About five to fifteen percent of the population are suffering from constipation – women twice as often as men. With increasing age the number of affected persons rises significantly. According to surveys conducted by the Chair for Nursing Sciences at the University Witten/Herdecke, every second person of the home residents is‑affected.
Cases, where patients have to push hard during bowel movement for a period of three or more months, the emptying is not subjectively complete or the faeces are lumpy or hard, are classified as chronic constipation. Less than three bowel movements per week can also be an indication that things are not quite right.
Constipation can occur for different reasons. Many senior citizens lack physical activity, they do not drink enough and their diet is often one-sided. Even if physical activity, fibres and sufficient fluid do not, as has been proved, get rid of constipation, it is on the other hand well known that people who do regular physical exercises rarely suffer from constipation.
In addition, senior citizens often have to take several medicaments as a permanent therapy, among these possibly drugs that can influence the gastrointestinal tract, namely antibiotics (fluorchinolone), tricyclic antidepressants (imipramine and others), anticonvulsants (gabapentin), antihypertensive agents (clonidine), calcium antagonists (verapamil), diuretics (thiazide), opiate analgesics (morphine, codeine) and iron preparations.
The environment too can contribute to constipation. Nobody likes to do his »Number two« without privacy. Old, bedridden people sharing a room with other old people in a care home, often have no alternative. This massive disturbance of their private sphere suffices to encourage constipation. So the only thing left are drug substances to get the bowels going again. And last but not least, years of laxative misuse will also lead to constipation. In a consultation, close questioning is therefore all the more important.
|Deutsch / German||Englisch / English|
|Blut im Stuhl||blood in the stool|
|Erkrankung der Schilddrüse||thyroid disorder|
|Intimsphäre||privacy, private sphere|
|Klumpiger Stuhl||lumpy stool, lumpy faeces|
|stopfende Nahrungsmittel||food that constipates|
|Toilettengang||going to the toilet|
|Zeitdruck||pressure of time, time pressure|
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