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As weird as this sounds......my mother is constantly constipated.......all the time....she could be a laxative addict if I let her. She argues with me all the time over this.....like it's my fault. She always begs me to take her to the emergency room......cause she can't poop. It seems to be the topic of the day.....all the time.....let's talk about poop! It's an everyday thing with her....it's killing me....she can't poop.....she can't poop. The only thing she likes is when she had a big shot of milk of mag.....and the poop run's out of her all day long......yes, very gross. HELP ME!.......the curse continues!

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I give my mother Aloe vera juice with pulp, to avoid constipation, along with Coconut juice to avoid dehydration. This combination has been a miracle slam dunk for us. Life changing!!! My mother is 90 years old with stage V (late stage) Parkinson’s disease. She is bed ridden and not very mobile. She suffered from constipation constantly (medication will cause this) I strongly recommend this as a natural, simple way to avoid constipation, which can easily turn into a very serious and dangerous situation quickly, when it becomes a bowl obstruction.
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Ditto the experiences others have mentioned regarding adequate fluids as a resolution for constipation. For a number of years my 88-year-old dad was taking a laxative and/or a stool softener. (One health professional would tell us he should be on stool softeners and another would swear up and down that Miralax was the only thing he should be using, so we went back and forth for a while.) In spite of using these, Dad was often complaining that he was constipated, to the point that Mom and/or the nurses at his day care would occasionally need to use a suppository. Our family would try to get him to drink more water, but he didn't want to, saying that made him need to urinate more frequently--which he didn't want because it was hard for him to walk to the bathroom in time. Eventually he started using Senna on an every-other-day basis, which worked fairly well. But ....

...about four months ago I happened to mention to Dad that I was surprised he no longer drinks decaf coffee at breakfast and lunch anymore, since he used to enjoy that so much in the old days. To my surprise he asked for a cup of coffee and started drinking decaf coffee on a regular basis again with breakfast and lunch. During this same time I also started asking him, about an hour before lunch, which he would like-- a glass of orange juice, cranberry juice, or a low sodium V8. Often he would drink a small glass of one or another before lunch. I also tried to offer more water-based snacks, such as an apple with some peanut butter or a slice of watermelon. We found his favorite root beer, Stewarts, in a local grocery store and he would occasionally have this or a 7-Up or Sprite in the afternoon.

In short time we had to discontinue the Senna because his bowel movements had become loose and diarrhea-like. It dawned on me that it might be due to his increased fluid intake (I had noticed that his overnight cath bag output had gone from 200-300 mL to more like 600-1000.) We completely stopped the Senna and substituted a few prunes with breakfast, fine tuning the number of prunes based on his previous day's bowel movements.

Four months later, still without any laxatives, stool softeners, or suppositories, Dad is still having a bowel movement approximately once a day, usually shortly after his breakfast--which includes prunes and about 8 ounces of apple juice in addition to his cereal, eggs, toast and sometimes canteloupe or a banana. (He typically urinates 3 or 4 times during the day, and as mentioned his catheter bag's overnight urinary output is usually at least 600 mL and often more like 1000).

(Note that in spite of this apparent resolution to Dad's constipation, he (smile) is still not entirely happy with his bowel movements....even though he's continuing to have a regular BM almost every day and without the straining that he used to have. Maybe we'd have to be elderly ourselves to understand their frustration with their bowel habits.)
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missmpd2000 can you get your mom to drink other fluids? I started taking my mom caffeine free Diet Pepsi or Diet Coke. She really likes it and drinks it regularly, which I think also helps keep her regular. Any kind of fluid should work - water, tea, soda, fruit juices, milk. My mom keeps cold water in the fridge and drinks a bit of that, but she really likes the pop. I think she looks at it as a treat, which is great. Works for her and that's what I care about.
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You are far from alone with this problem. My poor mother has had years of constipation, with two episodes of intestinal obstruction leading to surgery. So, keeping her cleaned out is really important. We have tried just about everything and then switch from one thing to another. Recently she has had a really bad time of it for whatever reason. The doctor told me to use Mg Citrate in prune juice. After several days of that, with no results other than bloating and "a belly ache", I have resorted to a huge dose of MOM. My mother is not good at drinking. I find myself constantly trying different laxatives and stool softeners. She gets very upset at me for not helping her and I feel so badly that I can't help. When she does not poop, she does not eat, and at 95 pounds soaking wet, I can't afford for her to refuse to eat. So, I just give her whatever I want in the hopes that she will not become obstructed again. Good luck to you and to me too.
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PEOPLE!! I swear by this website: herbdoc.

