast, especially if they have any other underlying cause of bad health.

Stools that are hard and dry might be difficult to expel. As a result, the youngster may refrain from going to the restroom because of the pain.

When should you worry about constipation in a child?

The frequency and consistency of feces vary significantly from child to child, depending on age and nutrition. A constipated child is an uncomfortable child. 

What are the warning indicators to look out for when dealing with constipation in children? When should you seek immediate medical attention? 

Some indications or signs that your child may need medical attention for constipation and a cure for fever include chronic constipation since birth or early years of infancy, diarrhea, vomiting, or fever, blood in the stool, and belly distension or swelling. Other common signs are ribbon stools, recurrent UTIs, weight loss or poor growth, neurological signs like leg sensations, and lower back with abnormal growths.

A child’s symptoms and exam results might influence the course of action for constipation in children and treatment. 

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Imaging, blood testing, or a referral to a gastroenterologist for further evaluation, medical treatment, including suggestions for child stool softeners, are the few options to explore.

The most common causes for constipation in children are Hirschsprung disease, anorectic malformations, cystic fibrosis, metabolic disorders, spinal cord abnormalities, and weaning. Toilet training and starting school could also make a child hold onto stool in the body.

Encourage your kid to consume more fiber-rich foods and drink more water to help relieve constipation. If your child’s doctor allows, you can use laxatives to relieve constipation.

Symptoms of Constipation

Constipation is the experience of passing less than three bowel movements per week. There is a significant range in the frequency with which people pass their stools. While some do it several times a day, others have bowel movements once or twice a week. 

The most common constipation symptoms are:

●  Dry and hard fecal matter that can affect bowel function

●  Pain, discomfort, and challenges during bowel movement

●  A sensation that you still have some feces in your bowels even after relieving yourself

●  Less than three bowel movements a week

●  Severe abdominal pain

●  Fever, especially in children

●  The slow movement of food through the digestive tract causes bowel obstruction

What Can Cause Constipation?

Many factors can dispose a person to constipation, but the following are the more common causes:

#1 Diet lacking in fiber and fluids

A poor diet high in fats, lacking fiber and healthy liquids might cause constipation. 

Fiber-rich foods absorb moisture, making feces bigger, hard stools softer, looser, and easy to pass. While consuming high-fiber foods such as whole grains might help treat constipation, it can also cause other underlying conditions such as functional gastrointestinal disorders and pain.

#2 Irritable bowel syndrome

Some individuals with IBS have delayed bowel movements and other medical conditions such as abdominal pain, cramping, diarrhea, bloating, gas, and struggle with constipation. 

However, some people have constipation as their only symptom, while others experience both constipation and diarrhea.

#3 Medications

Certain medications and over-the-counter drugs may cause severe constipation. Many of them may cause constipation if not taken often or in larger than normal doses. They include certain antidepressants, anticonvulsants, diuretics, and tranquilizers, among others. 

#4 Opioids

Opioid receptors exist in the digestive system, causing constipation while using opioid pain medicines. Constipation is common in opioid-using patients with health conditions such as arthritis, Parkinson’s disease, cancer, and recurrent non-cancer pain.

#5 Changes in lifestyle and routine

Traveling upsets some people’s diet and healthy living. Intestinal activity and muscular tone decrease with age. Constipation may occur during pregnancy due to hormonal changes or the uterus pressing on the intestines.

#6 Inactivity

Regular workout regimens are a part of healthy living and seldom cause constipation. The colon reacts to action, and frequent bowel movements need solid muscular function. The abdominal wall muscles and diaphragm play a considerable role in excretion.

Weak muscles will not accomplish the task well, but exercise may help relieve constipation, especially in older, more inactive people than in younger generations.

A Word From MD

Constipation may be described as having less than three bowel movements per week. However, the exact number varies from person to person due to individual variances in typical, normal bowel movement patterns.

Making simple lifestyle changes and choosing clean dietary options will help prevent and cure constipation and the symptoms it causes, such as fever. You can do this by ensuring that your food intake is a high fiber diet, staying hydrated by drinking water, increasing your physical activity, and not delaying the need to pass the stool.

If none of this helps, seek advice from a healthcare professional.

Conclusion

Can constipation cause fever? While it does not directly cause fever, the symptoms might lead to a rise in body temperature. 

Besides fever, other signs of constipation include stomach pain, bloating, cramping, stress, and general discomfort.

The good thing is that constipation is preventable and curable by eating more fiber, following a treatment plan recommended by a doctor, drinking fluids, carrying out physical activity, and changing some routines.

Written by
Edibel Quintero is a medical doctor who graduated in 2013 from the University of Zulia and has been working in her profession since then. She specializes in obesity and nutrition, physical rehabilitation, sports massage and post-operative rehabilitation. Edibel’s goal is to help people live healthier lives by educating them about food, exercise, mental wellness and other lifestyle choices that can improve their quality of life.
Medically reviewed byRosmy Barrios, MD
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