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Bowel Constipation and the Elderly

Constipation also known as bowel constipation or intestinal constipation is the inability of an individual to eliminate wastes from the body. People who have bowel constipation find themselves having lesser bowel movements than usual.

When they do get the urge pass out stools, they strain themselves and it is generally harder and takes longer than people who don't have bowel constipation.

Bowel constipation can bother people of all ages; be it an infant, a child, a teenager, a man, or a woman. However, older people seem to suffer most from constipation because they tend to take more supplements and medications than younger people. Couple that with a poor diet, insufficient intake of water, lack of exercise and their incessant tendencies of worrying about what ‘regular’ bowel movement should be and they'll find themselves in a bad episode of bowel constipation.

Why the Increased Chances of Bowel Constipation in Older People?

As put forward above, as people get older, more and more supplements and medications are needed to sustain their proper body functions. A perfect example would be calcium supplements.

It is recommended that older people take calcium supplements to counteract the effects of aging on their brittle bones. It is wise, however, to stop calcium supplementation when you are having an episode of bowel constipation, as calcium has a hardening effect on stools, making them more difficult to pass out.

A host of medicines can also bring about an episode of bowel constipation. These medicines include drugs used to counter Parkinson's disease, some heart medication, diuretics, antacids, antihistamines used to treat allergies and some antidepressants. These medications like calcium supplements have been found to have a hardening effect on stools.

It is very important to stress the benefits of a healthy well balanced diet; especially for older people. As some older people have a tendency to live up to this motto: “I've lived a full life and I'm going to die sooner or later, so I'm going to eat whatever I want.”

And because of today’s hectic lifestyles, many older people opt to eat fast food and processed foods too, which contribute to the occurrence of constipation.

Bowel constipation differs from person to person, so it is always best to consult with a doctor before treating it. More so for older people since some foods may not be good for them, especially if they suffer from a particular disease. Your best and safest bet to counteract bowel constipation is a high fiber diet, high water intake and sufficient exercise.

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