Preventing Constipation in the Elderly

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What you need to know about preventing constipation in the elderly and opioid-induced constipation.

When your loved one begins taking narcotics for pain, that’s when they become susceptible to normal constipation and opioid-induced constipation. Preventing constipation in the elderly is key to their comfort and be aware that as soon as they are prescribed narcotics, you should always have an order at the same time for laxatives.

This is something that is very common and important to address. These medications go hand in hand unless your loved one is having a problem with diarrhea. Ask your doctor.

When your loved one is taking less food or fluids and is no longer walking or exercising, they are particularly at risk for constipation.

For most, a goal may be to have a soft formed bowel movement at least every three days. This means not a hard bowel movement, and not having to push or force it out.

If they push too hard, it can lead to fainting or what is known as syncope. Strain resulting from difficulty defecating can lead to raising blood pressure and could put pressure on weak blood vessels in the brain. You do not want that happening.

One possible remedy for constipation is a routine laxative with stool softener taken daily, or sometimes two or three times a day in severe cases. The laxatives can be in tablet form or can be in liquid form. You can consult your doctor about this and other ways of treating chronic constipation in the elderly.

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