Constipation in old age is a common complaint. The older people face a tough time with this health issue. According to research reports, the prevalence of constipation increases with age.
In this condition, the person experiences irregular bowel movements. The stools stay for a longer time in the large intestine, thus, they dry out and become hard. Due to this, it becomes difficult to pass out the stools.
Causes of Constipation in Old Age :
Not Taking Enough Fibre or Fluids :
The senior citizens having problems with their teeth prefer soft, processed foods that contain little amount of fiber.
Eating irregular meals may cause older people to not drink enough fluids.
Lack of Exercise :
Not doing enough exercise is another cause of constipation in old age. But this is especially noticeable in the people who have decreased activity levels. Or for the ones who have been confined to a bed or chair during illness or after surgery.
Resisting the Urge to Go :
Old people may not go to the toilet as quick as they used to. This is because they face difficulty getting out of their chair or bed. This ignorance or delaying the urge to go can lead to constipation.
Some medicines like antacids, tablets for high blood pressure, antidepressants and painkillers can upset the digestive system.
What to do for Constipation in Old Age?
Have Fibre Rich Diet :
Taking enough fiber or roughage is the most important thing you can do for constipation relief.
This is because fiber helps to maintain regular bowel movements. Some foods from which you can get dietary fiber are whole meal flour, bran cereal, vegetables, and fruit.
Drink Enough Fluids :
Make sure you are drinking enough fluid, as it helps to lubricate the passage of food. It prevents the drying out of stools along the way and prevents constipation.
It is recommended to drink at least 1.5 liters of water unless you are fluid restricted. Make sure to drink water in a slow manner and not in one go. Fruit juices like those of prunes, pear, and apple are a good option as they have a laxative effect. A glass of warm water on an empty stomach in the morning is helpful too.
Due to sitting for longer periods of time and not getting out as much, you probably don’t exercise much. With age, the muscle tone doesn’t remain as strong as it used to be and bowel movements depend on good muscular contractions.
Exercise benefits the process of digestion in both old and young age. It helps in the passage of food through the system and helps to prevent constipation. Even a short walk or movement around the house or garden every hour or two is good for digestion as well as overall health.
Eat Prunes :
Prunes and prune juice is considered as one of the best natural remedies for constipation. Along with fiber, prunes also contain sorbitol, a natural sugar that has a laxative effect.
The right dose to get effective relief from constipation is about 7 medium sized prunes two times a day.
Maintain Regularity :
Holding the urge to go to the washroom for long can cause constipation. This is because the waste matter keeps on accumulating becoming more dry and hard. Thus, it becomes more difficult to pass them out when you do go.
Therefore, you must try to go to the toilet at the first possible convenience. This piece of advice goes for both bowel movements and passing urine.
Eat Probiotic Foods :
People who suffer from constipation problem are shown to have an imbalance of bacteria in their gut. Hence, probiotic foods can help improve this balance and prevent constipation.
These foods produce lactic acid and short chain fatty acids which may improve gut movements, making it easier to pass out stool. Therefore, it is better to include probiotics rich foods in your diet like yogurt, kimchi, and sauerkraut which contain a good amount of live and friendly bacteria.
Take Natural Laxative :
Instead of relying on allopathic medicines for curing the problem of constipation, it’s better to choose natural laxatives. The ayurvedic herbs like senna leaves, Nisoth and Haritaki are effective in giving relief from constipation and other digestive issues.
One such herbal laxative is Pet Saffa which is infused with the goodness of senna leaves and other 8 natural ingredients. Taking a spoon of this ayurvedic churna at night before going to bed gives relief from problems like constipation, acidity, and gastric pain.
Summary: – Constipation in old age is a common health problem which can occur due to poor diet, lack of adequate fluids in diet, lack of exercise, and use of certain medicines. The above-shared tips can help prevent constipation and maintain regular and healthy bowel movements.
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