Feculent Vomiting: Can You Vomit Poop?

Feculent Vomiting or Throwing Up Your Poop(1,2)

The answer is YES, it is possible to throw up your own feces, and it doesn’t need saying, but it is a very unusual and unpleasant experience.

Medically termed as feculent vomiting, this condition, where you are vomiting your poop, commonly occurs as a result of intestinal blockage.

As of now, there is no concrete research that can explain the exact reason why someone can vomit poop; however, there are anecdotal narration of patients who have had experienced this condition.

An article published in 1956 in The American Journal of Surgery had specifically studied feculent vomiting and found that vomiting your poop, though uncommon, is linked with some sort of obstruction in the intestines which can include the following:

What are the Causes of Feculent Vomiting or Vomiting Your Poop?(1,2)

Mechanical Intestinal Obstruction(4): In this condition, there is a complete or partial intestinal blockage commonly occurring in the small bowel.

Paralytic Obstruction (Adynamic Ileus): In this condition, there is problem with nerve or muscle that causes disturbance in the normal contractions of the intestinal muscles. Symptoms of an intestinal blockage can develop as a result of a paralytic ileus, even when there is no actual physical blockage.

Causes of Intestinal Obstruction That In Turn Cause Vomiting Your Poop(3)

Limited studies have shown that fecal vomiting occurs as a result of intestinal obstruction that can have many causes.

Causes of Paralytic Intestinal Obstruction

Some of the common causes of paralytic obstruction are:

Causes of Mechanical Intestinal Obstruction:(4)

  • Inflammation: Obstruction or swelling in the intestine can occur as a result of medical conditions like diverticulitis or Crohn’s disease.
  • Scar Tissue: Development of scar tissue or adhesions can occur after any pelvic or abdominal surgery.
  • Hernia: This is a condition where there is bulging or displacement of any organ, in this case intestine, into another body part causing obstruction and vomiting of poop.
  • Twisting of the Intestine: This is termed as volvulus, and this can also cause obstruction and feculent vomiting.
  • Impacted Feces: This condition develops when a hard and large lump of stool gets impacted or stuck in the rectum or colon causing obstruction where the poop cannot pass in the normal manner and this causes feculent vomiting or throwing up of poop.
  • Intussusception: In this condition, one segment of intestine pulls inward into another segment resulting in blockage. Intussusception is a common cause of blockages in children.
  • Other Causes of Mechanical Intestinal Obstruction: Foreign matter in the intestines; colon tumors/cancer and injuries or other medical conditions can cause mechanical intestinal obstruction.

What Are The Symptoms Of Feculent Vomiting Or Throwing Up Poop?

According to anecdotal accounts, feculent vomiting is described as vomiting associated with the smell of poop on the breath. Other symptoms of feculent vomiting consist of: nausea, abdominal pain and dehydration.

Symptoms of a Bowel or Intestinal Obstruction are: Abdominal pain/cramps; constipation, vomiting, loss of appetite, swelling in the abdomen and inability to poop or pass gas.

When to Seek Medical Attention?

If you are experiencing symptoms of a bowel obstruction or feculent vomiting, then it is imperative to seek medical attention immediately. Bowel obstructions, if not treated on time, can cause serious complications.

What is the Treatment for Feculent Vomiting or Throwing Up Your Feces?

In case of intestinal blockage causing feculent vomiting, then treatment depends on: The cause of the problem and the type of obstruction present. Patient needs to be hospitalized when suffering from this condition.

  • Surgery is needed in case of a complete obstruction, to remove the blockage.
  • In case of partial obstruction, surgery may not be needed. The doctor can advise on a special diet and other steps to alleviate this condition. In case the partial obstruction does not resolve, then surgery is needed.
  • In case of paralytic obstructions, patient will need a feeding tube and intravenous medications to help with the muscle contractions. In rare cases, surgery is needed.
  • Decompression is a procedure that can be done in patients with enlarged colon where a thin tube is inserted into the anus and guided to the colon.

What are the Complications of Feculent Vomiting or Throwing Up Poop?

Serious complications can occur if the bowel obstruction is not treated and it includes:

  • Tissue Death or Necrosis of the Tissue: The intestinal blockage cuts off the blood supply to the intestine and this results in the death of that part of the intestine.
  • Infection: Necrosis or death of the tissue causes tear in the wall of the intestine, which results in infection that can be fatal and needs immediate medical attention without any delay.

Can Death Occur From Fecal Vomiting Or Feculent Vomiting?(5)

There have been reports of death of some patients who were having symptoms of fecal vomiting.

Conclusion

Throwing up your poop is without a doubt a very unpleasant thing to experience. Fecal vomiting is also an indication of some type of obstruction in the bowels. Feculent vomiting or fecal vomiting needs immediate medical consultation where your doctor will perform some tests to diagnose the cause of feculent vomiting and treat it accordingly. Timely treatment will also save the patient from some serious complications.

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