The constipation rate of the elderly over 60 years old is as high as 22%, that is, one in five people will have constipation. Due to the decrease of gastrointestinal secretion and digestive juice, intestinal peristalsis slows down, the internal and external sphincter muscles of the anus are weak in contraction, the love to eat rice and fine noodles, the lack of water and oil in the diet, etc., constipation is more common in the elderly.
Although constipation is a symptom, it is not a simple disease. Difficulty and laborious defecation can induce cardiovascular and cerebrovascular accidents and may lead to incontinence. Even long-term constipation will cause the concentration of various carcinogens in the stool to increase, and the contact time with the colon mucosa will be longer. In the long term, it will also increase the risk of colon cancer in the elderly and seriously affect the quality of life. Therefore, constipation should not be taken lightly.
Causes of frequent constipation in the elderly
(1) The diet is too fine
Due to loose teeth and poor chewing ability, the elderly will often choose to eat softer foods, such as white porridge with a little side dish. Such a diet will lead to lack of dietary fiber due to insufficient intake of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. If there is almost no residue after the food is digested, it is difficult to form a sufficient volume of stool in the colon, so it is difficult to produce stool every day.
(2) Lack of drinking water
With age, the water content in the body will become less and less. If you do not have the habit of drinking water on time, resulting in dry and hard stools, it will further aggravate constipation.
(Three) lack of exercise
In old age, many people will become fatigued easily due to inconvenience in activities, resulting in greatly reduced activity or even inactivity, which is very detrimental to intestinal peristalsis.
(4) Poor bowel habits
Some people are accustomed to defecate at home, so even if they feel the urge to defecate outside, they will resist going home before solving the problem. But in fact, this is a very bad bowel habit. When the bowel movement is delayed, the rectum will absorb the water in the stool, making the stool dry and causing difficulty in defecation. And over time, it will cause the human body to become less and less sensitive to bowel movements, and defecation becomes more and more difficult.
(5) Diseases and drug effects
Constipation is also closely related to many chronic diseases. Such as diabetes, hypothyroidism, nervous system diseases, intestinal diseases, electrolyte disturbances and muscle-related diseases. In addition, with intestinal tumors or abdominal cavity metastases, as well as metabolic disorders (such as hypokalemia and hyponatremia), drugs (opioids, chemotherapeutics, antidepressants, antidiarrheals, antiemetics, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) Drugs, etc.) side effects, constipation will occur frequently. Therefore, if constipation is frequent, it is recommended to go to the hospital to check the cause and prescribe the right medicine. For people over the age of 40, if constipation suddenly appears, or is accompanied by symptoms such as weight loss and blood in the stool, they need to seek medical treatment in time for necessary examinations.
Those rumors about constipation
(1) Drinking honey and eating bananas can cure constipation
In fact, this is the biggest misunderstanding everyone has about using form to complement form. Regarding honey, many people think that it is slippery, can be laxative, and will cause diarrhea after drinking it. In fact, this may be osmotic diarrhea caused by fructose intolerance, and honey itself has no magical nutritional value or laxative effect. In the composition of honey, fructose accounts for about 39%. Therefore, people who are very sensitive to fructose are very prone to osmotic diarrhea. Regarding whether bananas are laxative, in fact, all fruits contain dietary fiber and relatively high nutritional value, and bananas have no special features in laxative. I need to remind everyone that pears, guava, apples, avocados and kiwis are richer in dietary fiber. However, green bananas may contain tannic acid, which may cause or aggravate constipation.
(2) Drinking intestinal tea can improve constipation
Although the name sounds healthy and healthy, when you read the formula carefully, most of the intestinal tea contains laxative ingredients. The laxative that stimulates the intestines is not only ineffective, but also damages the nerves of the intestinal wall, causing many adverse consequences. Long-term use of intestinal tea will increase the risk of drug dependence, but will increase constipation.
Ways to improve constipation
If you suffer from constipation for a long time, you need to do a detailed examination first to rule out whether it is caused by disease and whether it is organic constipation. However, for most people, constipation is a “lifestyle disease.” To improve constipation, you may wish to change your living habits from the following aspects, which can free you from constipation.
(1) Drink enough water
It is necessary to ensure adequate water intake every day, and develop the habit of regular, continuous and active drinking. Do not drink water when you are thirsty. You need to drink 8 glasses of water (1500-1700mL) every day, and drink 250mL every 1-2 hours. In constipation, light salt water will increase the intake of sodium, which is not conducive to blood pressure control and heart health; honey water contains more sugar, which will cause blood sugar fluctuations. Therefore, drinking plain water is the most ideal.
(2) Increase dietary fiber
According to the “Reference Intake of Dietary Nutrients for Chinese Residents”, the recommended daily dietary fiber intake needs to reach 25-35 grams. However, according to the dietary fiber white paper, the average dietary fiber of Chinese residents is only 11 grams, and many people lack dietary fiber in their diet. Therefore, after obtaining the consent of your doctor, it is recommended that you increase your intake of dietary fiber. For example: all kinds of coarse grains, miscellaneous beans, fungus and algae, vegetables, nuts and fruits are all good sources of dietary fiber. However, it should be noted that when adding these foods, gradually increase the amount and pay attention to whether there is severe flatulence until the bowel movement is normal. There are also some dried beans, raw carrots, leeks, asparagus and other foods that may cause excessive gas production. Therefore, you should adjust them according to your eating habits to avoid discomfort.
(3) Defecation at regular intervals and mastering the posture
After a meal or appropriate activity, the movement of the colon increases. At this time, you can make full use of the body’s normal physiological response to establish the habit of regular bowel movements. Try to have a bowel movement in the morning or within 2 hours after a meal. It is recommended to pay full attention during defecation, not to be disturbed by mobile phones and newspapers, and to reduce the influence of other factors. At the same time, in the semi-squatting position, you can put a small bench under your feet and lean forward slightly, which is more conducive to fecal discharge.
(4) Increase the intake of healthy fats appropriately
A light diet is also the cause of constipation in middle-aged and elderly people. In fact, adding some foods rich in unsaturated fatty acids has many health benefits. All kinds of nuts, seeds, sea fish and seafood are all high-quality sources of polyunsaturated fatty acids; at the same time, the protein content will be higher, and the types of vitamins and minerals will be richer. When cooking, you can choose different vegetable oils for cooking, but it is not suitable for frying, frying, roasting, etc.
(5) Multiple activities
In addition to improving constipation, more activity is very good for overall physical and mental health. The form of activities does not need to be strictly restricted. Brisk walking, jogging, Tai Chi, square dancing and yoga are all acceptable. Any activity you like, as long as it doesn’t burden the heart too much, you can try it.
The World Health Organization’s exercise recommendations for people over 65: Do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise per week, or at least 75 minutes of relatively high-intensity aerobic exercise. In addition to aerobic exercise, elderly people can also consider adding three types of exercise:
Strength exercises, such as strength training such as elastic bands and dumbbells;
Balance exercises, such as Tai Chi and standing on one foot;
Flexibility exercises, such as shoulder, neck, upper limb stretching and yoga.
Through these three kinds of exercises, it can not only increase the physical activity, prevent muscle attenuation, but also avoid falls caused by body instability, and increase the flexibility of daily activities. When exercising, it is also very important to ensure safety. It is recommended that everyone proceed step by step and do what they can.
Elderly constipation should not be underestimated. When you have constipation, you must seek medical treatment in time and take effective measures. With the doctor’s permission, use the above methods to relieve your constipation and reduce the impact of constipation on the quality of life.