What To Ask Your Doctor
- Could any of my medications be causing my constipation and if so is there an alternative?
- What dietary or lifestyle changes do you suggest I introduce?
- Are laxatives suitable for me and if so which one would be best for me to use?
- How will my constipation be monitored?
- Are there any over the counter remedies which will reduce the chances of me getting haemorrhoids or an anal tear?
Can I Prevent Constipation
In many cases, you can. These things can help:
Eat a well-balanced diet with plenty of fiber. Good sources are fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole-grain bread and cereal .
Drink 1 1/2 to 2 quarts of water and other fluids a day . Fiber and water work together to keep you regular.
Avoid caffeine. It can be dehydrating.
Cut back on milk. Dairy products can constipate some people.
Exercise regularly. Do something active for at least 30 minutes a day, most days of the week.
Go to the bathroom as soon as you feel the urge.
Management Of Constipation In Older Adults
ANNE MOUNSEY, MD MEGHAN RALEIGH, MD and ANTHONY WILSON, MD, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Am Fam Physician. 2015 Sep 15 92:500-504.
Patient information: A handout on constipation, written by the authors of this article.
Chronic constipation occurs in 16% of adults, with older patients experiencing constipation more often.1 About one-third of adults 60 years or older report at least occasional constipation1, and in nursing home residents, the prevalence is 50% or more.2 Approximately 33 million adults in the United States have constipation resulting in 2.5 million physician visits and 92,000 hospitalizations each year.3
SORT: KEY RECOMMENDATIONS FOR PRACTICE
Increased exercise does not improve symptoms of constipation in nursing home residents or older adults.
Polyethylene glycol is preferred over lactulose for the treatment of constipation because it is more effective and has fewer adverse effects.
Linaclotide and lubiprostone are more effective than placebo for chronic constipation.
Peripherally acting mu-opioid antagonists are more effective than placebo for chronic opioid-induced constipation.
A = consistent, good-quality patient-oriented evidence B = inconsistent or limited-quality patient-oriented evidence C = consensus, disease-oriented evidence, usual practice, expert opinion, or case series. For information about the SORT evidence rating system, go to .
What Are Treatments For The Causes Of Constipation
There are several principles in approaching the evaluation and treatment of constipation. The first principle is to differentiate between acute and chronic constipation. Thus, with acute constipation or constipation that is worsening, it is necessary to assess for the cause early so as not to overlook a serious illness that should be treated urgently. 2) start treatment early of constipation and use the treatments that have the least potential for harm, which will prevent constipation from worsening, and it will prevent potential damage to the colon that can be caused by the frequent use of stimulant products. 3) know when it is time to evaluate the cause of chronic constipation. Evaluation for the cause of chronic constipation needs to be done if there is no response to the simple treatments.
Q: How Can I Prevent Or Get Rid Of Constipation
A: Dr. Zutshi emphasizes the big three: Water first. Fiber next. Exercise third.
- Water: Drink a lot. Juices, water, tea and coffee count toward your water intake. People who have normal bowel movements should aim for at least 64 to 80 ounces of water daily. Those who tend to be constipated should drink more.
- Fiber: If you cant get enough fiber from food, talk to your doctor about a supplement. Good supplements to try include Metamucil®, Citrucel® or Benefiber®.
- Exercise: Increasing your exercise can be as simple as walking more. You dont need to be a hardcore athlete.
If you think youre having issues with constipation, Dr. Zutshi advises you to be proactive.
See a gastroenterologist to figure out if everything is OK. And if you have not had a colonoscopy, and youre over 50, its time to schedule one.
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Natural Treatment For Constipation #3 Olive Oil
Olive oil is a simple and easy home remedy for constipation. And because most people already have some sitting in their pantry, it can beused right away. Olive oil stimulates the digestive system and kicks it intogear, so things usually get moving in the waste department fairly rapidly. Justtake a tablespoon on an empty stomach, preferably first thing inthe morning, then every 3-4 hours until you find yourself going freeand easy. You can also add a teaspoon of lemon juice to this one as well forflavor and extra benefit. And if you find the taste of olive oil really unbearable, adding a pinch of sea salt to it definitely helps. Alsoremember to try and buy the organic extra virgin olive oil that you find indark bottles if you possibly can. This is the safest and most effective of the oil .
What Do The Experts Say
As reported by The World Journal of Gastroenterology:
Biopsychosocial risk factors such as psychological stress, poor dietary habits, obesity, and child maltreatment are commonly identified predisposing factors for Functional Constipation.
According to The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases:
Drinking enough water and other liquids is also a good way to avoid dehydration.
According to the same health authority:
Try to relax your muscles or put your feet on a footstool to make yourself more comfortable.
Also, be patient and give yourself enough time until you have a bowel movement. When this thing happens, go immediately to the toilet.
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Treatment For Constipation In Elderly People
To begin the treatment of chronic constipation, all underlying conditions that may be causing it should first be diagnosed and properly managed. Also, a revision of all medications should be done to identify and find substitutes for those causing constipation, if possible. Then, we can proceed to implementing other lifestyle changes, drugs, procedures, and home remedies for constipation in elderly people.
