My child is mentally challenged and always had a problem with constipation to the point of impaction on several occasions. It was eventually resolved while in a nursing home. Now that he is at home, the meds, colace and dulcolax?, aren't working. I hate to do it, but I think I may need to resort to giving him an enema. This was always traumatic for him, but I don't know what else to do. I can't let this go on it only gets worse. What is the best enema to give and how do I do this now that he's an adult?
One of the biggest causes of conspitation in the mentally impaired or elderly is dehydration. They may not realize or remember to drink constantly. The feces gets stuck because there is not enough lubrication so it makes it difficult to pass the stool. Encourage him to drink a glass of water or juice at least every hour. Avoid drinks with caffeine. Grapes, raisins, prunes, flax and bran are great to add to a diet to help promote regular, soft bowel movements.
To rid the bowel movement that may be lodged inside, it is much less invasive to give a suppository (instead of an enema). This is a small pill that you insert in the anus (make SURE you lubricate your fingers and that you are gloved). The enema is more invasive and causes more discomfort. As a personal support worker in a nursing home, we always try to give suppositories before an enema.
I really don't think there is a particular enema I would recommend, they are pretty much all the same. Same goes for suppositories.
I definetely recommend increasing his fluid intake, and try hard to give flax and bran with cereal. You can even bake all sorts of goods (cookies, muffins, bread) with flax seed and bran. Best wishes!
One of the initial signs that indicate that your bowel is not functioning properly is constipation. It is a condition wherein one is experiencing difficulties in expelling wastes from the body. Normally, a person has to defecate one to three times a day, or at least three times a week. However, many people experience irregularities in their bowel movements, often accompanied by abdominal pains, diarrhea or constipation. These symptoms tend to be annoying and troublesome that most people would take medications or laxatives to be rid of them. Also, naturopathic remedies such as herbal supplements and colon hydrotherapy are preferred by few.
Constipation is one of the most common gastrointestinal problems in our society. However, constipation is not a disease, it is a symptom. Any one can actually get constipated. Most constipation is only temporary and poses no serious danger. However, once it becomes frequent and worsening, then, utmost attention is needed.
There are a lot of factors that can cause constipation including diet, medications, functional disorders, hormonal changes, dehydration, lactose intolerance, lack of physical activities or even changes in one’s routine. When one eats mucus producing foods such as dairy, meat, and processed flour, he is likely to have compact and sticky feces which the body would find difficult to eliminate. That is why, a diet rich in fiber is most recommended because fiber can produce soft bulky feces which can easily pass through the bowel.
Also, the colon has the tendency to absorb too much water from the digested food that the resulting feces tend to be hard. The feces then move sluggishly through the bowel, resulting to constipation. With the somewhat sticky and sluggish exit of the feces, portions of feces could stick to the walls of the colon. Over time, the feces will somewhat harden and further amass, not only adding several pounds of unhealthy weight to the body but also only narrowing the waste passage. Consequently, the colon strains itself to purge out the wastes, resulting to constipation. But what is more disconcerting is the fact that the toxic waste build up is a potent breeding ground for bad bacteria. As bad bacteria proliferates and the toxins from the wastes reabsorbed, the body becomes susceptible to a number of ailments including chronic migraines, constipation, diarrhea, halitosis or bad breath, arthritis, chronic skin problems, colds, chronic fatigues, insomnia, hypertension and even depression and anxiety.
People usually take laxatives to rid themselves of gastrointestinal discomforts, however, some tend to over-use the stimulant. As a result, the nerves and muscles of the colon are damaged. Other people on the other hand are inclined to take naturopathic supplements and undergo colon hydrotherapy.
For centuries, colon hydrotherapy has been a popular treatment in relieving a number of ailments mainly caused by the lingering toxins inside the body. With the expulsion of the accumulated feces through this procedure the body does not only regain its vigor but tends to loose weight as well. Moreover, the fact that many people still patronize the usage of the procedure is proof enough of its effectiveness. In fact, to maximize the rejuvenating effects of the said treatment, some people prefer having it in tranquil and breathtaking venues such as Maui, Hawaii.
Constipation is the name given to the condition in which a person finds difficulty in passing stools. Ideally, a person must void the wastes of the digestive tract one or two times a day. But in people suffering from constipation, this elimination of wastes becomes highly reduced, or may even be absent for several days together.
Constipation can be the reduction of the normal volume of feces voided, the complete absence of discharge or sticky discharge that the person has difficulty in passing out. In all cases, there is Ayurvedic treatment. Constipation is not a very dangerous ailment if treated properly in time. But if let be, then constipation can become chronic. Especially in elderly people, constipation for a prolonged period can be fatal.
