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Constipation During Old Age – Causes, Risk, Diagnosis and Treatment

Issue or inability to have a bowel movement for at least 25 percent of the time or more. An occasional problem with bowel movements doesn’t make up constipation. Constipation also generally includes passing hard stools. Additionally, patients frequently believe they are not “empty” after they do have a bowel movement. Quantitatively, physicians perspective constipation as the inability to have more than two bowel movements weekly. Constipation may also cause back pain and gastric pain, along with a generalized feeling of distress. Frequently a slight issue in younger people, constipation can become a serious health problem for elderly people, and they should seek treatment for it.

Constipation is a standard issue among many seniors, and it may also become a long-term ailment. Based on Dr. Schaefer and Dr. Cheskin, in their 1998 article on constipation for American Family Physician, about 26 percent of elderly men and 34 percent of elderly girls suffer from constipation to the stage that it impacts their quality of life. This might seem like a high percentage, but the percentage of constipation is even higher in nursing homes, where about 75 percent or more of the aged residents take laxatives on a daily basis to make do with their constipation.

Risk Factors

Individuals with some disorders are more at risk for developing constipation, like patients with parkinson‘s disease or who’ve spinal tumors. The risk for constipation also increases with age. Constipation are often brought on by thyroid disease, especially hypothyroidism, which is below standard low amounts of thyroid hormone. Low amounts of potassium may also cause constipation. Diet or inadequate fluids may cause constipation. A poor colon could be the origin of the constipation. This state is frequently found among patients with diabetes.

Patients who are restricted to wheelchairs or their beds are more likely to have problems with chronic constipation due to the lack of physical motion.

Drugs, especially painkilling drugs, can lead to long-term constipation. Some antidepressants can be constipating, as are some antihypertensive drugs.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Doctors take a history of the patient and do a physical examination, including a rectal examination. A rectal examination can show any apparent masses or recent bleeding. The doctor will generally have the patient’s fecal matter examined for occult (hidden) bleeding, which might suggest cancer. Sometimes, and especially if the elderly man hasn’t had the process, a colonoscopy will be advocated so the colon can be analyzed for polyps or other indications of disorder. A sigmoidoscopy, or an assessment of part of the colon, may be ordered in lieu of a colonoscopy.

Generally speaking, constipation can be solved by raising the quantity of fiber in the diet or adding an extremely mild laxative. Stool softeners may also help patients to work out their constipation. Frequently, exercise, even as simple as walking, can help the system adapt and relieve constipation.

Doctors may recommend bowel retraining, in which patients are encouraged to set aside certain times to use the toilet, especially after meals, when they’re more likely in order to have a bowel movement.

At its most extreme, yet, the feces may become affected and will need to be manually removed by the individual, a health professional, or a medical man.

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