Constipation is not given the attention it needs, failing to measure up to other conditions which society deems as more pressing. But, of all the medical disorders existing in Western society, constipation is the most prevalent, and this prevalence increases with age. In seniors, over the age of 84, 34 percent of women and 26 percent of men consider themselves constipated. Don’t, for one minute think that this is a new problem for modern society. 2,500 years ago Hippocrates said, “The intestines tend to become sluggish with age.”
The question is, if the prevalence of constipation increased with age, does that mean that it is a physiologic consequence of aging? The answer is “no”.
The cause of constipation in older people usually stems from a number of different causes or influences such as impaired mobility, reduced dietary fiber intake and certain specific prescription medications. Also, many of the people in western society’s population use laxatives. This is a very bad idea as chronic use of laxatives can cause injury to the nerves and muscles of the colon. A possible effect of continual use of laxatives is a serious condition where the colon becomes flabby and is unable to push along waste matter. The end result would be worsening the constipation.
There are 6 basic steps to take to relieve constipation.
1. Eat a variety of fruits vegetables and grains, avoid high fat, dairy and high sugar items.
2. Drink plenty of water and decaffeinated tea
4. Go to the bathroom immediately when you feel the urge
5. Take fiber tablets or powders
6. Keep a food journal to study your eating habits and patterns
A physician should be consulted to make sure that the constipation isn’t a symptom of an illness or blockage. Definitely call your doctor if:
You notice blood in your stool
You have severe abdominal pains
You have unexplained weight loss
Your constipation doesn’t go away with lifestyle changes
You have vomiting associated with your constipation
In most cases though, making a few diet and exercise changes will help relieve constipation.
If you would like to know about this topic, consult with one of our experts at Kabb Law 216-991-KABB (5222).