Medical Alerts for Seniors with Constipation

Medical Alerts for Seniors with Constipation

time icon 5 min read update icon Sept. 28, 2019


Constipation often becomes an increasing problem as we advance in age. If a person goes longer than three days without experiencing a bowel movement and has discomfort when they finally pass a stool, then they are typically considered constipated.

Constipation Overview

Researchers estimate that as many as 40 percents of all seniors suffer from constipation. The causes of constipation are not always known, but they can include an inactive lifestyle, the overuse of laxatives, prescription medications, holding back a bowel movement, inadequate fiber consumption, dehydration, stress and certain medical conditions. If a person does not have regular bowel movements, then stool can become hard and difficult to pass.

Constipation Impairment

Constipation sufferers often feel discomfort from trying to pass hard stool. They grow frustrated and may turn to laxatives or enemas to achieve a bowel movement. Unfortunately, chronic use of laxatives and enemas can lead to dependency and an even harder time passing stool.

  • Bloating
  • Abdominal pain
  • Pain in the sphincter while passing hard stool
  • Feeling like you need to pass a bowel movement but being unable to achieve a successful one.
Medical Alert Benefits

Constipation can actually be dangerous for elderly individuals. Excessive straining can cause a syncopal episode (fainting spell). It can also lead to a life-threatening cerebral or coronary ischemia. Chronic constipation can cause fecal impaction which may lead to anorexia, nausea and abdominal pain. In many cases, chronic constipation in seniors is often caused by other underlying diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, stroke and autonomic neuropathy. If a senior should sufferer a dangerous medical episode while in the bathroom or some other room of the house, then they can instantly summon help using a medical alert system.

Symptoms of constipation often vary among sufferers, but they may include all or some of the following:

  • Fewer bowel movements
  • Hard stool
  • Pain while passing stool
  • Abdominal pain
  • Feeling like you have to pass a bowel movement, but being unable to achieve it
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Vomiting
  • Painful straining during a bowel movement
  • Dizziness from excessive straining
  • Inability to completely empty the rectum
  • Feeling as if there is a blockage
Safety Without Medical Alerts

Many seniors opt to live their lives without medical alert systems. If you regularly suffer from chronic constipation and you do not have medical alert services, then you should take other precautions to ensure safety.

  • Pain and straining: While having a bowel movement, you may experience painful straining. During such difficult times, you could suffer from a life-threatening cerebral or coronary ischemia. You should always carry your cell phone to the bathroom so you can quickly call for help just in case.
  • Dizziness: Constant straining and bouts of constipation can leave you feeling dizzy and tired. Having a toilet frame to help you get up and down safety is imperative because you may be spending a lot of time in the bathroom.
  • Mobility: After hours or days of trying unsuccessfully to attain a bowel movement, you could be unsteady on your feet and have limited mobility. Keeping a cane or walker handy can help you get from room to room safely.
Constipation Precautions
  • Consult your doctor: If you pass blood while experiencing a bowel movement, then you should consult with your doctor immediately.
  • Vomiting: Vomiting during constipation may indicate a deeper underlying problem such as a bowel obstruction. You should seek immediate medical assistance.
  • Pain and dizziness: Call for medical help immediately if you start to feel dizzy, or if you suffer head pain or chest pain during a bowel movement.
Constipation Medical Alerts Conclusion

Most people consider constipation a mild annoyance, but as you get older, the frequency and severity tend to become more common. While straining to have a bowel movement, you could suffer a life-threatening episode that will require immediate medical assistance. Having medical alerts to summon help in the event of an emergency offers peace of mind, which can actually relax you and assist in relieving constipation.

Kimberly Sharpe - Senior Advisor

Kimberly is senior researcher with Grandfolk® providing in-depth product and service reviews to empower senior buying decisions.