My 70-year-old father has been complaining of constipation for the past 2 months. Kindly let me know how to manage his case.
Chronic constipation is common in adults older than 60 years, and symptoms occur in up to 50% of nursing home residents. Primary constipation is also referred to as functional constipation. Secondaryconstipation is associated with chronic disease processes, medication use, and psychosocial issues. Faecal impaction should be treated with mineral oil or warm water enemas.
Most patients are initially treated with lifestyle modifications, such as scheduled toileting after meals, increased fluid intake, and increased dietary fiber intake. Additional fiber intake in the form of vegetables, fruits and cereals may improve symptoms.
Fibre intake should be slowly increased over several weeks to decrease adverse effects. The next step in the treatment ofconstipation is the use of laxatives. Long-term use of magnesium-based laxatives should be avoided because of potential toxicity. If symptoms do not improve, the patient should be referred to a hospital for further diagnostic evaluation.