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My father is 86 years old. For a number of months he has been complaining of severe constipation, he says he has to get up 6 or 7 times every night to visit the bathroom. He says his stool is so hard that he has to strain enormously but often with no result. He has been examined a number of times by different doctors who have carried out tests as well and reassured us that he has no constipation. It seems that he has an obsession that he has not emptied his bowels and repeatedly feels the need to sit on the toilet seat. A number of medications treating his constipation have been tried. We have finally concurred with the doctors that there is really no constipation. we have tried explaining this to him but he is convinced otherwise. we are looking for any helpful suggestions to deal with this situation, thank you.

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I'm wondering about his prostate. Just a thought, but pressure from the bladder can feel a lot like pressure for a bowel movement as well as the other way around. I agree that at his age intervention should be limited to what he can withstand. However, a blocked bladder due to an enlarged prostate could send him to the hospital in agony.
Carol
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With no constipation, a colonoscopy at his age is untoward due to the anesthesia and could lead to more problems. His vagus nerve is over stimulating his brain making him think he is constipated. Have him eat prunes or drink prune juice, eat figs (unless he has diverticulitis due to the tiny seeds), lots of salads and an apple every day. This will keep him regular so he won't have that "urge" feeling. When one reaches 86 yrs. they are entitled to obsess about something with their body and God love him for reaching this age! My husband will be 89 yrs. in Oct. and I allow him whatever time he needs to spend in the bathroom and don't worry about it. It will come out in the end!
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I had a similar case with my father and decided in caring for my mother that I would deal with the situation head on with diet. The daily breakfast is a mixture of whole and quick oats (50 % each) to which I add a pinch of barley bran, wheat germ, flax seed, psyllium husk bran (be creative here). I soak the above in double the amount of water for an hour or so. In the meantime I chop up an apple and a banana and get some peanut or almond butter (1 TBS) and honey (enough to taste just slightly sweet). I cook the oatmeal (porridge) mix in the microwave for 6 minutes (in 3, 2, 2 minute increments, stirring between), add the fruit, peanut butter and finally honey. and serve up, Mum likes a trace of milk on top, but it is delicious just as. I find that if we start the day with this meal the result both short and long term is smooth bowel movement and never a problem with constipation. Mum is 99, Dad died at 80, I wish I had known then what I know now, I could have made him a much happier and healthier time. I meant to add that the soaking and the cooking make sure that the porridge is very smooth. Also, my whole household enjoys this daily ritual and meal and all are doing well. I find that eating for the rest of the day is never a problem once this breakfast has been consumed. Good luck.
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Stick with nature's food, not chemical products in a can. We already consume too many chemicals. Try to eat foods without hormones or chemicals - organic as much as possible. Do you realize bees are vanishing? When they go, we go.
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Well, dementia certainly presents in many different ways...

Before you rule out constipation, I assume he's had a colonoscopy or a virtual one? And then I'd ask if you've observed his stool. Is it, in fact, hard? Is he on stool softeners? If he's not, ask your pharmacist for a suggested dose and run it past your doctor. Is it normally shaped? Ribbon-like stools can be an indication of a tumor blocking the road.

If all is really normal, then ignore it unless he complains of pain.
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I have to say I have a mum with IBS (among everything else including dementia) she has a pretty healthy diet but according to her suffers from constipation. Now she considers a rock solid stool to be normal which was the first difficulty I had to overcome because she simply call a normal stool diarrhoea.

She DOES take chemical intervention because her muscles are no longer working properly. That said I make sure she also drinks enough water - essential for a softer stool. I record her stools daily and describe then - normal soft hard (and you should note any change in colour too) Then when she says she is constipated I check ....most times she has just forgotten she has been. She often tells me it is loose when it is normal. So a whole host of little things that might be an indicator - Mum did have a scope done but it was very very painful for her - in the UK they usually do it under local anaesthesia to minimise risk.

Mum takes movicol daily and I have to say if she refuses it we are in for a bumpy ride - it almost ALWAYS results in constipation followed by an explosion so I do urge her to take it every day to avoid the above issue
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Am sole caregiver for Wife--moderate to severe Alzheimer's patient 74 yrs--Have had excellent results to combat her constipation with our Dr's prescription for 290 MCG of "Linzess"; best taken ½ hour before breakfast. This in concert with prune juice, prunes, high fiber cereal, and exercise. The exercise normally needs coaxing and firm walking assistance.
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bettyb, I think it does have to do with aging, with one's world shrinking, and with losing one's "filters." When they were younger, they wouldn't dream of bringing up this subject, even if they were thinking it. Now I find that M-I-L can't appreciate the difference between thinking something and blurting it out.
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Thank you so much for posting. My father goes through this periodically. Saw the Internist, Gastro, Endocrinologist, Urologist. Slightly enlarged prostate but nothing major. When he gets on these kicks, he takes Metamucil, Citracel, Phillips caplets, 2 different probiotics, Mylanta, Tums, Senekot and stool softener. I took most everything away and it was worse than an alcoholic... He has stashes everywhere, or would call and get people to bring him things. It seems like it starts as a small issue and becomes an obsession - then it's no wonder he gets stopped up with all the stuff he takes. Plus, he calls several times a day to report on bowel movements or lack thereof, and will discuss it with anyone within earshot.
Coincidentally, it started about 86 for him as well. Almost 90 now. Like I said, it comes and goes in waves....
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You can use an enema. The bags that you fill with water and hose. Not the little squirt bottles.
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