From an Ayurvedic point of view, constipation is a disease caused particularly by the vitiation of the vata dosha. It is called as Anaha in Ayurveda. But the other two doshas can also be responsible for constipation. Constipation caused due to a high pitta dosha is characterized by dry stools. It is felt mostly in the hot months. Constipation caused due to a high kapha dosha is accompanied by pains in passing out the feces, which are sticky. In people with kapha vitiation, the excessive mucus may block the rectal passage which will obstruct the elimination of the wastes.
(1) Useful Herbs in the Treatment of Constipation
- Bael fruit (Aegle marmelos) The fruit of the bael is an effective laxative. The ripe fruit is better at this than the raw one. It has to be used for two to three months. It can be taken in the form of a sherbet. This will dissolve the wastes of the intestines and flush them out of the body.
- Belleric Myroblan (Terminalia belerica) The half ripe fruit of the belleric myroblan is a purgative. It is used in treatment of chronic constipation. However the fully ripe fruit may be disadvantageous to the treatment.
- Cassia (Cassia fistula) The pulp of the ripe fruit of the cassia tree is an effective laxative in the treatment of constipation. This remedy is popular because it has no side effects even when taken by children and pregnant women.
- Castor (Ricinus communis) Castor oil is effective as a purgative. This treatment also has no side effects. It can be taken safely, irrespective of the physiology of the patient and the climatic conditions.
- Chebulic Myroblan (Terminalia chebula) Chebulic myroblan is a mild laxative. Its pulp is taken with rock salt, or flavored with cloves and cinnamon. Regular use of this decoction relieves the person of constipation.
- Chicory (Chichorium intybus) Chicory has natural laxative powers. It can be used in the treatment of chronic constipation problems.
- Isphagula (Plantago ovata) This is the traditionally used remedy in the treatment of constipation. The seeds of this plant have a soothing effect on the mucus lining of the alimentary canal. The seeds must be soaked in water and then taken. Isphagula seeds act by binding the wastes in the alimentary canal and bringing them to a consistency in which they can be eliminated from the body.
- Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) Licorice is a laxative. In order to get better benefits, licorice powder is taken with water and jaggery.
- Rhubarb (Rheum emodi) Rhubarb is also commonly used in allopathic medicine for its purgative properties. Rhubarb contains several tannins that are beneficial in voiding the wastes from the alimentary canal. But rhubarb can be used only in simple cases of constipation, and it has no effect in chronic constipation.
(2) Dietary Treatments for Constipation
There are many dietary guidelines for people suffering from constipation. The following are some of them:-
- Water is very important to keep the intestines working well. Drink a glass of water early in the morning. For better results, keep the water overnight in a copper vessel and drink it when you wake up in the morning.
- The food that you consume should not be too dry. It should be vata pacifying. Hence it must contain adequate amounts of oil or ghee in it.
- Take a glassful of warm milk with a teaspoonful of ghee in it when going to bed.
- Avoid rice. Take wheat instead.
- Fresh fruits and green leafy vegetables must be an integral part of the diet. Papaya and sugarcane are especially beneficial. Tomato and beetroot salads are also very beneficial.
- Avoid beans, legumes, grams, cabbages, mushrooms and such foods which are difficult to digest.
(3) Ayurvedic Treatment for Constipation
- The Triphala Choorna is commonly prescribed. It contains a mixture of the three important fruits of amalaki, belleric myroblan and chebulic myroblan.
- Medicines such as Agastya Rasayana, Pancha Sakara Choorna, Abhayadi Modaka, Madhu Yashthayadi Choorna, can strengthen the intestinal valves and hence improve their functions. These treatments are even prescribed in cases of chronic constipation.
- There are some special therapies Ayurveda uses in order to treat the condition of constipation. These therapies are:- a) Vashthi Karma (enema therapy) b) Virechana Karma (purgation therapy)
- In addition, a massage of the abdominal muscles, known as the Udavartana, is also employed if the constipation is chronic. This makes the intestinal muscles stronger and work better in dispelling the wastes.
(4) Home Medications
- Every morning when you wake up, eat two apples. Bite them with the teeth instead of using a knife to cut them into slices.
- Drink a glass of water with a teaspoonful of honey in it at night before going to bed.
- The best and simplest medicine is to drink a glass of lemon juice in water with a pinch of salt in it. This will treat any kind of constipation that may be present.