Why do elderly people suffer from diarrhea so often?

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Both my mother and father have suffered severe bouts of diarrhea quite often. I am really tired of dealing with it, what do they need to change to stop this? I think it is dairy intolerance or something else food related, but they won't stop eating things with dairy. Please help!!

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Guiltdaughter55, My Mom is 96 and the diarrhea has been an ongoing issue for several years. I switched her to Lactaid milk about 8 years ago and that helped a little but it has gradually gotten worse as she aged. On doctor’s recommendation, I’ve been giving her Miralax daily for last 2 months. She grumbles a bit and I ignore it because it has helped a lot! Still have to clean up a messy bathroom, but no more trails from her easy chair to the toilet. I stopped giving her decaf coffee 5 days ago and so far so good. I lied and told her we were “out of coffee”. She’s not happy about it and assumes I’ll buy more. I’m hoping she will eventually quit asking for it. I do feel guilty as it’s one of her few pleasures. But her health and my sanity are more important so I hope to avoid giving in. Keeping my fingers crossed. Hope these ideas help. Figuring it out is a process.
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Reply to MissouriCare
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Guiltdaughter55, it's like trying to find a needle in a haystack. Keep a food diary for what your Mom eats, and see if there is any pattern.

Some times as we age we can no longer tolerate certain foods. Dairy and gluten seem to be the most popular. My Dad use to get the "trots" as he would call it. I decided to stop Dad from using regular milk and change the milk over to Lactaid Milk which taste just the same. Same with ice cream. Dad loved the Lactaid chocolate ice cream. At one time I could get lactose free yogurt but I can't find that any more :(

Did the same with gluten [wheat, barley and rye]. I tried gluten free cereal and Dad liked eating that. Then tried gluten free bread, thumbs down.

Anyway, Dad's problem slowly went away and it was lactose that was the issue. Usually such food would churn his stomach within an hour or so.
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Reply to freqflyer
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. I can't anymore... I told her doctor and she said its age related..try changing her diet.. I did to no avail anyone have any other suggestions... I'm tired..
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Reply to Guiltdaughter55
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My dad is 90 years old and has had diarrhea also. His primary care doctor said to give him a package (2 cookies) of Metamucil wafers daily. We have been doing this for at least a year now and it seems to have worked a bit. The fiber helps absorb some of the liquid. Cleaning the bathroom is very difficult since he makes a mess in there and tracks it all over the house. Being that I have had many bouts of C-diff in the past I pray that I don't get it again when I take care of him.
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Reply to Lindasos
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Hi all, I see that I added a response on this thread 2 years ago! So an update....my Dad is no longer eating yogurt (no reason) and he alternates between diarrhea and constipation ( normal for the IBS he has been diagnosed with). Of course he doesn't follow the doctor's dietary recomendations (eat yogurt, cut down on the fat, make sure the food is fresh, avoid foods that you know will bother you etc.) and his bowel results are a daily conversation (i.e. what do you think is giving me diarrhea?) and I have NO expectation that this will change. Since he is quite elderly and I'm his main companion and helper (and the topic does not bother me) I expect this to continue. BUT I count my blessings, he is mentally intact (both he and I cared for my mom at home where she died of Alz.) and still is quite active and, I think, this is a source of conversation, so I'm not sure he wants to be 'cured'. It doesn't really bother him sooo much (when I'm sure he would really address this issue as he did for his myasthenia gravis) that he would be willing to change his diet and/or take meds. The subject doesn't bother me, so I see many mornings in my future, of hard/soft/liquid stools along with my morning coffee. I think I'm lucky....Blessing to all of you! Lindaz.
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Reply to lindaz
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Agree that sanitation plays a big part but as we age our digestive system does not work as well so constipation or diarrhea tend to happen more frequently. Antibiotics are also a big cause of diarrhea especially when they are given IV. Some medications are also the culprits.
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Reply to Veronica91
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I'm surprised that no one here has mentioned the part that food sanitation and safely play. Most very senior people have a hard time throwing food away. They often take home what they didn't eat at the restaurant or their assisted living dining room, and don't appreciate that hot food must be held at 140 °F or warmer and cold food needs to be held at 40 °F or colder (refrigerator temperature). This is especially true for high protein foods like meat. Refrigeration prevents the growth of diarrhea-causing organisms in it.
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Reply to Sydnee
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Make sure to take a high potent probiotic, add cranberry pills....recommendation is 6 a day, add D-Mannose (ordered from Amazon) has truly helped the UTI's and diarrhea.

Diet is huge in control of the diarrhea so adding Metamucil helps bulk up. Small, more frequent meals, is a must.

Just read about Senacot helping also. Going to read more on that.

And yes, if placed on an antibiotic, probiotics should be taken.
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Reply to BaSa20
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Sounds as though you should take her to the ER. The weight loss is what you should be extremely concerned about. Prayers being sent your way!
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Reply to bls0901
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My mom is 69 years old she has had diarrhea for a few months now and she cant keep any food down so she she has quit eating and has lost mega weight so what i want to no is she going to die from this. She was running fever of 102 but the fever went away she said she feels worse now then she did she cant move or be. on her feet for long shouldnt she be in the hospital sign. worried and concerned
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