Constipation is when a person passes less than three bowel movements a week or has difficult or hard bowel movements. Dehydration is a typical culprit of constipation, but it can also result from insufficient fiber, physical inactivity, a side effect of certain medications, or something a little more problematic, especially when accompanied by a fever.
If you’re wondering, “Can constipation cause a fever,” you’ll be happy to know that while the two can happen at the same time, constipation does not cause a fever.
Constipation and fever: What to know
If you’re experiencing symptoms of constipation and have a fever over 101 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s time to check in with your doctor or visit your local urgent care center. These two symptoms together usually mean there’s a severe underlying medical issue, like diverticulitis or appendicitis.
Diverticula are small, bulging pouches that can form along the colon. Many people can have them without symptoms, but sometimes bacteria can get trapped inside these pouches and lead to infection and inflammation. In addition to fever, diverticulitis can cause severe or sudden pain on the left side of your abdomen as well as nausea and vomiting. Pain can be mild at first and increase over time. Diverticulitis requires treatment with a course of antibiotics, so if you have constipation as well as unexplained fever, go to your primary care doctor or visit your local urgent care as soon as possible.
Appendicitis is an inflammation of the appendix, a pouch on the colon that has no known purpose. It begins with pain near the belly button and then moves to the right side. Appendicitis is often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, poor appetite, fever, and chills as well.
When to go to urgent care
In some cases, constipation may occur with symptoms that indicate a severe medical condition that requires care in an urgent care or emergency room setting. Seek immediate medical care if you have any of the following symptoms:
- Bloody, black, or tar-like stool
- Change in level of consciousness or alertness (e.g., passing out or unresponsiveness)
- High fever (above 101 degrees Fahrenheit)
- Major rectal bleeding
- Rapid heart rate or rapid breathing
- Respiratory or breathing problems (e.g., shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, wheezing, or choking)
- Rigid, board-like abdomen
- Severe abdominal pain
- Weakness (loss of strength)
- Jaundice (yellow skin or whites of the eyes)
Visit Oxford Urgent Care to get the fast, affordable care you need when you’re experiencing constipation and a persistent or severe fever. Our skilled specialists can quickly diagnose your medical condition and give you the help you need, so you can start feeling better fast. We welcome walk-in appointments for nonlife-threatening medical conditions 7 days a week.