Each and every one of us experience constipation from time to time. But does it have a different meaning when it happens to seniors?
If you’re reading this article, you probably have a lot of questions about constipation in seniors. What is it? Why do seniors get constipated? What are the symptoms of constipation? What are the best treatment options for constipation?
Below, you’ll find the answers to these frequently asked constipation questions. We keep things brief, to the point, and in plain English so you’ll quickly get a good overview about constipation in seniors.
What Is Constipation?
Constipation is infrequent bowel movements. It is a condition where the stools cannot pass through the body easily. Constipated people typically have fewer than three bowel movements in a week. It’s a condition that can last for just several days. Or it can go on for several weeks.
It is common to experience constipation occasionally. However, there are also those who experience chronic constipation. This condition can be a huge interference in their daily lives.
So, is constipation more common in seniors? If so, why is it more common? Let’s find out below.
Why Is Constipation More Common In Seniors?
Yes, seniors are five times more likely to get constipated than younger adults. There are plenty of reasons why constipation is more common in seniors. Reasons may include poor diet, lack of exercise, poor bowel habits, not enough fluids in the body, and more.
Constipation can also be a side effect of certain drugs, medications and other medical conditions. Additionally, most seniors opt for convenience foods which are often low in fiber and nutrition, so it can also be a factor. Prolonged bed rest in seniors and lack of exercise are other factors that can cause constipation in seniors.
All of these causes above tend to be more common in seniors. And are why seniors can experience constipation more frequently.
What Are The Most Common Symptoms Of Constipation in Seniors?
Here are the most common symptoms of constipation. If you experience two or more of these symptoms for the past month, it may be time to see a doctor.
- Straining to have bowel movements
- If you feel like there is a blockage in your rectum and this blockage prevents bowel movements
- Having hard and lumpy stools
- If you feel like are not able to fully empty the stool from your rectum
- Passing fewer than three stools in a week
- Needing help to empty your rectum
Treatment Options for Constipation in Seniors
In able to determine what treatment options you have, it is best to visit a doctor and explain your case. The diagnosis usually starts with a detailed history and physical examination. The treatment varies and depends on the findings of the examinations.
Some possible treatments the doctors may recommend include:
- Lifestyle and diet changes such as increasing the amount of fiber in your diet and exercising more frequently.
- Over the counter laxatives that can help loosen stool and make it easier to poop.
- A more powerful prescription medication if the over the counter laxatives don’t work.
- Seeing a therapist to help train your pelvic muscles to relax at the right time to make it easier to pass a bowl movement.
- As a last case resort, surgery may be necessary to help those with severe constipation.
Again, if you are having an issue with constipation, we recommend seeing a doctor. They can help you determine the best course of treatment.
Find more senior related health topics here.