What is Constipation?

Constipation is the passing of infrequent, irregular or incomplete bowel movements that may be hard, dry and difficult to pass. Common constipation symptoms include feeling bloated and windy, abdomen pain, few weekly bowel movements, straining and/or pain when passing a stool, hard/dry stools and a sense of incomplete bowel movements.

What causes Constipation?

The most common causes of constipation are dehydration, a lack of dietary fibre intake, a lack of exercise and certain medications and medical conditions.

Constipation in the elderly.

Constipation is a frequent problem in the care of the elderly – with as many as 50% of community dwelling elderly and 74% of nursing home residents affected.

Contributing factors include a lack or loss of mobility, medications or medical conditions, age related weakening of bowel muscles, dehydration and general food intake reduction. Additionally, resisting the urge to open bowels over time can cause constipation.

1.Rao SS, Go JT. Update on the management of constipation in the elderly: new treatment options. Clin Interv Aging. 2010;5:163–171.

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