Constipation is no joke. Dr. Richard Schulze is a holistic doctor - he's got an MD and he sells only herbs. I personally take Formula 1 for digestion and regular bowel movements. However, its got cayenne in it and that could be way too harsh for the elderly. There is a Formula 3 - which is the link above that kids use and it's easier for adults. It's worth a look. There was a time when I was so stoved up it was miserable when I was on vacation. I actually fed-exed the Formula 1 to my friends house and only after taking that was I able to "go". Again, use Formula 3 for adults - it's easier on their system as Formula 1 can be tough to digest. Make sure they have food when taking and you can call the company and ask questions. The customer reps are pretty knowledgeable. I 've used this product for years. It's truly amazing company with a lot of good products. Also, my mom uses Mirlax every morning that she got from her Geriatric doctor. It seems to work.
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I am an LPN and worked in a nursing home. When the Miralax came out it was a Godsend. There were some problems getting some demented patients to take it? I believe the 'REAL' secret is making sure it is desolved. I kept pouring a dose with water back and forth until I could see it was desolved. Still we need to get the patient or all is for Nill. Sometimes I would pour the desolved Miralax into their coffee or juice. Sometimes I would give it with their Meds as their water. (There is NO taste to it) It is for everyday and may take a couple of days to start working. Yes it draws water into the colon.
Nothing is worse than a empacted patient needing to be cleaned out by hand. So painful for them.
Sometimes we MUST be inventive with these issues.
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Try cool kinds of teas for added water drinking. Put a squeeze of orange, lime or apple into bubbly water. I tried hybiscus tea recently and it was lovely... even tho I don't like tea very much.

Also, kambucha at natural markets has stuff in it that might help as well when needing to drink more. Dilute everything a bit so there is more water and less flavoring.
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My 90 year old mother is always constipated. I recently took her to the ER for impacted bowels. They gave her an enema and then had to "dig" the rest of it out. She was in so much pain they gave her some morphine thru andIV. I took her home and later that night she got up to go to the bathroom and her legs just gave way, but I was behind her and kept her from falling. I just helped lower her to the floor. I feel like it was the morphine that caused this. Her legs and arms were still weak the next day. .Next time (and I know there will be one) I won't let them give her morphine.

She had been taking Milk of Mag, but the kidney doctor doesn't want her taking it any more. Prune juice makes her cramp really bad. Miralax also makes her stomach cramp all day like she has to poop even if she just did. When she was at the ER she was dehydrated and that is part of her problem. I encourage her to drink more water, that it will help with her bowel movements. She just gets mad at me and says "I know it". She is so stubborn and won't listen to me or the doctor.

I guess this is just an ongoing thing Good luck to all the other caregivers! After reading these postings I realize I'm not alone in dealing with this.
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I second the notion of Miralax. I keep my mom in lots of fresh fruits and vegetables and thank goodness, she doesn't have this issue. In the past when she wasn't eating as well or drinking enough fluid, our doctor (a geriatrician) recommended Miralax. My dad used that and it creates normal stools. You take it daily and it keeps things moving.

I've really laughed at some of the poop discussion on this thread (poop prognostication) and yes, caregiving makes poop talk funny. Glad we're laughing and not crying over this issue!
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Having your bowels impacted is a real issue and can cause death.

BM movements is a constant topic among the elderly. You could do a whole comedy skit on them giving a @#$%!

