These 3 tricks can help your parents keep their bowel movements in check
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.
There are several reasons for fecal incontinence:
- Overuse of laxatives in youth can lead to problems with stool later in life.
- Women who have had vaginal deliveries are more likely to develop fecal incontinence later in life, and it increases with the number of childbirths.
- A 2017 study published in the journal Gastroenterology states that low estrogen levels in post-menopausal women can lead to fecal incontinence.
Lifelong hormone replacement therapy may lead to fecal incontinence.
- Neurological disorders such as late-stage Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia can cause fecal incontinence.
Here are three ways to deal with fecal incontinence:
1. Ask your parents to drink a lot of fluids
Staying hydrated and consuming a diet that includes high-fibre fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can control and prevent both diarrhea and constipation.
2. Doing kegel exercises can also help them
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.
3. Medicines are the last resort
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.
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“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.