Know When To See A Doctor
Sometimes simple changes are not enough. If yourconstipation doesnt respond to treatments or changes in your diet, and if itlasts for weeks or months, Dr. Zutshi recommends getting yourself checked outto exclude more serious medical causes.
Its especially important to see a professional if you haveother symptoms such as dizziness, fatigue, cramping or spasms.
Chronic constipation can be a sign of conditions such as:
- Celiac disease
- Irritable bowel syndrome
Opioid-induced constipation is its own entity and shouldalso be treated by a physician, Dr. Zutshi says.
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What Otc Laxatives Treat Constipation
Saline laxatives contain non-absorbable ions such as magnesium, sulfate, phosphate, and citrate [for example, magnesium citrate , magnesium hydroxide, sodium phosphate). These ions remain in the colon and cause water to be drawn into the colon. Again, the effect is softened feces.
Magnesium also may have mild stimulatory effects on the colonic muscles. The magnesium in magnesium-containing products is partially absorbed from the intestine and into the body. Magnesium is eliminated from the body by the kidneys. Therefore, patients with impaired kidney function may develop toxic levels of magnesium from chronic use of magnesium-containing products.
Saline laxatives act within a few hours. In general, potent saline products should not be used on a regular basis. If major diarrhea develops with the use of saline products and the lost fluid is not replaced by the consumption of liquids, dehydration may result. The most frequently-used and mildest of the saline products is milk of magnesia. Epsom Salt is a more potent saline laxative that contains magnesium sulfate.
Stimulant laxatives cause the muscles of the small intestine and colon to propel their contents more rapidly. They also increase the amount of water in it, either by reducing the absorption of the water in the colon or by causing active secretion of water in the small intestine.3
This Factsheet Is About Constipation
Constipation is a symptom that can mean different things to different people, but the usual meaning is that a person has difficulty or infrequency with opening their bowels. Constipation affects around 1 in 7 otherwise healthy people. The two groups of people most likely to be trouble by constipation are young women and the elderly especially those who need to take regular medicines.
There is a common belief that people need to open their bowels every day, but this is not the case. Opening the bowels can vary between three times a day to three times a week in healthy individuals. Symptoms can constantly fluctuate and 3 people in every 100 adults have persistent constipation over 20 years. It is a common problem and does not usually mean that anything is seriously wrong. Most cases are temporary and will clear up with simple lifestyle measures.
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Try Fiber Or Probiotics
Probiotics are good bacteria that help support healthy intestines. Healthy intestines will move stool along normally and keep stools soft, preventing constipation.
Fiber feeds the good bacteria and helps promote normal movement in the intestines. It can also help keep more water in the intestines, which helps treat and prevent constipation.
There are different types of fiber, so what works best will vary between cats. Some common sources are Psyllium husks , and wheat bran. Canned pumpkin is often used, but it actually contains very little fiber and lots of sugar, so it isnt the best choice for most cats.
However, the gastrointestinal tract of cats is a little different from people, so high-fiber diets do not always help constipation, explains Dr. Scott Gellman. In fact, sometimes a low-fiber diet works better. A lot of it depends on the cause of the problem. The important thing to understand is there is usually an underlying cause of constipation, and the cat should be brought to a veterinarian to help figure it out.
How Milk Of Magnesia Works For Constipation
Milk of magnesia is a type of hyperosmotic laxative. This kind of oral laxative works by drawing water to the bowel from nearby tissue. This softens and moistens the stool. It also helps increase bowel activity.
Saline, lactulose, and polymer laxatives are the three types of hyperosmotic laxatives. Milk of magnesia is a saline laxative. These kinds of laxatives are also known as salts. Theyre meant to be fast acting. You can expect to have a bowel movement within six hours of taking milk of magnesia.
Lactulose laxatives draw more water to the bowel from surrounding tissue, but they act more slowly than saline types. People use lactulose types for chronic constipation.
If you have recurring bouts of constipation or if you need a long-term treatment, milk of magnesia isnt an appropriate option.
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What Is The Prognosis For Constipation In Adults
Most people with constipation have no physical disease of the digestive system nor any widespread disease associated with constipation. Most of the time, constipation is related to poor dietary habits, low fluid intake, and lack of exercise.
- For people with constipation caused by an illness, recovery will be determined by how sick the affected individual is.
- The person will usually recover well if his or her constipation is caused by painful hemorrhoids or anal fissures.
Chronic Constipation: 10 Proven Remedies For Relief
Chronic constipation is a common and uncomfortable complaint.
Its rarely dangerous and can often be prevented and treated at home with diet and lifestyle changes.
This article explores ten research-backed methods of easing chronic constipation all of which can be done yourself at home.
Constipation refers to difficulty in moving the bowels.
Most people have experienced acute constipation at least once. Its caused by many factors, including diet, stress and changes to daily routine, and usually resolves within a couple of days.
Constipation is considered chronic if symptoms are present at least 3 times per week for 3 months. Its very common and affects up to 27% of the worlds population .
