Constipation In The Elderly: Causes, Ways Of Prevention And Treatment
Constipation is a general condition that occurs at any age, constipation can occur in pregnant women or children. In addition, constipation is also common in the elderly over 65. According to a study, up to one third of elderly people in this age group complained about constipation affecting their lives. Their and half of them need to go to a medical facility to treat this common disease.
How is it called constipation?
From small to large we have experienced many times constipation, and we often define constipation as a condition that is difficult to go out and usually takes a few days to defecate once
However, in reality, there are those who still regularly 2-3 days to defecate 1 time and this absolutely does not affect their health.
So not necessarily every day a new defecation is considered normal. Constipation is generally difficult to defecate, stool is solid and lasts 1-2 times a week
The cause of constipation in the elderly
The process of absorbing food will follow the journey of food after being squeezed, molded and crushed in the stomach thanks to the enzymes here bringing it to the small intestine.
The small intestine absorbs nutrients from this food intake.
Then the remaining residues will be thrown into the large intestine. Here the large intestine will absorb the remaining nutrients in the food and then create stool, the colon has the task of closing the stool into a mold.
In the normal process, the inner contraction of the intestinal wall creates force and gently pushes the stool forward, an activity known as peristalsis. During this time, the intestinal wall will absorb the water contained in the stool and leave just enough water for the stool to form a mold and be pushed out easily when the stool reaches the rectum and anus.
Constipation occurs when there is a reason for slowing down the passage of stool, causing the intestinal wall to drain out the stool and making it hard to push into the anus. Or the stool itself is dehydrated due to some other reason
And can list some of the causes for the above condition when the stool is not thrown out:
- Drinking less water or not enough water also makes the stool dehydrated.
- In the elderly, the main cause of constipation comes from an unscientific diet such as a diet with too little water and lack of dietary fiber.
- Lazy physical exercise, less walking
- The elderly have to use many drugs is also the cause of constipation.
- Some common diseases in the elderly can cause constipation such as stroke, hypothyroidism and even colorectal cancer.
- Some drugs have side effects that cause constipation such as sedatives, analgesics, antispasmodics, drugs for treating Parkinson's disease, medicines for depressants, antihypertensives, medicines for stomach pain , cough medicines that contain codeine, ...
Constipation in the elderly cause what complications?
Failure to treat constipation will lead to a number of complications for the elderly:
When constipation, the stool is wedged in the colorectal, causing the elderly to push a lot, which leads to a fast heartbeat, fatigue, more dangerous than unconsciousness or sudden death from a heart attack.
Excessive efforts to defecate can rupture alveoli
Elderly people with constipation will lead to fecal insertion into the bladder causing urinary retention, water retention, and long-term kidney complications.
Large straining during bowel movements also leads to rectal prolapse, a high risk of internal and external hemorrhoids, if chronic constipation increases the risk of colon and rectal cancer.
Treatment and prevention of constipation in the elderly
Treatment will depend on the cause, usually with medication. In addition, changing your diet and increasing your level of physical activity is the easiest and fastest way to treat and prevent constipation.
Posture helps to defecate easily
Build a high-fiber diet and drink enough water to flush out toxins from the body, stimulate mucus cell activity and increase intestinal motility.
Always keep the spirit of comfort, optimism, no stress, anxiety
Limit consumption of alcohol and caffeinated beverages, causing dehydration.
Cut back on low-fiber foods, such as meat, milk, cheese, and processed foods.
If you feel like you have to defecate, you need to go right away because fasting will make it harder for the stool to pass.
Enhance abdominal circulation, ability to operate pelvic floor muscles with gentle exercise will help bowel easier
Should practice the habit of defecation at a certain time, preferably in the morning and sitting in the correct posture (put small chairs under the feet, abdomen and thighs at an angle of 45 degrees).
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