I have seen this combo produce a regular soft bowel movement in a 96 year-old for years now. Miralax in the morning. 1 Colace at breakfast and another Colace at night. Of course, consult your physician before giving anything. This 96 year-old has a quart of water per day plus liquid like Boost, milk and tea.

One thing that works with the elderly and demented is saying, "Here is your water that you need to have a nice "movement." Instead of asking them if they would like some water. Ditto with a shower. It's best to say something like, "It's Tuesday morning time for your shower." Often if you ask the elderly if they want to do something the answer will be, "NO!"

I know some nursing homes give the "bomb" when it's day 3 of no bowel movement. Warm prune juice with a dose of Milk of Mag. Stay very close to the toilet until bowels move or you may have a mess to clean up. Again, speak with your physician before doing anything.

Sometimes young doctors miss impacted bowel if you take a senior in about it.
This happened to someone I know. Please let the young doctor know if they do miss it because everyone can't know everything.
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I thought Elvis died with ton's of poop in him , pounds from what I read. He also died while trying to poop , poor guy.
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We use with my Daddy ( because with the Hospice Cocktail ) he could never go and that was just plain shitty ( sorry ) for him having had no issues with this his whole life , Non Sulfur Dried Organic Apricots . You can buy them at Trader Joes or Whole Foods. My Mummy is a whole other case. She's always had this issue her whole life and used laxatives for year ( which was most of the problem right there ) but moving on to today and her having ALZ now. Its a huge issue. But I have her in a group home now , so they take care of it . Lizzie its is wonderful to laugh. I always try to find a moment in the pain of losing my parents in less than 1 years time , well my Mummy's still alive but not the Mummy who raised me. If you can't Laugh , ( life can be very sad) and I do with her still ( we have always had that gift with each other). Dreading the day when the ALZ will no longer allow her to laugh. She's wickedly Funny ( always has been) . Try the apricots. You only need to give her like 5 to 7. Hopefully she has teeth , because you do need to chew them , and they can be a little tough. Good Luck.
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Miralax given daily will be the best thing because you don't even see it. Its a powder I would add to my mom's coffee a heaping teaspoon and she would not miss a beat. Never even suspected it. So if you want something that works every time..with out the hershey squirts, parden the expression...try miralax.
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My mom.....finally had to poop......the milk of mag worked.......worked too well.......it ran out of her. Of course. 'slave man' had to play clean-up......she had to shower afterwards........we have a big shower in the basement and she sits in an outdoor type chair and showers. It's not easy.....she is a terrible fall risk. Either the milk of mag doesn't work......or it blasts out of her.(she loves when it does that....really cleans her out).......I hate milk of mag........the curse continues, for......'slave man'!
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Hi,
This is a constant topic in our household also.
I try to start my Mom(91 yrs.)and my morning with a big glass of warm water with 1/2 squeezed fresh lemon. Wait 5min. or so. Some fresh fruit, usually 1/2 grapefruit. I cut around the edge and the sections but let her do the work with a grapefruit spoon. Slows her down a little. I ask her to walk(with her walker) while fixing breakfast. This gives me time in the kitchen, and not rushing other food after the citrus(papaya, pineapple also very good). Prunes are good and taste like a treat so good for mid-meal snacks. For breakfast I always like to include greens of some kind. Beet greens, dandelions or kale are favorites are very good along with an egg(poached or frittata-can make in advance an just heat up) for protein.
It is a constant for getting my Mom to drink water and to do some form of exercise(walking, stretches...). More smaller meals are better than 3 larger ones.
I do give her a stool softener once a day, Cascara Sagrada or Cleanse More when needed.
My Mom's issue is emotional, mental and physical. Never know what the day will bring. She is bothered when her bowels do not move as well as when they do move.
We make a number of 'poop' and 'fart' jokes or little songs around here. A sense of humour sure helps.
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Yaya- that is hilarious! I literally LOL'ed!!

