Aging and Constipation-How do you get rid of constipation in old age?

Aging and Constipation

Constipation is a problem that is often experienced by seniors. Fortunately, it is also a condition that can easily be avoided and treated. Aging and Constipation

Getting older brings with it a number of changes – one of which is a change in bowel movements or, to put it bluntly, constipation. Seniors are especially prone to this problem because the body’s metabolism often slows down with age. Although the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse states this gastrointestinal disorder is nothing unusual and affects over 4 million people living in the United States, constipation is still a condition one would rather not experience. Aging and Constipation

Causes of Constipation

Since many seniors’ activity level slows down over the years, muscle movements in the colon may slow down too and cause feces in the colon to dry up and no longer remain soft enough to pass through the body with ease. Another cause of constipation is a diet that lacks fiber and fluids. The use of certain medications and the excessive use of laxatives is a contributing cause of constipation as well. Putting off having a bowel movement, stroke, irritable bowel syndrome, or having a colon, rectum or intestine that does not perform the way it should may cause irregularity too. Constipation also accompanies certain diseases, some of which include multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and diabetes. Aging and Constipation

Symptoms of Constipation

Conditions that indicate the possibility of constipation should be analyzed over the course of a year. Note if you need to force your bowel movements. Hard feces and feces that consist of solid masses should also be considered symptoms of constipation. Other symptoms to look for include feeling as if you still have to make a bowl movement after having one, feeling as if something is blocking you from having a bowel movement and evacuating less than three times a week. If you experience two of these symptoms for three months or more, make an appointment with your doctor to determine if constipation or something more serious is causing these symptoms. Aging and Constipation

Prevention and Treatment of Constipation

To help prevent and treat constipation, you need to remain active and maintain a high-fiber diet. Before changing your diet, ask your doctor if a high-fiber diet is right for you. If you plan on exercising more, get your doctor’s approval on that as well. Get the fiber you need from a variety of fruits, vegetables and whole grain foods, and make sure you consume a minimum of 36 ounces of water every day as drinking any less can intensify your condition. Eat peas and beans and nuts and seeds for fiber. Start your day by eating oatmeal. Keep your body moving by making a conscious effort to walk more often. Resort to taking a laxative recommended by your doctor if these lifestyle changes fail to work, or if you notice anything different about your bowel movements. Also consult with your doctor if you find blood in your feces, if you experience great abdominal pain, or if you have unexplained weight loss. Aging and Constipation


National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse: Constipation

The information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and should not be used for diagnosis or to guide treatment without the opinion of a health professional. Any reader who is concerned about his or her health should contact a doctor for advice.

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