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.
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 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.
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:
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.
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.