Lizzie-You are right-- it is good to laugh. heck- I don't really know why we humans are so weird about this human function. It is so basic and very, very important. Anyone who has had diarrhea or constipation knows that. Been to the ER for my girl twice with constipation. One time, we did not know what was going on- she was just a wee thing - and started screaming her head off and would not stop. I did not think she was constipated as she had gone (we were young and dumb- she had gone but not enough) .We took her to the ER because she was screaming so loud. Doctor did an x-ray and his official diagnosis was -" There's a lot of poop in there". So they gave her an enema and a suppository and we all were circled around her going "come on , baby , push it out, push it out" and then I heard a guy throwing up in the cubicle next to her and realized some poor guy had the stomach flu ---and could hear us telling her to push, push PUSH. I doubt that made him feel any better!!! And then when she finally went -egads---I think the poor fella up and left.

Equinox- miralax is it's own thing- I think. It is a powder that you mix with anything, I believe- we mix it with her water/OJ (she drinks 1/3 OJ 2/3 water) and if you stir it a bit it will totally dissolve. And has no taste. I guess it helps draw moisture from the intestines to help move the poop along. It really works and does not seem to be too harsh. I think it makes her poop a little , oily? maybe- but she does not complain of any pain. It does seem to have a softening effect. They give it to babies even. It can take a few days though to work. not like a suppository or even a laxative that can work over night. You have to give it to them a few times a day for a few days before it works. I would talk to the doctor first though it is OTC.
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How does Miralax and Metamucil work......of course I've heard of them and used them with very limited results.......but how are they different than milk of mag. Maybe I'll give them to my mother again. Do they help to draw water into the intestine for digestion/stool softening?
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hello,
I'm having the same issue. Mom calls them golf balls. Any suggestions. ?
Mom does not tolerate milk. Some of these liquid are not milk free. Does Miralax work as a laxative or more like a stool softener?
Thanks
Equinox
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Thank you all for a chuckle. It is sad I can find a discussion of poop to be amusing. I guess this is part of the caregiver's disease. But it is wonderful to laugh out loud in the midst of all this SH**!
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Roscoe - my MIL is constantly battling this issue too; her illness causes a gradual shut-down of the autonomic system, and the meds she takes for her Parkinsonism also can cause it so she's got two strikes against her, poor woman. Had to call in a visiting nurse once for a de-impaction... NASTY! Fortunately she likes prunes. We buy her the dried ones and she eats them almost like candy. We also learned from her doctor that Metamucil makes cookies. (She didn't like the regular powder mix kind) We bought a box of them for her to try and she loves them. We actually had to rein her in a little because she was going through them too fast (she loooooves sweets)...told her she needed to think of them more like medicine - one packet a day! They come in two or three flavors - MIL likes the cinnamon spice ones. Hard to tell how much they help because she takes the prunes too, but thought I'd put it out there.

