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Elderly father extremely constipated, suppository not working. Any advice please?

(17 Posts)
Alliwantisaroomsomewhere Sun 31-Mar-13 19:30:59

My father who is nearly 80 lives 6 hours from me so I cannot go to him to see him.

I called him tonight and he sounds extremely poorly. He said that he has not had a bowel movement for nearly a week so he saw and OOH doc today who gave him a suppository. Doc said it should work within the hour but this was 7 hours ago and there has been no relief. Doc said DF should call him again if there is no relief by tomorrow.

I am worried about how poorly DF sounds. He is adamant he will not ring the doc til tomorrow.

Not sure what I can or should do but I am very worried. Does anyone have any words of advice? Should I insist on him ringing a doc again? Does he need an ambulance? Is it ok to wait for the morning if he sounds so grim?

PacificDogwood Sun 31-Mar-13 19:35:42

Get him to drink a lot of fluid, ideally fresh orange juice or prune juice if practical.

Would he eat a bit of Allbran or porridge with a spoonful of Allbran added?

He may need more than one suppository, or indeed an enema (district nurses can give them).

He may also do well with regular Laxido or similar, up to 8 sachets daily.

It's hard for you to judge what the right thing to do is; I don't think it'll be any easie for any of us online wink. YOu know how frail or otheriwse your father is. Could somebody check on him? A neighbour? Friend? Is he in a lot of pain?

A 999 ambulance is not normally needed for constipation, but if he gets worse he may need one to rule out other causes of not going to the bathroom. Is he on regular painkillers, particular codeine ones? Or morphine? That can cause dreadful constipation.

Flisspaps Sun 31-Mar-13 19:36:25

He has used the suppository correctly hasn't he?

KurriKurri Sun 31-Mar-13 19:50:40

I would think if the suppository didn't work fairly speedily, then it isn't going to work at all. Do you think you could persuade him to phone the doctor again - I see no reason to wait until tomorrow if he is uncomfortable and in pain, would he let you call the doctor for him perhaps?

My late father had similar problems and was put on either movicol or lactulose (sorry can't remember which) and that helped.

Apart from medical causes of constipation (like morphine based drugs etc)
Older people can get constipated because of mobility problems, and often because they don't drink enough - mu mum is 90 and goes to a day centre, and they are constantly checking that the old people are drinking properly giving them a glass of squash every hour as well as cups of tea etc. Dehydration will cause constipation.

I hope he feels better soon, - I know it is an awful worry when you have elderly parents and live a long way from them.

Alliwantisaroomsomewhere Sun 31-Mar-13 19:52:17

Thanks for replies! I am so far away from him and could not get hold of his partner who he lives with so I am also stuck.

He is not on any morphine or codeine. Not sure what other meds he is on.

Flisspaps, I am assuming that the doctor inserted the suppository for him. He did not want to talk on the phone.

It seems that I should stop panicking! Maybe a second suppository or and enema tomorrow may do the trick.

Thanks for the replies.

ggirl Sun 31-Mar-13 19:54:06

He will probably need movicol(laxido) as it needs to be addressed from the upper end. If his lower rectum is empty a suppository won't do anything.

He'll need to get some tomorrow .

Alliwantisaroomsomewhere Sun 31-Mar-13 19:54:46

Kurrikurri, he is adamant that he will wait til tomorrow to ring the doctor again, and I said to him that if he is so much discomfort then he should ring again. He won't. I am hoping that his partner will insist! I tried to ring her but it went to voicemail and I don't think she knows how to retrieve voicemail! (Not being unkind - she would be the first to admit it!)

Reenypip Sun 31-Mar-13 22:05:02

I suffer with chronic constipation as my bowels don't work due to multiple reasons. My record is 3 months with no bowel movement at all.
My usual movement is now once every 3 weeks, and that's taking 8 movicle a day, using a bowel catheter (peristeen). I require things is between, there are many types of laxatives, suppositories and enemas, that can be used.
He will probably need something from both ends, regular oral laxatives and then more suppositories and enemas at the other end, until movement has occurred.
In people with normal costipation once movement starts again they can adjust with diet, some people may need a low daily laxative to keep things going, or more depending on the person.
Ring on call doctor if really affecting him and can't wait til gp surgery opens. They can get a district nurse to come out to admisniter it properly from back passage, as well as him taking oral laxatives to soften and stimulate.

Reenypip Sun 31-Mar-13 22:07:52

Oral laxatives, movicle, laxido, lactose, magnesium, senna, fibrogel.

Suppositories, glycerol, etc
Enemas, micro enemas, peanut one, phosphate, etc.

Can get oral laxatives, suppositories and enemas from a pharmacy without prescription.

MousyMouse Sun 31-Mar-13 22:11:42

cold water just after waking
a tablespoon olive oil before eating
fluids fluids fluids
and yes to gp if nothing is working!

Footle Mon 01-Apr-13 14:08:42

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Alliwantisaroomsomewhere Mon 01-Apr-13 18:05:01

He was getting the district nurse to administer an enema today so I will ring him later to see how he is. Thanks,Footle.

Alliwantisaroomsomewhere Mon 01-Apr-13 21:16:35

Smiles and relief all around. The enema did the trick and DF is almost back to his old self. Footle, the doc checked for a bowel obstruction yesterday and fortunately ruled that out.

I really appreciate everyone's input! Thank you. My lovely dad is feeling lots better.

PacificDogwood Mon 01-Apr-13 21:18:35

Yeah smile!!
Thanks for updating.

Keep nagging him to drink - it IS one of the main things all of us older people don't do enough of.

Footle Mon 01-Apr-13 21:25:16

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

KurriKurri Mon 01-Apr-13 23:11:19

So glad he is sorted and feeling better Alliwant, - constipation is such an uncomfortable and miserable thing, - so pleased that there is no obstruction.
Take care of yourself - you have obviously been worried, and I know it is tough when you are a long way from your elderly parents.

Alliwantisaroomsomewhere Tue 02-Apr-13 15:33:24

Thanks, KurriKurri smile. I will be seeing him soon and am looking forward to that!

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