Is it normal for the elderly with anxiety to have chronic diarreah? - AgingCare.com

Is it normal for the elderly with anxiety to have chronic diarreah?

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My mother seems to get diarrhea any time she has a doctor's appt. or is worried about something. She is on anxiety medication and now has macular degeneration along with arthritis issues and being on blood thinners. The dr. didn't seem concerned and doesn't want to do evasive testing because of the blood thinners.

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It is possible to have anxiety-induced diarrhea. It can occur in the context of irritable bowel syndrome or just by itself. The diarrhea would be associated with anxiety producing events and would be non-bloody, and there would be no other symptoms (like fever, vomiting, severe abdominal pain).

Of course, one would want to make sure there isn't any other causes of chronic diarrhea before attributing it purely to anxiety. Various stool testing can be done that is not invasive, and it is also important to rule out lactose intolerance (which is a common yet sometimes overlooked cause of chronic diarrhea).

The primary management for anxiety-induced diarrhea is treating the anxiety. While pharmacotherapy is one way to treat anxiety, stress relieving exercises (whether breathing exercises, meditation, tai-chi, yoga, or whatever else helps quickly relieve the stress) also helps. Taking extra fiber is generally a good idea if you have diarrhea, although it may not be as effective in anxiety-induced diarrhea. Anti-diarrheal medications (like immodium) may or may not work either.

Talk to your mother's doctor about this all next time, but if you want to get this properly addressed by your doctor, you may want to schedule an appointment specifically for this issue, so he/she will have enough time to properly evaluate it.

Hope this helps you out. If you have further questions, feel free to contact me directly (click on my profile for details).

Best wishes,
Vik Rajan, M.D.

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The health information provided above is FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY, and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE MEDICAL ADVICE/OPINION, is not meant to diagnose or treat any illness or disease, and is not a substitute for the medical evaluation and advice of your (or your loved one’s) primary care physician or other medical professional. No doctor-patient relationship is established with this interaction. While striving to be factual and exact, no warranties are made with regards to the accuracy of the information provided above. You are always advised to talk with your (or your loved one’s) doctor about any health concerns that you have and about any of the information provided here. Sole reliance on the information provided above is not advised and would be solely at your own risk and liability.
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Here is some TMI for ya- I get it! I have OCD and anxiety and panic attacks and often have tummy troubles! No fun. And if I get a panic attack- first place I head is to the potty. I actually read somewhere our body will void itself in times of panic as a way of making itself lighter and thus faster-to get away from prey- I assume. Seriously- I read this. As for me - it makes me pretty fast as I dash into the bathroom but than I am a sitting duck. But, I agree with the expert, make sure there is no other cause to be safe. But this Monday we have a doctor's appointment for my daughter and I will be taking my Pepto. and avoiding coffee. And no salads or high fiber dinners the night before. Your poor Mom- tell her I know how she feels. Blessings.
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