December is Constipation Awareness Month. Not only are celebrities dying of constipation-caused fetal impaction, but also numerous nursing home residents, many of whom don’t move around very much. Check out sites such as Chronic constipation kills Elvis Presley, Dr Nick George Nichopoulos finally reveals.
The doctor has revealed that he thinks Elvis’s constipation led to his premature death. Also see the article, “Constipation and Exercises For The Elderly.” With some people, it’s the food they eat, the amount of liquids they drink, or the fact that they don’t move very much or walk enough. Other celebrities’ autopsies have shown constipation issues. See, The truth about John Wayne and his colon full of impacted feces. Also see,Toilet-related injuries and deaths.
George II of Great Britain died on the toilet on October 25, 1760. Some instances of toilet-related deaths are attributed to the drop in blood pressure due to the parasympathetic nervous system during bowel movements, according to the article, Toilet-related injuries and deaths. Too many people have died straining at stool. The Valsalva maneuver is often dangerously used to aid in the expulsion of feces from the rectum during a bowel movement, according to that article which also mentions a reference to Sharon Mantik Lewis, Margaret McLean Heitkemper and Shannon Ruff Dirksen, (Medical-Surgical Nursing: Assessment and Management of Clinical Problems, 6th edition, Volume 2 (2004), p.951.), the “Valsalva maneuver … occurs during straining to pass a hardened stool.”
This effect may be magnified by existing circulatory issues. It is further possible that people succumb on the toilet to chronic constipation, because the Valsalva maneuver is often dangerously used to aid in the expulsion of feces from the rectum during a bowel movement. Constipation is a huge problem for numerous seniors. See, Constipation, A Big Problem For Some Seniors. Sometimes a medical condition causes the constipation, such as Parkinson’s, or a thyroid issue. Often a large Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner precipitates an event on the toilet which leads to a medical event from the straining due to constipation.
Constipation can happen to as many as 35% of people over the age of 65. Some sources say that as many as 75% of patients in hospitals and nursing homes use laxatives regularly. Ask many of our seniors how often they should have a bowel movement and almost to a man they will say “every day.”
This is the myth that leads many to believe they are constipated when, in fact, they aren’t. It is perfectly normal to visit the bathroom anywhere from two or three times a day to every second or third day. If your pattern is regular even when you don’t feel like “going” for a day or so there is probably no real cause for concern.
If things regularly stretch much more than three days, or if you have pain or cramps, unusual gas, bloating, loss of runny stool, vomiting or unusual loss of appetite it could be cause for concern and should be checked by a medical professional. Most seniors need to move more, perhaps slow moving such as Tai Chi or walking.
For many people cheese, dairy products, eggs and foods high in sugar can be constipating. Try to reduce the amount of cheese, beef, and other rich high-fat foods. Drink more liquids such as soups. For many dairy products such as milk and puddings also can be constipating, and coffee, tea and other drinks with caffeine can dehydrate the intestines.
Check with your medical professionals if you have a sudden change in bowel habits, blood in the stool, stomach pains or a sudden loss of weight without trying. What helps is increasing fluids, eating more fiber, and getting more exercise even if it’s just moving in a chair. If you have sudden changes, or vomiting and cramps, or have lost the urge to ‘go’, it’s wise to get medical advice quickly to make sure you don’t have an obstruction or impaction in your intestines or bowels.
Do you have the following symptoms?
- Straining at defecation at least 25% of the time?
- Hard stools at least 25% of the time?
- Incomplete emptying of the bowels at least 25% of the time?
- Two or fewer bowel movements per week?
Recently, there has been a lawsuit over the nursing-home care of a 77-year old woman who died as a result of constipation and fecal impaction. Check out the November 28, 2012 Sacramento Bee newspaper article by Marjie Lundstrom, “Elder abuse trial ordered,” (Head nurse to stand trial in connection with woman’s death at Cameron Park care facility.)
The former head nurse at a nursing home will stand trial for felony elder abuse in connection with the 2008 death of a 77-year-old woman, a judge ruled Tuesday. The woman in the nursing home died a painful and unnecessary death – despite a devoted family that surrounded her daily, according to testimony and state documents. The issue, according to the state, is that the woman had a history of constipation but had been “ignored at the facility, and she developed a devastating fecal impaction that led to her death.”
Movie stars and celebrities have had issues with constipation. In the article, chronic constipation kills Elvis Presley, Dr Nick George Nichopoulos finally reveals, you can read that Presley’s personal doctor has revealed Elvis died of chronic constipation. Dr George Nichopoulos, had been Elvis’s doctor for the last 12 years of his life.The doctor, who attempted to resuscitate Elvis on the day of his death, explained in the article that it wasn’t until the autopsy that he realized how severe the constipation had been.
What happens when a person has fecal impaction or severe constipation is a change the size of the colon. According to Dr Nichopoulos’s explanation in the article, the the autopsy found Elvis’s colon to be five to six inches in diameter, compared to an average of two to three inches. Presley’s impacted colon had grown toAnd eight to nine feet long, more than twice the length of a normal colon.
When doctors offered to cut out part of his bowels, he rejected the colostomy. But was surgery the answer when a dietary change might have helped, or even washing out his impacted colon in a hospital setting with various machines?
Would he have tried folkloric medicine such as olive oil treatments for removing some types of toxic waste from the body? News articles don’t say. But for others, exercise and a change of diet may be able to help some sedentary seniors as well as some of those celebrities who continued to eat the wrong foods that lead to impaction of feces.