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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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Reply to Tazmanian
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Elderly persons of white European descent have a very high rate of developing lactose intolerance as they age. The main test for it is whether they have "no lactose=no diarrhea" or not. My mom cheats on this all the time and actually prefers having the loose stools rather than being constipated. So, sometimes even just a real reduction made by using the lactaid products can help enough. She will never figure out that there can be an 'age related' lactose intolerance and will never believe anyone who says she has it because she has always loved milk and enjoyed all milk products.
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Reply to kathy1951
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Mom, who is 88, just called me freaking out. She had one incident earlier in the week where she didn't make it to the toilet, calling it diarrhea. I didn't ask if it was runny or loose stools as opposed to the diarrhea where it's mainly liquid. She does not move very quickly, so that could be part of it. Well she just had another incident tonight, where she didn't get to the bathroom quickly enough. She was saying oh it's something bad. But, she does not like her doctor, I suggested finding a new doctor, and she does not want to do so. When I was there over Thanksgiving, she didn't make it to the bathroom. She was trying to get something done, and instead of going when nature called, she started out too late. That time, it was not runny, even though she said oh it was a mess. She was walking through the living room, and I was reading something, and saw something drop as she walked by. I didn't get a clear view and said oh you dropped something. She said no I'm sick. Well what she dropped was solid. Solid enough that it made no stain and I was able to pick up with gloves and toilet paper. So, I'm not sure if it's just that she's not getting to the toilet in time or if it's diarrhea. I think she does eat yogurt regularly, but the rest of her eating habits are poor. She typically does take Metamucil daily, but stopped this week due to the earlier incident. I'm tempted to say try some probiotic yogurts? Like Activia or similar?? She does wear light pads for urine leakage.
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Reply to Sissisu
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My Dad (86) also has frequent diarrhea, but thankfully, he is able to keep himself very clean. I'm pretty sure it comes from his diet as he really likes fatty foods and breads. He has started eating yogurt everyday and it seems to help some but until he is willing to change his diet, I'm afraid it will continue! Blessings to you, Lindaz
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Reply to lindaz
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There is a powder that can help stop diarrhea that comes on quickly after eating. It was something that our son has to drink before meals due to his body's reaction to having his gall bladder removed.
Also to take note of is that if a person takes any time-released medications they may not be getting the full benefit of the medication. I would certainly ask the doctor.
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Reply to bls0901
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imccarthy, my mother was on metformin until she was 86. She visited a endocrinologist who specialized in diabetes. He did not like that she was still on the metformin. He told us that it is not recommended for people over 80, even though it may do no harm. I checked later online and saw that it wasn't so healthy for the liver, so I understood the doctor's concern.

We discontinued the metformin and found that there was no change in her glucose levels. She didn't need the metformin at all -- just her two daily Levemir shots. That was good to get rid of the extra medication.

When she was handling her own medication, my mother would overdose on Metformin quite often. She would get up at night and take an extra one or two so she could snack on crackers. She started having gastric problems, feeling gassy and nauseous. We chased around to different doctors, even getting an MRI, with nothing but gas showing up. Then I counted her metformin pills. Goodness! She had been seriously overdosing on them. The symptoms she was having were exactly what would be expected. I was relieved and mad at the same time, since such a large part of my life (and also Medicare dollars) had been consumed by dealing with this self-induced problem.

lmccarthy, your mother looks a lot like mine. When I look at the picture, it looks like you're sitting with my mother. :)
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Reply to JessieBelle
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My 87 yr-old mother is diabetic and is on Metformin. We found out that the metformin she is on can cause diarrhea. So now she only gets a half a pill at night. Also, she was using Splenda and I've heard that can cause diarrhea as well. So it could be medicine related or diet related, so check with their doctor. Also, you might want to get them checked out for c-Diff, especially if the stool is a yellowish color and has an extremely foul smell..
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Reply to lmccarthy1
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We were going through this about 6x a day too. Mom was on anitbiotics for UTI's every couple of weeks and that can cause it. I give my Mom daily yogurt or a liquid yogurt drink called Kefir that is in the yogurt section of the supermarket and that has stopped the diarrhea. Probiotics are a good idea.
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Reply to Katie22
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My Dad is 88 years old and has about 5-6 bouts of diarrhea a day. He's been to the doctor and we talked about it and she acts like it's not a big thing. He wears the pull up briefs, but he makes a mess in the bathroom and I end up cleaning it. I don't know how to get the smell out of the bathroom and I am afraid I will end up catching C-diff. So today I bought him a homeopathic anit-diarrhea chewable tablet and some probiotics. Going to see if this works. Taking care of 2 households is starting to wipe me out since this has been going on since July. Any suggestions, I'm open to listen to anyone at this point!
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Reply to Lindasos
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Simple answer is everything changes as we age, muscles weaken,sphincters get slack, things that shouldn't bulges, memory gets bad, eyesight becomes poor, dietary habits change, adverts bombard us with pills to cure everything, pills get too difficult to swallow. The list goes on and on and sooner or later all of us will have some of these little difficulties that we would prefer others not to know about. Have you seen the recent adds for Depends with young people parading around in the latest design with not a care in the world. Mighty fine I am sure till one of them gets taken short crossing the street. All the suggestions are good and will be helpful for some people.
Talking to the Dr is the first step and having any advised tests and proceedures. Attempt to control the diet. if it is definitely lactaid intolerence buy Lactaid free milk which is four times the price of regular. You can take lactaid pills but thats a lot more pills to take. Personally I like the chocolate almond milk. As noted with the supliments name brand and generic, read the labels care fully. if the Dr advices the Immodium pills be sure to take an adequate dose. Metamucil seems to work well by bulking up the stool and reducing the number of bathroom visits. there really isn't an easy answer it's jsut a fact of aging and be treated as such not hidden and scolded.
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Reply to Veronica91
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I hate to be the one who brings up a different reason, but here goes....Cleanliness, just plain old hygiene!!!!

