Constipation hell.

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This is really just a big whine. No matter what I try I can't keep mom on a bowel schedule. We are already on colace twice daily, senna at bedtime and milk of magnesia every third day until we see results. I keep trying to tweak this so I don't end up with an explosion of diarrhea , but now we are on day seven and in the midst of my monthly constipation h*ll. Repeated milk of mag and suppositories have produced some foul foul liquid, but still no real BM. I know she feels terrible about it, and I am less than pleasant to deal with. The poor woman has no normal bowel function at all, no desire and no ability to push. Our nurse comes tomorrow, but we have been through this too often already. I keep thinking that death by constipation would be a horrible way to have to go...

11 Comments

cwille, make sure your Mom doesn't have a bowel blockage... if she has one, it would be quite painful unless your Mom cannot sense pain if there are memory issues. She would need to be seen by her primary doctor in either case.

If it is the run of the mill constipation, what I did for my Dad [93] was buy him a bottle of old fashioned Sun-sweet prune juice... Dad said it was better than any over-the-counter med.
I am starting to wonder if there is a blockage, or perhaps a partial blockage that has never been completely eliminated every time we go through this. I even wonder if there is a tumour. I am very reluctant to take her to emerg though because the last time we spent the day there and were finally sent home with the issue unresolved and a rx for an enema...totally useless.
Follow up is needed. Is your mom on pain meds? they can be very constipating. You need to find out what is going on.

We use Miralax in am coffee until results (usually within two days). Mom like prune juice too...by the shot glass. And we use dried fruits (like dates, raisins, and prunes) as snacks each day.

The other problem may be lack of regular fluids...seniors often lose the sense of being thirsty and don't take in enough liquid. This just makes everything move even slower.

Here's hoping for some regularity in your Mom's future!
Thanks freqflyer and glasshalffull. We have tried all the easy stuff, starting with extra fiber and prune juice, chia, flax etc to miralax (that work wonderfully for a long time) to the laxative regimen we are on now. We spent yesterday cleaning up from what seems like a hundred watery BMs after copious doses of milk of magnesia and suppositories. (Mom is fully incontinent).
Mom is 95 and on palliative care, but not on any narcotic pain meds so far. She never feels any physical distress over her lack of bowel movements, just from the treatment we have to undertake to get things moving again. Unfortunately every time I think I have a handle on this it seems to creep back in with increasing difficulty in getting a resolution.
My mother had some of the explosions, that you describe. Have you just tried no supplements. Not everyone has a BM, every day.
Here we go again. It is now day seven, we have had so much laxatives over the last three days I just don't understand how we still haven't got things under control. Today a suppository got things started, but they don't work so well when the bowel is so full. ARRRGH!!! I have got to be more vigilant about how much she drinks, but she takes in so little of everything...
The brown cow works for my dad. Milk of magnesia plus a few tablespoons of warm molasses mixed together.
I suffer terribly with constipation. I also have tried everything you listed above. The GI Dr has me on Linzess 145 mg 2x /day. My bowel movements are completely water but at least they come out! Usually one BM in the morning.
I did some reading on Linzess as I had never heard of it, and no wonder it just received approval from the FDA in 2012, not sure if it has been approved for use in Canada. Sounds like a possible option for those with IBS, I'm not too sure if I would try it on a frail elder though.
My MIL has similar issues. I have had to use enemas on her with much success, and she didn't have to push at all.

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