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Problem with bowel movements
readywriter2 posted:
Mom is in the middle stages or early late stage of Alzheimer's. she has been having chronic problems with having a bowel movement. Her doctor has her on a stool softener, and we also give her prune juice every other day, so her stools are not hard, but she is having trouble pushing them out. Has anyone else faced this problem? If so, have you found a solution?
cjh1203 responded:
Hi readywriter2. I'm sorry you've gone two days without a reply. It's pretty quiet here sometimes.

Does she eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and drink plenty of water? I'm afraid I'm not much of an expert on this. Maybe it would be worth calling her doctor to let him/her know that your mom is still having a problem.

Best wishes,
readywriter2 replied to cjh1203's response:
Mom eats very little, just cereal, snacks, and occasionally a piece of fish, with us supplementing her diet with Boost with fiber daily. We still give her fruits and vegetables, but she seldom will eat them. We are trying to avoid putting in a feeding tube, at least for as long as she is able to drink nutritional drinks such as Boost or Ensure, because the danger of her pulling out the feeding tube is very high.

Keeping her from getting dehydrated is a constant battle (she hates drinking water), but we force her to drink a cup full every time she takes meds (5 times a day) and remind her to drink more during the day.

I've talked with her doctor, and she said she didn't know anything that would help other than the things we're already doing. Mom had a very bad day the day I posted the question, but was doing better the next day. The problem seems to be related to her muscle control, so we're not sure there's anything to do to beyond what we're already doing. I was wondering if anyone else had faced a similar situation and come up with a solution that her doctor, therapists, and family members haven't considered.
Judith L London, PhD replied to readywriter2's response:
What a situation! She must be so uncomfortable with that problem.

How about making up a juice thick shake with her favorite fruits? You can water it down, if needed, and give her different flavors when she has to take her meds. Vegetable shakes might also work, although I wonder if she wouldn't prefer the sweetness of the fruit shake.

I also think that if she likes icecream, give it to her. Or, you could make add protein to any combination milk or fruit shake that appeals to her.

Ice pops might also work.

Hope you both get some relief,
readywriter2 replied to Judith L London, PhD's response:
Thanks for the idea. I tried a strawberry banana shake today, and she drank about 1/3 cup of it. I didn't give it with meds, but we can try that tomorrow.
sluggo45692 replied to readywriter2's response:
My gf's mom will drink sassaphrass (not spelled right) tea hot or cold. No caffeine and it's sweet. Can't mix meds with it, due to taste changes. You can give her cookies with it also. Ma loves to dunk them. She won't eat properly also, but for some reason she loves Wendy's chilli. or soup beans. If she can tolerate Kool-aid, Tang, or lemonaid, that's an alt. for water. I would avoid the red colors if your worried about blood in stool. You could also use jello with fruit or pudding. Whipped cream on top for the extra dairy touch. Don't forget to use the juice in the can with water to make the jello. You can also try an ICEE frozen drink. Lots of gas stations have the machines. Good Luck
2010guardian responded:
I know how much you are so concerned about 'what to do.' My husband is also in the moderate stage. He has this same type of bowel problem. He takes Mirolax every day. Just spoon it into water or juice and stir. It has no flavor in itself. Since you give her liquid in the cup, that is the quantity that I fix. If you delay too long to drink it, it will get thick. So, mix it in a fruit drink and she may tolerate it better. Keep giving it even when she has a bowel movement unless it gets too loose.

One problem with a dry stool is getting it started to move. Ask the doctor about giving a suppository. When my husband is really bound tight, the doctor said to give him Magnesium Citrate oral solution. He drinks all 10 fl. oz. She may not be able to get all of it down, but ask your doctor. It may get her started. I hope something works soon.
trwebster responded:
I'm a care-giver for a mid-stage Alzheimer client with a lifetime problem of constipation & painful BM every 4-5 days. I also have some issues, personally, with constipation. I take magnesium supplements every day and recommended magnesium for my client (as did one of her daughters). It took some adjusting, but she takes magnesium 3-4 times a week and is having regular BMs with little or no pain. She is off all laxative meds and stool softeners. I've two doctors say this is fine since Milk of Magnesia is just that- magnesium.
2010guardian replied to 2010guardian's response:
Hello, I have an update on Magnesium. I was giving my husband the Magnesium tablets once a day an then I read on the bottle that if there is Kidney Disease, 'ask your doctor'. It seems that Magnesium increases the potassium and I had to stop giving it to my husband because of his kidney disease.

So, ask the doctor.

I give my husband 2-3 stool softeners a day. I take one once in a while and I also eat bran cereal quite a bit.

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