Constipation in Elderly

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Old people are more prone to develop constipation due to following reasons :

  • Poor activity.
  • Difficulty in taking high fiber diet as mastication of fruits, raw vegetables is difficult. Their liquid diet is predominantly a low fiber diet.
  • Poor ‘pushing action’ of colon with advancing age.
  • Medications (e.g. some anti hypertensive drugs).

Management

  • Take adequate fluids and a high fiber diet like processed bran or oat meal.
  • Eat soft and easily chewable fruits (like papaya, watermelon, prunes) and soft cooked vegetables like pumpkin, carrot, bottle gourd.
  • Walking is the best form of exercise advisable to these people.
  • Enema is desirable if constipation gets symptomatic.
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Caution:

Prolonged constipation, sudden change of bowel habits, blood in stools and constipation alternating with diarrhea are the signs that should alert an elderly to see his doctor as with advancing age, there is a higher risk of developing a growth (maybe cancer) in the area of colon.

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