Removing Stool with Fingers: Safety, Risks, and More – Healthline

Constipation is a common problem with a number of causes, including your diet, stress, illness, and some medications. It can be very uncomfortable and lead to pain in your stomach and pelvic area.
There are many ways to treat and prevent constipation. One method is using your fingers to manually remove the stool from your rectum. This is sometimes called digital disimpaction or manual elimination.
Using your fingers to remove stool can be helpful when you’re not getting relief from other relief techniques. But there are safety risks to manual elimination, so it’s not a good idea to use this method frequently.
Read on to learn how you can do this safely, what risk may be involved, and other tips for relieving constipation.
First, you’ll need the following items:
Once you have the supplies you need, follow these steps to carefully remove stool with your finger:
This method should only be used rarely. Don’t rely on removing stool with your fingers as a way to relieve constipation.
When removing stool with your fingers, don’t:
It’s important to be gentle and work slowly when you’re removing stool with your finger.
Removing stool with your fingers can easily cause tears in your rectum or spread stool to other areas if not done carefully. Going too fast or not using caution can lead to infection and injury.
You may also want to clip your fingernails so that a long nail doesn’t accidentally tear any skin in your rectum.
Don’t keep your finger in your rectum for too long. If the method isn’t working to remove stool, try another method or call a doctor as soon as you can. Don’t attempt this method on your own more than once.
There are some risks associated with removing stool with your fingers.
Use caution and avoid using this method too often to help reduce these risks. Some risks are still possible even when being cautious, such as:
There are many methods of managing constipation. It’s recommended that you try other methods before attempting to remove stool with your fingers.
Constipation can often be relieved with hydration, exercise, and a nutritious diet. Try fruits such as apples, pears, kiwis, prunes, and dried apricots to help ease along your natural digestion process.
If natural methods aren’t successful, you can try a mild over-the-counter laxative or suppository.
Some people also have success using their hands to stimulate the digestive system or muscles in their rectum without inserting a finger. These methods are much safer than removing stool with your fingers. This can be done by messaging one of the following areas:
Preventing constipation can help you avoid having to remove stool with your fingers. Here are some methods to prevent constipation include:
It’s not safe or recommended to remove stool with your fingers frequently. This method should always be a last resort, not a regular practice.
Tell a doctor if you’ve been experiencing constipation and have needed to use manual evacuation or any other relief method, including laxatives — especially if you’ve felt the need to use any of these frequently.
A doctor will go over your symptoms and check for any conditions or medications that could be causing your constipation. They’ll help you come up with a plan to manage your constipation without using your fingers to remove stool.
Some possible changes to help you manage constipation can include:
In some cases, constipation can require urgent medical attention. Some symptoms can be signs of serious bowel obstruction.
Seek care right away if you’re experiencing constipation along with:
Removing stool with your fingers is a method of relieving constipation.
There is a significant risk of infection and rectal tears when using this method. It should not be used regularly or as a first resort. When you do need to use this method, it’s important to be gentle and use clean supplies.
Talk with a doctor if you’ve been experiencing constipation. They can help you prevent constipation with other, less risky treatments and avoid having to remove stool with your fingers.
Last medically reviewed on August 12, 2021
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