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Alzheimer's and trouble with bowel movements

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Old 06-14-2008, 05:17 PM   #1
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Alzheimer's and trouble with bowel movements

My mother in law has Alzheimer's and recently which means in the past year she has started to haave trouble having a bowel movement. This is kinda gross but what she is doing is pulling it out by hand because it won't come out itself. Its terrible and beleive me she makes a horrible mess in the bathroom. We went to the doctors, told them, they put her on stool softner, and fiber diet along with fiber pills. That didn't work. Then we went to a specialist , they checked her muscles and they said they are fine. She had a colonoscopy and that was fine......she constantly complains she can't have a normal movement without manually taking it out, plus now she says she has a constant stomach ache......what i want to know is this because of Alzheimer' she forgetting or her brain cannot do this anymore because it doesn't know how to send signals anymore??? I asked the doctore this and he just about bit my head off....i am at wits end listening to her complain and i do not know what to do....if this is something serious why haven't they found it yet....HELP!!!!!!!!!!
Has anyone ever dealt with someone like this?

leslie jo

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Old 06-14-2008, 06:03 PM   #2
Martha H
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Re: Alzheimer's and trouble with bowel movements

Hi Leslie Jo -- sorry you are having to cope with this weird symptom. It was terribly wrong for her doctor to yell at you! I'd like to see HIM take care of an AD patient for one whole day!

My Mom had strange things happening with her BMs as she got worse and worse with her AD. She never actually said she was not having normal bowel movements. Yet, I used to find poop on the bathroom floor, once just in front of the bathroom sink quite a way from the toilet. I asked her, but she denied it was hers. (no one else but us used the one bathroom in the apartment). I thought maybe it was in her panties and she let it fall, but who knows?

Has anyone actually SEEN her ''pulling it out?" Or is this a strange fantasy/made up story as so often AD patients have?

In any case, don't you think it is time for her to be in around the clock care in a facility which specializes in these cases? I am pretty sure every nurse on the Alzheimer unit will know exactly what you are talking about, even if the doctors shrug it off...

Good luck.


Last edited by Martha H; 06-14-2008 at 06:04 PM.

Old 06-14-2008, 06:07 PM   #3
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Re: Alzheimer's and trouble with bowel movements

My mom is in a NH and it seems that at least once a month the nurses have to give her a stool softener which gives her a stomach ache and then bowel movements aplenty.

All I can think is that she mostly sits or sleeps most of the day...basically, lack of activity that can slow down the bowels. Whether ALZ has anything to do with it or not, I'm not sure. Perhaps you're right, the bowels just don't work like they used to.

BTW; if the doctor just about bit your head off for a simple question like that as you say, I'd seek another opinion with someone more compassionate or specializes in geriatric care.

Best of luck.

Old 06-14-2008, 08:51 PM   #4
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Re: Alzheimer's and trouble with bowel movements

My Grandma did the EXACT same thing......You are the first person that I have heard with the same problem. We have no idea why she did this the last 7 or so years she was alive.
It drove us crazy. We had everything checked out. No answers. The last few years she was never alone in the bathroom. Her aids had to literally hold her hands to keep her from doing this to herself. She swore she could not go unless she did this. It was truly one of the biggest problems we had with her. I'm sorry to say we never came to any conclusions. She could go without this "digging" thing but she didn't know she could. Very strange thing. Believe me, I know.

Old 06-15-2008, 04:26 AM   #5
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Re: Alzheimer's and trouble with bowel movements

Try giving her Miralax. It is an OTC med that will really help your grandmother. I use it because of the meds I take for my back. It will help with her stools being softer, AND it will help with the "urge" that goes along with them coming out. IT should make it easier for your grandma to have the bm without the need for her to have her hands in there.

good luck.,

you can find it at target, wal mart costco.....

Last edited by ibake&pray; 06-15-2008 at 04:27 AM.

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