Up to 40% of people over the age of 65 experience constipation, making it a frequent issue. Several things, including as dietary adjustments, a decline in physical activity, and medications, can contribute to it. It’s crucial to comprehend why elderly constipation occurs because it might negatively affect a person’s quality of life.
What is Constipation?
Just under three bowel motions per week are considered to be constipated, as are stools that are firm, dry, and difficult to evacuate. Bloating, stomach pain, and a sense of incomplete evacuation may also be present. Experiencing these symptoms for more than 12 weeks in a year is considered to be chronic constipation.
Causes of Constipation in Old Age
There are many factors that can contribute to constipation in older adults. These include:
1. Diet changes: Constipation may occur from older persons consuming less fibre and water in their diet.
2. Less physical activity: As older persons become less physically active, the bowel movement-controlling muscles may weaken, which can cause constipation.
3. Medications: A number of drugs, including opioids, antidepressants, and some blood pressure medicines, can slow down bowel motion and cause constipation.
4. Long-term medical issues: Diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and hypothyroidism are a few illnesses that can make you constipated.
5. Bowel obstruction: In a small percentage of cases, an obstruction in the colon can result in constipation in older persons.
Effects of Constipation on Older Adults
Constipation can have a range of negative effects on older adults, including:
1. Decreased quality of life: Persistent constipation can be uncomfortable and embarrassing, which can lower one’s quality of life and cause social isolation.
2. Impairment of physical function: Constipation can impair physical function, making it harder for senior citizens to carry out daily tasks and raising their risk of falling.
3. Increasing healthcare use: As older persons seek treatment for symptoms including nausea, bloating, and stomach pain, constipation might increase the use of healthcare services.
4. Establishing a regular bowel habit: To create a regular bowel pattern, older persons should strive to go to the bathroom at the same time every day.
5. Utilizing laxatives or stool softeners: Older persons may occasionally find it helpful to use laxatives or stool softeners to treat constipation. Nonetheless, only a healthcare professional’s advice should be followed when using these.
In conclusion, older persons frequently have constipation. Maintaining good digestive health requires an understanding of the causes and consequences of this condition. Older persons can preserve their physical performance, quality of life, and general wellbeing by adopting proactive measures to prevent and treat constipation.