What does abdominal distention, masses, or hernia indicate in the physical exam for constipation?

Updated: Jul 05, 2019
  • Author: Marc D Basson, MD, PhD, MBA, FACS; Chief Editor: BS Anand, MD  more...
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Answer

Abdominal distention or masses may indicate the presence of colonic stools or tumors. Large abdominal wall hernias, especially ventral hernias, may interfere with generation of the intra-abdominal pressure required for the initiation of defecation. Rarely, a left-sided sliding inguinal hernia with an incarcerated sigmoid colon may cause difficulties in bowel movements.


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