Constipation in the elderly

Constipation in the elderly

Constipation is a symptom of difficult defecation. Need to push and take a long time. The stool is very hard. You still have stomach pain after taking the shot and have a feeling that cannot finish. This includes fewer than 3 defecations per week.

Behaviors can be adjusted to help make bowel movements easier by drink at least 8-10 glasses of water per day. Eat foods rich in fiber. Light exercise. Clear the mind practice to have a bowel movement every day and should not use laxatives in the elderly and become habitual.

Constipation in the elderly It is not a serious condition that requires all medical attention. But we have to observe and not let it become chronic until it cannot be resolved.

If constipation is combined with other symptoms such as weight loss, bloody diarrhea, the appearance of abnormal stools, or have a family history of colon cancer. Should consult a doctor to find the cause and get the right treatment.

Besides constipation in the elderly, it can have an impact on physical health. Making you eat less In some cases, it can cause stress. Depressed mind Resulting in being unable to live normally although it should be a period that should not be a concern, Can have the best fun with your family at the end of life.

For common people, it is believed that Healthy people need to defecate once a day or have a daily bowel movement. But the reality is A generally healthy person may defecate one to three times a day, or a few times a day, so the term “constipation” is medically referred to as the frequency of defecation.

  1. Hard lumpy stools
  2. Do not have the most defecation.
  3. Need to push more than usual
  4. There is a feeling that the defecation cannot come out due to an obstruction in the anus area.
  5. Less than 3 defecations a week

If two or more of these symptoms are present and the frequency is more than 25% of all defecation or the duration of symptoms combined for more than 3 months within one year, it is considered constipation.

What does constipation look like?
Whenever defecation is difficult, need to push and take a long time, the stool is very hard, including after having finished bowel movements and has a feeling that you cannot excrete. In addition, less than three defecations per week. It is considered to have constipation as well. Due to the digestive process from the beginning to the defecation It takes about 1–3 days depending on the type of food, water, exercise, and body of each person. Most of them take about 1 day. If not, the stool is stored in the colon. When accumulating more Making stools hard and passing with difficulty.

Constipation that requires immediate medical attention are as follows:

  1. Constipation is associated with abdominal pain or severe nausea and vomiting.
  2. Constipation greatly interferes with everyday activities.
  3. Inability to defecate on their own. Without using laxatives
  4. Symptoms began in the elderly who have never had constipation before.

Constipation diagnosis by a doctor In most cases, doctors will ask about the defecation nature and the underlying cause, and then do a thorough physical exam. This will help determine the reason for constipation. Your doctor may draw blood to check your thyroid function. Blood calcium levels or tests that are a quite specific include:

  1. Colonoscopy. Help diagnose constipation caused by colon cancer, especially in people with warning symptoms, such as the family history of cancer, weight loss, recent symptoms. Elderly patients, etc.
  2. Examination of the passage of stool in the colon. This is done by having the patient swallow a pill that has an opaque material inside and an abdominal x-ray on day 5 after taking the pill If more than 20% of the opaque material is present, the stool is passing slower in the colon.
  3. Examination of the work of the anus and the muscles that control the excretion. To see if they work together well or not. Using a special instrument, a wire is inserted into the anus and measures the pressure inside the intestines, interprets the results into a graph on the computer screen.
  4. The balloon inflation test. To test whether the patient has problems with pushing or not. The balloon is connected to the anus and put 50 ml. of water into the balloon. If the patient cannot inflate the balloon within 3 minutes, it is abnormal.

Constipation can happen to everyone of all genders and ages, so be prevented by choosing foods rich in fiber, drinking water frequently, exercising, and practicing regular bowel movements. It will help prevent constipation. But if constipation has already occurred and the symptoms are quite severe, do not delay. Hurry to see a doctor help check.

Why do older people get constipated?
In addition to the process of digestion is reduced. Most elderly people with constipation are caused by a number of factors:

  • Lack of exercise. It is difficult to move the body in the elderly. May be for fear of falling and falling or in some cases with chronic illnesses Including not being aware of the importance of exercise.
  • Chronic illness and receiving certain medications resulting in constipation.
  • Have stress or have a habit of holding stools.
  • Drinking less water. Elderly with urinary incontinence or incontinence Belong to each other Many of the elderly choose to drink little or no water during the day. Constipation is therefore a subsequent problem.
  • Eating foods that contain insufficient fiber. Because fiber is often difficult to chew, it is sticky. Therefore, the elderly tend to choose soft foods that lack dietary fiber.

Behavior modification improves bowel movements.

  • If the elderly have oral and dental problems, should be treated to help make chewing food easier and help to eat more flavorful foods.
  • Do light exercise suitable for a physical condition such as walking after eating or swing your arms in the morning. It helps the bowels to have a movement. Helps in having a better bowel movement.
  • Clear the mind. Practice to have a bowel movement every day and should not use laxatives in the elderly until they become in the habit of making them unable to excrete by themselves.
  • Eat foods that are high in fiber. To increase fiber to make the stool more fluid.
  • Drink at least 8-10 glasses of water a day with a break for the whole day.
  • Consult your doctor to modify any medication that may cause constipation.

Fiber is an important aid in excretion.
Generally, older people should get about 20 to 35 grams of fiber per day, but people with constipation should get 25 to 60 grams of fiber-rich foods per day. Eating foods high in fiber helps. Increased residue and weight in the stool Including the fiber to help absorb water. Makes stool soft and easy to move Helps to make bowel movements easier.


This is because the elderly often have unhealthy teeth problems or may not have teeth at all. As a result, chewing food is not fine. Bloating In addition, most of the fiber found in fruits and vegetables is sticky. Difficult to chew thoroughly. It is important to modify food to be soft, easy to digest, easy to chew and swallow. By modifying the method of cooking Soften foods such as chopping or churning before cooking by steaming, stewing, or softening the food by boiling.

In addition, dietary options to increase fiber can include:

  1. Choose ripe fruit rather than raw. To make it easier to chew, easy to digest, and to aid in the excretion.
  2. Cook delicious food Choose ingredients that the elderly like. For appetite.
  3. Drink enough water between meals and during the day.
  4. Change from eating white rice It is soft-cooked brown rice, oatmeal, or whole wheat bread.
  5. Cut vegetables smaller and choose to cook them so they are soft. Which should eat at least 100 grams of every meal.
  6. Add snacks by using grains such as green beans, red beans by boiling them to cook softly.

Constipation is more common in the elderly. Can be improved by behavior modification and care for the elderly. But if constipation is combined with other abnormal symptoms such as weight loss, bloody diarrhea, the appearance of abnormal stools, or have a family history of colon cancer. There is a need to be more careful if any abnormalities are found, consult a doctor.

People photo created by pressfoto – www.freepik.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *