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The original item was published from 9/15/2014 3:36:44 PM to 9/16/2015 12:05:02 AM.

News Flash

Area Agency on Aging

Posted on: September 15, 2014

[ARCHIVED] Constipation

Constipation is a symptom rather than a disease. It can be defined as having fewer bowel movements than usual, often accompanied by longer or more difficult passage of stool. What is normal for one person may not be normal for another. There is no right number of bowel movements. Regularity is the normal healthy situation. You may be regular with two bowel movements per day or three bowel movements per week. Doctors often ask the following questions regarding potential concern for constipation. Do you:

• Have fewer than three bowel movements per week?
• Have a hard time passing stools?
• Have pain with bowel movements?
• Have bleeding with bowel movements?

If the answer is yes to one or more of these, you may have constipation.

Constipation can happen for a number of reasons including a poor diet containing little or no fiber, drinking too little fluids, and some medications including antidepressants, antacids containing cations (aluminum and calcium), antihistamines, diuretics, and antiparkinsonian drugs.

Older people with failing dentation eat fewer vegetables, fruits and whole grains. Widows and widowers tend to lose interest in cooking and eating and as a result may select convenience foods which can be low in fiber and high in refined sugars.

Consult your doctor if you suspect you may be constipated. Your physician will want to rule out disease, blockage, or medicine-induced constipation. With your doctor’s approval, you can increase your fiber intake by eating more fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grain foods, drinking more water, and remain physically active in so far as possible. Remember, regularity is an individual thing. Discuss your symptoms with your physician.

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