Chronic constipation is the most common symptom occurring in various diseases like colonic disorders, irritable bowel syndrome, diabetes mellitus, colon cancer, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease. Constipation can also occur due to lack of fiber and fluids in the diet. Senior citizens excessively use drugs that include vitamin supplements, iron and calcium supplements, diuretics, anti-depressants, anti-hypertensive agents, painkillers, antacids and sleeping pills. Most of these drugs cause constipation. Physical exercise tends to be on a lower side in case of senior citizens due to age and diseases like arthritis or cardiac stroke. Lack of adequate physical exercise causes constipation. Conditions like intestinal obstruction, piles, inadequate secretion from thyroid glands, lower serum potassium levels and mental depression are prevalent in aging individuals. Medications used to treat these conditions cause constipation.
Chronic constipation increases the internal abdominal pressure inside the blood veins and leads to hernia and varicose veins whose symptoms are painful. Elderly people suffering from constipation are at a higher risk of getting a cardiac attack while passing stools. Straining can also result in fainting due to momentary reduction of blood supply to the brain. Patients with constipation often encounter fissures in the anal canal and bleeding while passing hard stools. Constipation causes an obstruction in the intestinal passage that can lead to renal failure.
The best treatment for constipation is to have a sufficient intake of fluids everyday. One should ensure the presence of adequate amount of digestible dietary fiber inside the diet that includes cereals such as wheat, ragi, horsegram and millets. Vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower, drumstick and bitter gourd are also rich in dietary fiber. Fruits such as guava and plantain and spices such as pepper, coriander, and fenugreek also contain sufficient amounts of dietary fiber. Chronic constipation improves by means of adequate physical exercise.
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