My mother has constant diarrhea and the doctors cannot tell what the problem is. Could it be related to her dementia? - AgingCare.com

My mother has constant diarrhea and the doctors cannot tell what the problem is. Could it be related to her dementia?

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I have a 91 year old diabetic client that loves cookies and bread. It seems at least once a month she has a blowout of diarrhea.Her nephew can not figure out what the issue is but after reading your articles I think I can narrow it down to either the sugar,wheat or both. It is a start. thanks to all.
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Both Tex and Sophie have good answers. I'm going to assume that her docs have taken a stool sample and cultured it for various bugs. If not then clearly she's not getting good care and you need a new doc who will take her condition seriously.

My mother self managed her bowels, alternating Immodium and laxatives. Ended up in the hospital.

Does Immodium stop the loose movements? Have you tried limiting her food to rice, banana, apple juice and tea for a bit to see if her stomach calms? I would then add simple bland foods one at a time, you may find a culprit if you go slowly and keep a close eye on things.
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If your elder has been in rehab or a hospital at all prior to the onset of diarrhea, there's a very awful bug called Clostridium difficile, or C Diff for short. It causes nonstop diarrhea. They think it comes from two things: 1) taking antibiotics or 2) germs present in rooms and on surfaces in a rehab hospital. The only thing that kills the spores this nasty germ makes is strong bleach water. Nothing else will kill it, so it's oftentimes present in nursing homes and hospitals. Might want to get her tested for that...
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Always check for hidden stashes of laxatives.My grandmother was really bad about this, she thought if you didn't have constant diarrhea you were constipated. She lived in times where constipation was life threatening ,if your bowel perforated most people didn't have money for a doctor (she lived in a very rural area of Texas in the early 1900's)well then you died. She equated constipation with death. Caught her one time buying a six pack of Milk of Magnesia (I didn't even know it came in a 6 pack).She had laxatives of various kinds stashed all over her house, even in her linen closet.Once her "stash" was removed things settled down, such a simple solution but it was maddening in trying to figure out what was causing the diarrhea.Also her definition of constipation was different than mine.She really thought that if you weren't "running" for the toilet 5-10 times a day you were constipated.
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My ex-mother-in-law found something that works great for her, white rice [not the instant rice].... she was having major issues with diarrhea for a couple of years and just by chance. She said just a couple of tablespoons per day had slowed down the problem. It may or may not work for everyone.
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My 80 yr old dad had stopped eating cereal and toast with peanut butter because he says it goes through him or mucus is coming out.
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My mother, now 95, had chronic diarrhea for most of her life. We went Mayo, Duke and local hospitals, and they all said it was irritable bowel. Removing dairy helped, but still wasn't enough after awhile. At age 88 we removed all gluten just by chance. Unbelievably, diarrhea has now been gone for most of 7 years. There are a few times we had set backs and got contaminated food or dairy, but overall this has been a complete cure. Also the fibromyalgia stopped, balance and nerve problems gone .. probably because of ability to absort more b vitamins. It costs little to nothing to try to remove gluten for a short period? Tests aren't really a good idea, as the real test is a biopsy and the doctor thought the risk was too much. It does take awhile to understand where all of the gluten is in food .. as it is more than you think. Best to use fresh things or things labeled as gluten free. to start with. I surely sympathize with your situation, it takes a strong person to keep up with being or caring for someone with diarrhea. Hope you find an answer.
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Wow folks, I learn something every time I read here. My mom gets bouts of diarrhea too. I never knew that lactose intolerance or foods high in sugar and fats could cause it. Mom has a powerful sweet tooth and will binge on doughnuts, cookies and peanut butter cups on occasion. No wonder she ends up with "the runs". Thanks everyone!
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Ruralwannabe has a point. This actually happened to me. I all of a sudden started having pure watery stool all the time. I would go 10-20 times a day. I got so bad I was dehydrated and went to the hospital, was admitted and had a colpo and everything was fine except I was still dehydrated and still watery stool. I had started this in end of July 2011 and admitted Dec. 2011. After researching on my own, I decided to cut out dairy completely from my diet and start taking Probiotics. Almost immediately my diaharrea was gone and couldn't felt better. So, gluten and/or dairy could be the culprits. Our nutritionist at the health dept. verified what I had done really helped. Sorry too long of story. Hope this helps. Everyone should take Probiotics. Thanks and I hope relief soon.
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My mother-in-law had the same problem for quite a while. This was when she was still getting around on her own. It took a couple of months to figure it out. She had a stash of Ducolax laxatives tucked away in a kitchen cabinet. The diarrhea cleared right up after that discovery! You just never know what people will do.
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