Do You Know The
Symptoms of Constipation ?
Understanding the symptoms of constipation in the elderly is important. It is also important to know and understand when to contact your doctor.
The elderly become constipated more often than younger people. It is due to a combination of factors including not understanding which signs are important and which aren't.
Normal bowel habits are different for each person; therefore, constipation is defined differently for each person.
Many elderly people fear constipation if they aren't having a daily bowel movement. But normal can be anywhere from 3 bowel movements a day to 3 per week. It is the variation from normal, along with other symptoms, that determines constipation.
A few common symptoms that may indicate constipation are:
- Difficulty passing stools
- Hard stools
- Bloated stomach
- Abdominal pain during bowel movement
- Lower back pain
- Lower left abdominal pain
- Having three or fewer bowel movements a week
- Rectal bleeding
- Nausea and vomiting
Bristol Stool Chart
is another reference to help you determine if your loved one has constipation.
Any time constipation is severe and with a sudden onset, you need to contact the doctor as it can mean that there may be an acute medical condition causing it.
Many elderly that complain of constipation do so because they were raised to believe that they must have a bowel movement every day. Often that can lead to laxative abuse, causing the colon to become dependent on the use of laxatives just to accomplish any bowel movement.
Symptoms of constipation, when they truly exist, do need to be treated ... for comfort as well as good, balanced health. Try some of the home remedies we have provided before reverting to using laxatives. Any time you can treat constipation symptoms naturally it is best for your body.
There are some rare, serious conditions that can first present with constipation, including megacolon, fecal impaction, a structural blockage and bleeding. That is why it is so important to notify your doctor with any acute change in bowel patterns.
Constipation can also be called obstipation, which is the inability to pass stool or gas.
The most important thing is to first determine if there are actual symptoms of constipation and then move on to finding an appropriate method to treat it if necessary.
Almost every adult suffers periodic bouts of constipation which can be related to lack of exercise, lack of adequate fluid intake and even eating certain foods that cause constipation. These periodic bouts generally do not require intervention and will resolve on their own.
If, associated with other symptoms of constipation, your loved one experiences severe abdominal pain, unresolved low back pain, nausea, vomiting and/or rectal bleeding, please contact your doctor as soon as possible.
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