How do I deal with a mother who constantly obsesses about constipation?

Asked by

My 93 year old mother has been in assisted living for almost a year. She does nothing all day, except complain about being constipated. I have had her to her Dr. several times, and he always checks her out and says that there is no medical problems causing it, she is just very sedentary and needs more fiber. She will not listen to what anyone tells her and gets angry if I won't take her to the Dr./emergency room because she has not had a bowel movement in a couple of days.

How do I deal with this? I find myself hating to call or visit, because I know that all we will talk about is her constipation and that she thinks she will die from it.

Answers 1 to 10 of 22
Top Answer
My mother was absolutely convinced that her doctor had the "magic pill" that would cure her constipation. I prefer natural remedies so I told her repeatedly that it was more of an everyday, preventative, kinda thing that she had to do. But no, she kept going back to the doctor and calling nurse help lines. Of course they are pill oriented and gave her either prescriptions or OTC remedies that worked for a short time then the problem returned - or worse yet, she used harsh enemas. She even had a prolapse from forcing...that still did not stop her.
After YEARS of trying to convince her she finally gave my suggestions a try. I bought her flax seed flour (she cannot swallow the seed) to put in her yogurt, muffins, soups, oatmeal, etc. Also, a teaspoon of olive oil first thing in the morning works as needed. I buy her high fiber breads, crackers, granola, etc. Coconut milk is a laxative too. She has not had problems since. I told her that I would, "send her my bill." :o)
The thing is, it that it is a lifestyle change so I do not know what to tell you to get your mother to cooperate. Sometimes, when Mom is feeling well, she decides that she does not need to do it anymore...then the constipation now, I think I have her convinced.
Constant constipation is just so bad for you. You build up toxins in your body so no wonder your mother is feeling cranky and uncomfortable.

good luck
Mom is OBSESSED with BMS! Hospice states that 5 days of no BM is when they try and do something. The way the nurse explained it to me and mom is that she is sedentary, on a few meds with constipation as a side effect, and that she needs to eat better. We tried prunes, prune juice, wheat germ, more fruit, more greens....Dr. prescribed senna and that has helped. For almost 2 years we've done the BM dance. I finally decided to try the Danactive yogurt challenge. It works. Both me and mom first thing in the morning, we have coffee and a danactive. With in about 1 hour she has a BM. It took about a week and a half to start working, and if we forget one, we notice it the next day. I can't guarantee it will work for anyone else, but it works for us. Happy BMs everyone
Thank you for your Mom told my sister today that when she went to a doctor a "few years ago" he would give her enemas and that is the only thing that she believes in. Well the doctor she is referring to has been dead for over 40 years and things have changed a great deal in the intervening years, but we just cannot convince her to give some of the things you suggested a try. I bought her the Danactive a couple of weeks ago and she refused to even try it.

I do appreciate the suggestions, and will keep trying. It is helpful just having someone to listen and poor husband has had his fill of me venting about my mother and her BM's!
Been the constipated route with my mom, then the solution to that means the opposite. One thing that worked quickly was actually a treat, red table grapes. For more enjoyment, pop them in the freezer, instant popsicles. Try them yourself and see what level it reaches for noticable results...then back off.

What I practically live on these days, grab when I am rushing around the kitchen, are ginger snaps, particularly the Trader Joe's triple ginger snaps, available in hard or thin soft kinds. Eat enough of those and you have near perfection, in THAT department anyway! ;-) Anyway, look for treats, not cures. Whatever would she do if it worked.

Remember my mom's life when I first arrived to care for her. She would not go OUT anywhere because she HAD to hug the toilet, HER toilet. She was a medical assistant, think she would have learned a few things, but nope...
I am so glad to know that my mom is not the only one obsessed with this. They can worry you to no end! I now give my mom a stool softener every evening (the doctor said she could take 2 per day, if needed and Milk of Magnesia every 3rd day). This has solved her problem and for that, we are greatful.
I really like Lilliput's ideas and am going to use some of that. Thanks Lilliput!

my mom won't move enough so I give her a stool softener once in a blue moon and it works well.

We also do fresh carrot juice, yogurt and lots of greens.

Our goal is for mom to drop a deuce at least once a day.

We know that it's working when mom stands up and sounds like a stuttering motorboat on her way to the head.

good luck

Hello "marry"---Here is your answer to constipation ( for your mother or anyone): Have your mother drink TWO large glasses of water ( or a glass and a a half at minimum) FIRST THING when she gets up in the morning. This needs to be before she eats or drinks anything else. If she drinks coffee, the coffee can come afterward, and that will help to get things going too. Good Luck!
One more thing: Your mother can add a measured scoop of CITRUCEL to the two glasses of water, if she likes, but the water by itself works great. She could try the water alone first. I read about this somewhere and it is revolutionary!
bobbie: A "stuttering motorboat" heh, heh,...that image made me laugh out loud (no disrespect to your mom)...aren't BM conversations just the best :o)
put put put POOP!

Share your answer

Please enter your Answer

Ask a Question

Reach thousands of elder care experts and family caregivers
Get answers in 10 minutes or less
Receive personalized caregiving advice and support