Anti aging guide

Problems of Diarrhoea on Older People



What causes diarrhoea and how to prevent and treat it?

An isolated episode of loose motions is no more significant in old age than in earlier life. It is only in infants and small children that serious sequel are likely to arise. A brief, self-limiting infection is usually found to be the cause. Simple measures concerning personal hygiene and a light liquid diet are all that are required to enable the bowel to make a spontaneous recovery.

Chronic inflammatory conditions are the most likely cause of prolonged diarrhoea in older people. The most common is diverti- cular disease, where pouches, arising from the large bowel become inflamed and irritated, pain and diarrhoea are then likely to occur. These pouches occur in the majority of the elderly in the western world, and probably result from excess pressures in the bowel generated by the force needed to expel small, hard motions. Improving the consistency of the stools is the best method of treatment and prevention.

Inflammatory conditions, such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, are usually associated with younger patients, but both illnesses can also occur in elderly people. Impaired bowel function due to reduction in its blood supply is another cause of diarrhoea, and one almost exclusive to the elderly. Episodes of diarrhoea and abdominal pain are most likely to occur after eating, and the patient will have difficulty in maintaining his normal weight.

Activity at the upper end of the gut may also result in diarrhoea, dietary excesses of unaccustomed food and alcohol being the most common culprits. Medicines are also fairly frequently responsible, especially antibiotics, and excessive doses of digoxin and the abuse of purgatives are other examples. Anxiety can be another potent cause.

Posted by Carol Hudgens - May 17, 2012 at 5:54 am