Chronic constipation can be caused by medications or health conditions such as thyroid disorders, Parkinsons disease or spinal cord injuries. Structural and functional problems including slow bowel transit and pelvic floor dysfunction can also cause it.
More commonly its the result of irritable bowel syndrome . Sometimes the cause remains unknown.
This article is largely about chronic constipation.
Summary: Acute constipation is common and usually resolves within days. Constipation is considered chronic when symptoms occur at least 3 times per week for 3 months. This article focuses on chronic constipation.
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What Kind Of Follow
- If the person has specific disorders such as hypothyroidism, scleroderma, and lupus, he or she may require regular follow-ups with a health-care professional.
- Elderly people with a history of fecal impaction and fecal incontinence should be followed regularly to ensure that they do not develop further attacks.
Repeat Step Six As Follows:
- Slowly strain or push the rectum for 5-10 seconds.
- Take a pause.
- Strain the rectum hard for 1-5 seconds.
- Take a pause.
- Finally, push your rectum hard to evacuate the stool.
Repeat these steps until you feel the stool tickling inside the anus. When you feel the stool near the anus, put all the pressure on that specific area.
Take deep breaths to fill your lungs with air. After air enters your lungs, keep the air for 5-10 seconds while you try to poop. After you pushed the rectum and abdomen, let the air out and relax.
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Symptoms Of Constipation In Cats
Constipation is characterized by infrequent stools or stools that are difficult to pass. Most cats will poop about every 24-36 hours. If your cat is pooping less frequently and having some difficulty, she may be constipated.
While there is some normal variation, if its been more than 48-72 hours without a bowel movement, you should contact your vet.
The main signs of constipation in cats are:
- Dry, hard stools
Normally, the poop is a rich brown color and should look well-formed. A healthy stool has enough moisture that litter will stick to it, says Dr. Liz Bales, VMD. Cats with constipation may have very dry, hard stools. You may find these stools outside the litter box, because the discomfort of trying to pass stool can cause cats to leave the litter box before theyre actually finished.
- Crying or straining in the litter box, or avoiding it altogether
Other signs of discomfort can be vocalizing or straining when using the litter box or going in and out multiple times before using it. Your cat may strain but not be able to poop at all. Showing discomfort in the litter box can also be a sign of serious urinary tract issues, so you should contact a vet if you see these signs.
Constipation is really a symptom of other issues, so you may also see signs of the underlying cause. These may include:
- Walking stiffly
If youre seeing any of these symptoms, with or without constipation, you should discuss them with your cats vet.
Make Time To Move Your Bowels
Try waking up earlier to eat breakfast and then move yourbowels. Food can stimulate the need to go, and you probably feel most relaxedin your home bathroom.
But dont get toorelaxed in there the more time you spend on the toilet, the more likely you areto strain for bowel movements. Do not take your cell phone into the bathroomwith you, or work on your computer or read a book, Dr. Zutshi advises.
And if you feel the urge to go when youre out an about,dont avoid using a public restroom. Delaying a bowel movement can actuallymake constipation worse.
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What Can Be Done About Constipation
In many cases, chronic constipation is due to habits that are easily revised. Dr. Pothuri recommends including more fiber in your diet. Find this important carbohydrate in fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. He can also recommend an over-the-counter fiber supplement if you cant seem to get enough from your diet.
Drink plenty of water, too. Staying hydrated makes it easier for stool to pass through your system. Exercise increases intestine strength and promotes the ability of stool to move along your digestive tract. You should do something physical, even just a walk after dinner, for about 30 minutes every day.
Stick to a schedule, too. Dont hold stool in when you have the urge to go. Chronically repressing the need to poop can lead to chronic constipation.
We can help with medical interventions if at-home habit changes dont help relieve your constipation. Prescription laxatives, bowel retraining, and even surgery helps provide relief.
If youre struggling with constipation and cant seem to get relief, call GastroDoxs. We can help you find more ease in eliminating and treat any complications. to schedule an appointment.
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Milk And Dairy Products
Dairy appears to be another common cause of constipation, at least for some people.
Infants, toddlers, and children appear particularly at risk, possibly due to a sensitivity to the proteins found in cows milk .
A review of studies conducted over a 26-year period found that some children with chronic constipation experienced improvements when they stopped consuming cows milk .
In a recent study, children aged 112 with chronic constipation drank cows milk for a period of time. The cows milk was then replaced by soy milk for a subsequent period of time.
Nine of the 13 children in the study experienced constipation relief when cows milk was replaced by soy milk .
There are many anecdotal reports of similar experiences in adults. However, little scientific support could be found, since most studies examining these effects are focused on children, not older populations.
Its worth noting that those who are lactose intolerant may experience diarrhea, rather than constipation, after consuming dairy.
Dairy products may cause constipation in some individuals. This effect is most common in those who are sensitive to the proteins found in cows milk.
Red meat may worsen constipation for three main reasons.
First, it contains little fiber, which adds bulk to stools and helps them move along.
Second, red meat may also indirectly reduce a persons total daily fiber intake by taking the place of higher-fiber options in the diet.
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