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Today I took my mom to town. She has been resisting going anywhere because she has horrible balance and has fallen a couple of times. We went out to lunch, then driving home I noticed the smell. She's had horrible gas the past few days and I can't figure out what is causing it. I did make some eggs for her a couple days ago and pancakes this morning but neither one of them have bothered her in the past. I thought she had the farts again.
When we arrived home she went into the bathroom. I heard the lid hit the tank and thought that maybe she had fallen again. What I found was shit all over the place. The toilet roll holder, the counters, the outside and covers of the seat. It was horrible. She was trying to clean it up with tissue and my towels. I put an instant stop to it and told her not to touch anything else that I would clean it up. I got her downstairs and showered and cleaned and spent some time cleaning everything up.
I don't think it is the medications because this happens periodically and not consistently. We've had to clean up messes in the past.
I gave her some oatmeal for dinner hoping that it would settle her stomach and firm up her stools.
Mom said she didn't know she had done it. Then when I was getting her into the shower she said it was embarrassing. I realize that it is but.....it's frustrating.
I guess I have to start keeping a log of everything that she eats in order to figure this thing out.
Does anyone else's parent have this issue?

I guess I'm just venting. It's dirty, stinky work.

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For a while, my mom, who was in early stage dementia (but we didn't realize it) suffered from "fecal incontinence"; she was self medicating with citrucel daily and then immodium when her stools became loose. The way it was explained to me, she ended up with hard stools preventing normal bowel function with loose stuff behind it; she couldn't tell if she had to fart or defecate and ended up just not going out at all. It took several months for her to get back to normal bowel function, with her new doctor coaching her on what to eat, what to take, what not to take. Also, doing Kegel excercises helped a bit.
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I wonder if your mom was stressing about going to town since you said she didn't want to go? Anxiety can cause diarrhea. I have a friend who can start going within about 30 minutes of starting to worry about something. If she has enough memory to start worrying about having diarrhea, that can trigger another episode.

I like the idea of putting on an adult diaper if you're going to be doing something that might stress your mom out. Think about whether previous episodes might be coupled with anxiety.

The idea of a food diary is good too. Oatmeal has a lot of fiber in it, I don't know if that's what I'd be feeding to get your mom back on track. I'd go more bananas. From Mayo Clinic's website: Add semisolid and low-fiber foods gradually as your bowel movements return to normal. Try soda crackers, toast, eggs, rice or chicken.

Avoid certain foods such as dairy products, fatty foods, high-fiber foods or highly seasoned foods for a few days."
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savtoosh, my mother is middle stage dementia.

ptg123, I was wondering if I gave her something like psyllium husk capsules if that would help. I don't think it would plug her up but would simply firm them up.

jeanne, the anti-diarrhea pills, I wonder if I should do something like that. I'll have to investigate.
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Fiber can help in getting her system back in order, to some extent.
Soluble fiber can actually absorb excess fluid in the bowel and thus act to firm up a loose stool. Think of it as a sponge effect.
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I'm sorry to hear about what you're going through, PinkLA. I imagine it's highly distressing and embarrassing for both you and your mother. If she's saying she didn't know she has done it, perhaps you could consider screening for dementia? You might also want to read up on bowel incontinence. She might actually be unable to control her bowels at all. Dementia impacts bowel control, but so does constipation, diarrhea, muscle and nerve damage and a whole lot of other things, even stress.
Perhaps getting a doctor to assess would help you both. And if it is in fact a problem with continence, there are support groups that could help like the National Association for Continence.
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My husband had diarrhea once too. I had put a diaper on him earlier. It is called a wellness brief...it is made from the same material that NASA uses for the astronots in space. You can leave it on them for 6-8 hours ...you can't smell any odor from either the urine or the diarrhea. And it keeps the wetness away from the body. Keeps everything well contained.This might help....cost about $1.00 per diaper...I buy a case at a time...they will also send you a sample to try just for the
cost of shipping....you can see videos about it on you tube.
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It is dirty, stinky work. I feel for you! And it is highly embarrassing. I feel for Mom.

It would not hurt to keep a food log, and it might help, if you can notice some patterns. But it is also true that the brain controls all bodily functions, and when the brain is not functioning well (dementia) all kinds of things can be off, including digestion.

At his geriatrician's suggestion, I gave my husband anti-diarrhea pills before outings -- before he went bowling or golfing or we went to a museum, etc. I did not take this precaution when we were home and close to the bathroom.

Just assure your mom that you know she can't help this and that you are going to try to help her solve this problem.

Sad all around, isn't it? Vent away!
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