Many people, even the elderly, can help treat their own constipation by looking into what may have caused it in the first place. They typically begin by examining their own lifestyle, the look at their diet, level of daily exercise and then their bowel habits.
If they discover that they put off having a bowel movement when the urge is upon them, for whatever reason, they may just discover their issue. If they ignore the urge simply because it isn’t convenient for them, then they need to plan ahead; take preventative measures if you will. One way to do this is to add fiber to the diet, drink plenty of fluids and getting regular exercise.
If the preventatives don’t work, if the problem does not get relieved, then you need to get your client to the doctor. This is especially true if their constipation is paired with rectal bleeding, abdominal pain or bloating (abdominal distension). The medical physician will have much more information on how to treat your client, especially after they do a physical and digital rectal exam.
The doctor will most likely confirm or deny fecal impaction after examining the abdomen and checking for a mass of impacted feces during the rectal exam. He or she may even order more tests which could include blood tests, plain abdominal X-rays, a barium enema or sigmoidoscopy. The sigmoidoscopy is a special instrument used to view the lower colon.
The reason that physicians go through so much trouble is that constipation can actually be a symptom of colon cancer. Colon cancer increases with age, so people over the age of 50 should be up-to-date with screening for polyps and cancer. They will use colonoscopy or other tests in order to make or break the diagnosis.
As their caregiver, being on top of your clients’ medical issues can only help them to be healthy and stay healthy; proving yet again that With Age Comes Respect.