How do I help my Mom's (88) digestive system when she recently has stopped having regular BMs on a daily basis?

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Recently my Mother had a bout with constipation, and for about 4 days did not have feces. After having her drink lots of water & prune juice, and then 1/2 a dose of ex-lax one day & 1/2 a dose the next day, she finally was flushed of everything in her little system. Here we are almost a week later going through another 4 days without feces, except she seems fine otherwise. On the prior episode, she was complaining of pain when she tried to go but couldn't. I treated her for hemorrhoids on the first episode. She walking, eating, drinking, and seems normal, but no regularity as far as I have been able to tell. She has moderate to severe dementia.

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My mom had bouts of constipation for years. We finally hit on a formula that has worked for a year now. She eats three prunes a day and a half cup of coleslaw. The real trick is Activia yogurt which she also has once a day. I think the probiotics in it have really helped her system. I know Activia suggests two servings a day, but at 87 pounds, one a day works for her.
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sunshine... my mother has been experiencing this for the past few months. As their body changes so do the BM's. What I did, mainly because I wanted to keep my mothers nutritious intake up... I started making her those smoothie's. I now pack in bags of spinach, apples, oranges, cucumbers, red peppers, celery, BEETS, plain yogurt and berries. Then I will freeze them in either the ice tray or several cupcake pans. Take out 3 at a time, blend them with water, ensure and juice ( you can add whatever you want at this point) and she loves them. She has went from every 4 days and hurting to every 2 days and feeling ok. She loves the juice since it's sweet (hidden veggies) and it's a win win for both of us.
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I personally had this problem because ai was not getting enough fiber. I started a trail mix with cashews, almonds, dried cranberries, dried cherries or blueberries and a little dark chocolate. Great treat, good fats and fibers, chocolate and it works great to make me regular and it travels well as a snack when I am on the road.
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My mother has the same problem, and we started looking at her meds. We stopped any H2Blockers or go easy on them when she has severe heartburn. Then we looked at her diet and cut back on too much yogurt, cheese, white starches, etc. So it's onto to lentils, raisins, aged bananas, whole wheat rice, bread, etc. for a while until she becomes more regular. She always drinks plenty of water, and I do believe it is stress related and lack of movement. We live in the Chicagoland area, and being in a deep freeze, has hindered her walking outdoors.
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If you can get Mom to put her feet on a raised stool so as to be in a squatting position, it opens up the pathway to release stool without straining.
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My MIL had severe constipation for years. She was taking the Miralax but still had problems up to the point she became impacted....sorry but you need to know it can happen. We upped the dosage on the Miralax and "suddenly" she had severe diarrhea.....except that it wasn't really diarrhea just the fluids bypassing the impact ion! After the home health nurse figured out the problem and mom was "depacted" we still had problems until we put her in an ALF, once there the administrator who is a registered nurse told us to give her colace. Bingo! Problem solved....mom's PCP had to okay it and of course she did.
This forum is a life saver in so many ways. Mom is gone now but I continue to come to this site every day. So much inspiration and good advice.
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@Nana2Nanny, I think you mean Nature's Calm. Its a powdered magnesium supplement. It comes in different flavors as well as non flavored. Its cheaper online at swansonvitamins. Vitamin Shoppe and GNC sell it for close to twice what Swanson's Vitamins charges. I use it daily. It does keep the bowels moving. You just have to find the correct dosage. Too much, and you will have runny bowels. Too little, not much will happen. The correct dosage (for me, its 2 tsps.) and your bowels will flow normally and will be the correct consistency (not loose, not hard) for daily dumping (sorry if this is TMI/graphic).
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PS: In my opinion- Senna, Smooth Move, etc is too harsh on old bodies. I'm a holistic advocate too. But at an age where life is short and comfort primary- if you need an immediate laxative- Milk of Magnesia and once constipation solved- daily Miralax. Gentle and effective.
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My moms geriatric doctor started her on a daily capful of miralax in her coffee 2 years ago. Good think about Miralax (or generic substitute) is it has zero taste and can be put in anything- even hot cereal. If you put in cold drink- i've found that dissolving it first in a little warm water first works like a charm. Mom has been regular ever since.
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I second the Magnesium Citrate tablets. When my Mom, who's now 93, was in rehab after a stroke, they were giving her about 400 mg twice a day, along with her Calcium, because they said it was good for her bones. While she was there she had very frequent, runny stools. In the last few months (at home) she had spells of 7-10 days of no bowel movement - then we'd resort to several days of Miralax, then sometimes have to use Milk of Magnesia, and then finally have a real mess when she didn't make it to the bathroom on time. Finally I remembered the Magnesium supplement. I'm giving her 400 mg each morning and 3-4 stewed prunes every day or two and that keeps her regular. It's a relief for both of us.
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