Age-related problems are a part and parcel of our parents’ life, and sadly we have to accept that. From losing memory to insomnia – the list is endless. On top of it, their gut becomes so sensitive that whatever they eat either makes them gassy or constipated. And in such a situation, you feel helpless as you don’t know how to cope with it.
If you’ve watched Deepika Padukone and Amitabh Bachchan-starrer Piku, you know it can be really challenging to deal with parents’ potty issues.
Well, if you too have ageing parents, then one thing is clear: there are a few things that you need to keep handy, so that you can at least help them out. For everything else, you can piggyback on a doctor.
If you talk about the most common gastric problems faced by the elderly, then according to Dr Sharad Malhotra, who is a specialist in gastroenterology, hepatology and therapeutic endoscopy at Aakash Healthcare, fecal incontinence (FI) tops the list. In this problem, aged people lose their control on their poop that can lead to leakage.
Staying hydrated and consuming a diet that includes high-fibre fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can control and prevent both diarrhea and constipation.
Kegel exercises, primarily pelvic floor-based exercises, also help in controlling FI. In these exercises, the pelvic region, buttocks, and anal muscles are contracted and held for a slow count of five, thereby strengthening the anal muscles. Doing Kegel exercises three times a day is said to improve fecal incontinence.
There are various over-the-counter drugs that are available in the market, but consult with your doctor before recommending them to your parents. Remember that these medicines can only help in the short-term.
“More serious patients can explore surgical options such as sphincteroplasty, bowel diversion, etc,” suggests Dr Malhotra.
Fecal incontinence can also be accompanied by diarrhea, constipation, and gas that can bring a lot of discomfort to your parents. So, keep a watch on their bowel movements and help them deal with it.