My father got to the point where he NEVER would wash his hands, refused to bathe, would not wear clean clothes, did a horrible job of washing dishes, etc. He had chronic diarrhea and would hide soiled clothes and sheets from me.

He was very beligerant about me "being in his business" and telling him to wash or offering to help. Fast forward to being in NH,,,,,no diarrhea....hmmm.
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Reply to Mincemeat
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BTW, read the labels on Ensure and its clones. Some of them contain things like artificial sweeteners or other things that can trigger a lower digestive issue.
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Reply to partsmom
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Radiation years ago seems to have caused my Mom's problem. Avoid raw veggies, and stick to cooked. I have given bananas and sticky white rice to help thicken the stools. The white rice seems to really help and I can even mix some in with soup, or mix a little into vanilla pudding with some cinnamon on top in addition to serving it the conventional way. She likes yogurt but for those that can't spoon it there is a more drinkable, liquid form called Kefir that is a good probiotic. I get this in the yogurt section of the store and it comes in several flavors. It is good added to Ensure or Glucerna or any milk shake.
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Reply to Katie22
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Splenda (sucralose) can cause diarrhea! Sometimes even in very small amounts. diet is very significant; I found that peanuts were a trigger. Some fruits and veggies can set it off as well.
For cleanup, using good pantiliners (Always Long or Extra Long), several of them to get max coverage, can save a whole lot of time and effort and are easier and cheaper than diapers or pull-ups (not to mention more acceptable to people. Most women are familiar with them.).
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Reply to partsmom
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My mom is 87 years old, has recently had bought of diarrhea. I would discover her soiled clothes balled up inside the shower. She does not wear depends but I'm thinking that day is coming very soon. My question is how do I get her to agree to that? I don't want to embarrass her and I certainly do not want to have to deal with cleaning up the bathroom and her messy clothes after she tries to clean herself up. I too would find feces on the toilet seat and other objects in the bathroom. And if she would have a bout of diarrhea I would expect her to get inside of the shower to wash but she insists that washing up at the sink is sufficient. I remind her about frequent UTIs and avoiding going to the hospital but she still doesn't get it.. After reading several comments here my situation is not as bad but I too wonder why older people have frequent diarrhea. My mom's diet is good and she does not eat a lot of junk in fact we hardly have any junk in the house since she started her low sodium diet in January.
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Reply to jujubeespmud
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Always check with their doctor. This would be the first step. You can try the lactaid products to see if it helps or cut out all milk products to see if it makes a differenct.
Loose stools can be a sign of many things, gall stones, low amount of fiber intake, food allergies etc. It's important to find out the why before you can really treat.
You can use benefiber or Citrucel for added fiber, Toileting more frequently may help esp. if they are aware they have to go but unable to stop it. good luck
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Reply to terryjack1
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My mother has been having looser stools recently. I think it is because she is on two different antidepressants. Some of the antidepressants can act like laxatives for some people who are sensitive.

My mother's bowel habits have been back and forth for years -- sometimes she says she is constipated (not going every day) and other times she has diarrhea. She is diabetic and eats sugar-free things. The sugar alcohols used to sweeten this things are some of the best laxatives known to mankind. I know I regret it if I even eat two pieces of sugar-free candy. I may as well have taken ExLax. Sorbitol and other alcohol sugars can certainly upset the tum.
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Reply to JessieBelle
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Please talk to the doctor and have a stool sample done. We discovered that mom had a yeast infection in her intestines (yes that sounds weird) but after 4 weeks of treatment with a tablet form of nystatin, she was MUCH better!
Ask the dr. about adding fiber to the diet and use something like benifiber to help thicken the stools may help. The benifiber is tasteless and can be put in their tea or coffee in the morning. comes in pre-measured packets or in a bottle of powder.
We stay away from imodium as I feel it starts a bad cycle of things.
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Reply to glasshalffull
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GO TO GNC or other health food store......
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Reply to IloveMom
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if you know its due to lactose intolerance try buying the lactaid products. If you think they will balk disguise the lactaid milkin the regular milk container.
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Reply to tiredII
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My mom just got over a month long ordeal with diarrhea due to c.diff she acquired in the hospital. Have they been hospialized or taken antibiotics recently? If so you may want to have the dr. Check for c.diff infection. If not, there are 2 types of probiotics that may help. One is a yeast capsule by the name of florastor (walgreens). Then get another with lactobacilli. florastor csn be mixed in juice or food. Lactobacilli can be mixed in food or many brands come in gummy form now too dince they dont like pills.
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