Background: Intestinal complaints are a frequent health concern for elderly people and their care providers. Aims: To explore the distinction between constipation and the subjective complaints in elderly people and to review the diagnosis, causes and treatment of constipation, fecal impaction, and fecal incontinence. Methods: Review of studies that give information on prevalence, causes, symptoms, and treatment of bowel problems in the elderly, excluding uncontrolled clinical observations. Results: Self-reported constipation and laxative use increase with age and are more common among women, blacks and people of low socio-economic level. The patient’s pharmacological history is fundamental, because medications are the cause of up to 40% of chronic constipation, and are often used inappropriately. The results of most laxative trials require cautious interpretation, but fiber and laxatives are more effective than placebo against constipation. Much additional research is needed to determine the most cost-effective method of treating intestinal complaints in the elderly. Conclusions: Bowel problems in older people have a considerable impact on the quality of life and have many contributory causes that are often amenable to treatment and management. Results of therapy can be good, leading to alleviation of suffering and the ability to lead a fuller life.

This content is only available via PDF.
Copyright / Drug Dosage / Disclaimer
Copyright: All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be translated into other languages, reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, microcopying, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.
Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in government regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug.
Disclaimer: The statements, opinions and data contained in this publication are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of the publishers and the editor(s). The appearance of advertisements or/and product references in the publication is not a warranty, endorsement, or approval of the products or services advertised or of their effectiveness, quality or safety. The publisher and the editor(s) disclaim responsibility for any injury to persons or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content or advertisements.