Mishka - I had to chuckle at your suggestion about the calendar..it's a great idea! What made me laugh is MIL came up with a similar idea of her own, except she uses stickers....smiley face ones, cute kitties, flowers, etc. She hung a calendar on the wall just outside the bathroom door and whenever she has a BM she puts a sticker on that day. It was working great....so I thought, until one day I lifted the page up to change months and saw she had stickers plastered half way through the next month!!! Soooo, we're prognosticating our poops now? LOL!!!
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We had one trip to the hospital. The absolute worst experience of my life. I really thought this totally untrained idiot nurse was going to kill Mom.
Now we use ground flaxseed. We have it in a shaker - like you would see for red pepper, larger holes than a salt shaker. Mom puts it on as often as she wants/needs. You can shake it on anything from salad to vegetables to meat. If you taste it at all it will be a light nutty taste. I personally can't taste it. It works gently, without any volcanic eruptions. This is important for us as Mom doesn't get to the toilet without one of us to lift her. This is not fun when the volcano is erupting. We found the flaxseed to be an inexpensive and gentle solution.
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Oh Roscoe, I don't know why fate can be such a stinker. (sigh) . Can you make a poop chart? or have a calendar for her poops and mark them with her - have her right there holding the calendar - as you mark it? I would write the whole thing out to help her remember---bear with me but- heck- you guys deal in a lot of poop so --- I would write
" Pooped in the morning after breakfast. Normal size. Normal color"
Maybe even describe it. You know why?- because I think our elders are obsessed with their bowels and want us to be as well and if we show them some interest in that area maybe they will be happy. I mean their lives have gotten pretty small- sleep, eat, poop- for a lot of them. Maybe we should share this with them. Just a thought. good luck. ((((hugs))))
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My mother has 'hardcore' constipation......nothing works on her except for a healthy dose of milk of mag. As a matter of fact.....I submitted to her demands and just gave her some, mixed with prune juice. She tore into me almost the entire day.....calling me four letter words....cause she can't poop and I didn't take her to the emergency room (as she requested). It really made for a nice day.......she even told me to go f...k myself......88 years old......yes, it's true. She was never regular........maybe having a bowel movement every 4 or 5 days.......when she does poop she forgets about it the next day and starts the arguing with me again claiming she hasn't pooped in a week......when if fact she went the day before. It's totally amazing what I go through. A grown adult man......brought to a standstill by an old sick lady. I love my mother dearly.......but why does fate have to be so cruel on me?
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Hi Roscoe, you could ask about Miralax. It is not a laxative, per se, my daughter has to take it at times and I am a nut when it comes to giving her meds and stuff- totally worry about it. But after talking to her doctor and reading up on it ,it seems a good solution. We give my daughter a salad with lunch (yes, we pack it for her school lunch- she has fridge access) and dinner almost everyday and that helps so we only have to use the miralax every once in awhile but I know there are parents on the forum for her syndrome (constipation is a big part of her syndrome) that use it everyday.

Foods to avoid-
Cheese
bananas
OTC cold medicines seem to be binding
white breads and pastas that have little fiber
apple sauce


There are massages that help stimulate the , er- you need to go. I still do them for my girl once in awhile. One is the paddle wheel. You just press firmly but gently on the stomach with one hand and rub down and then the other hand -rotate back and forth. I sing "paddle wheel paddle wheel make the poopy go. Paddle wheel paddle wheel, fast (and I would go fast ) and sloooooow (and go slow). I would repeat a few times. It works! If Mom says there is pain-- stop, of course and probably should get checked by a doctor. My own little ditty. :0) I don't think your Mom would like that but you never know. You can also rub in a circular pattern going to your left starting a little below the navel. ( "round and round the poopy goes where it stops nobody know, nobody nobody nobody knows"--not my finest work ;0) ).

My Mom also suffers but she used soooo many laxatives her whole life I think she screwed her system up and now cannot go without them.

Good luck.
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My husband with AD went through a couple of weeks of constipation with a suspected impaction. I won't go into all the details but after weeks of different strengths of laxatives and horrific bouts in the bedroom and toilet, things got back to normal. If your mom is REALLY constipated, it's better to try and cure the problem once and for all BUT then make sure she eats fruit and drinks plenty of tea/water to keep things regular. An impaction and serious constipation is terrible to sort out so it's better to pre-empt it. As you know using laxatives on a daily basis can lead to a bowel that won't work properly so tell her she will make things worse if she keeps asking for the laxatives for no reason.
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I have been reading recently that fluids, like water (veggies and fruits loaded with liquid naturally) are more important than fiber in moving things through nicely.

Perhaps try encouraging fun ways to get enough for her to drink (through drinks and food that is wet... like watermelon, etc). I think it may be true for all of us... while we can try all the fiber diets, apple eating, laxatives... making sure there are enough fluids flushing through the system helps soften things up and get them moving.

Just a simple idea that may be of a little bit of help.
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My sympathies - my MIL is an original recruit to this battle. Several times now she has been "de-pacted" in the emergency room -- every time she has been there for something else, a giant impaction shows up on x-ray and the ER staff "pulls out all the stops" to get her bowels cleared. And yes, its something she talks about constantly.

I am sure you have tried prunes? If she hasn't, you can always call them dried plums. They are a time honored problem solver for some of these type situations. 4 prunes in the morning - every day. I wonder if they make chocolate covered prunes?
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