What is it about turning 50 that makes you obsessed with your bowels?

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    I here them on the phone telling their best friends about a new fiber product that really "promotes regularity," to save you the southern colloquialisms about going number II.

    The daily "occurence" is almost celebrated! If it does not come, laxative of choice, prune juice (even heated, Yuck!), and those fiber concoctions come flowing to help "The flow of things."

    I had a patient ask me for his Milk of Mag after not having his "movement" by lunchtime. I asked, "Are you having trouble going, I noticed your DAR says you have had one yesterday, and the day before, and you only ate 30% of your breakfast." It was like telling a baby, "No candy for you, Nah-Nan-Nan-Nan-Nan-Nah." He got his Milk of Mag, and I learned how not to make a friend with a senior who "thinks" that regularity is one a day at the same time everyday, . . .

    and not just one a day.

    I have also learned, just having one doesn't count. Texture, amount, consistency, solidity, and ease of going are very prized.

    Why do we become obsessed with our bowels around and after age 50? Am I mistaken, or do you see the pattern too?
    VykingRN likes this.
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  4. 34 Comments so far...

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    No, you're not mistaken! I have noticed this too. There's just something funny about how a large number of senior citizens are obsessed with having a BM! They feel as though they have to have one daily. If they go a day without a BM, they make a huge deal out of it until the doc orders some kind of laxative for them. Then they might end up having a massive amount of explosive diarrhea that night, but if by lunchtime the next day they didn't have a BM again, they say they're "constipated"! Obviously not every single patient is this way, but I have noticed a trend.
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    in my experience, by the time somebody's made 50 he's probably had at least one encounter with the medical establishment that has resulted in constipation, perhaps from as little as a few percocets after a dental extraction or a fracture. this experience was so uncomfortable and scary that he now starts paying attention to those ads on tv about "regularity" and "easy to go," and it just, umm, snowballs from there.

    as you noticed, not everyone does this. ask. the patient might not have a clue as to how all this works; knowledge is power. you do have to tell him the "why" because just telling him what your definition of constipation is doesn't mean a thing to him. he knows his own body, see, and ... so you tell him about how his body works. give him the metamucil bid, and promise him he'll be happy.
    SandraCVRN, Altra, VivaLasViejas, and 1 other like this.
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    A lot of people buy into the laxative advertising that basically says the more often you poop the better. Many people begin using laxatives to ensure their "regularity" which then leads to laxative dependence; long term laxative use actually causes constipation, reinforcing the use of laxatives, and the cycle continues.
    rita359, nursel56, VivaLasViejas, and 2 others like this.
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    The only time I get obsessed with it is when someone else is reading "War and Peace" cover to cover in the bathroom.
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    I think it started with the old Geritol commercials and all that talk of regularity. Then Dr. Oz had to go on Oprah and describe the daily BM in detail right down to how it should curl in the toilet. I'm all for education but really???

    If it sounds like a bombardier, you know, 'plop, plop, plop,' that's not right because it means you're constipated. It means the food is too hard by the time it comes out. It should hit the water like a diver from Acapulco hits the water [swoosh]," he explained. "It should be an S shape and you want to make sure the color's normal, because the color of the poop tells you a lot about how you made it."


    Read more: Most Shocking Moments - Dr. Oz Talks About Poop - Oprah.com

  10. 3
    I just learned something!
    VykingRN, Not_A_Hat_Person, and Esme12 like this.
  11. 4
    FWIW, after 50 things DO change.....I didn't realize it when I actually reached the magical half-century mark several years ago, but things don't work as well as they did. Not even my digestive tract, which was so reliable it wasn't even funny and now has slowed down and become, well, balky.


    As for being bowel-obsessed: We Boomers were raised by people who believed that if you didn't poop at least once a day, you weren't healthy; and if you went TWO days without a BM they'd chase you around the house with an enema bag! Now I can sympathize with my residents when they c/o being "bound up". I am not happy about this.....Benefiber and I have become very good friends indeed.
    hoopschick, imintrouble, beckster_01, and 1 other like this.
  12. 3
    Hmmm...I'm 52....and not really sure when last BM occurred! Am I the exception to the rule?
  13. 3
    Quote from VivaLasViejas
    FWIW, after 50 things DO change.....I didn't realize it when I actually reached the magical half-century mark several years ago, but things don't work as well as they did. Not even my digestive tract, which was so reliable it wasn't even funny and now has slowed down and become, well, balky.


    As for being bowel-obsessed: We Boomers were raised by people who believed that if you didn't poop at least once a day, you weren't healthy; and if you went TWO days without a BM they'd chase you around the house with an enema bag! Now I can sympathize with my residents when they c/o being "bound up". I am not happy about this.....Benefiber and I have become very good friends indeed.
    Methinks you may have hit onto something with the last bit.

    Persons near, at or abit past 50 today were raised by those who lived through the "Great Depression" years. During that era daily bowel movements seemed to be associated with good health. If as a child one didn't have that "urge" once a day or so out came the dreaded Castor oil, or some other means to get the job done. *LOL*

    This odd idea is not restricted to the USA, many of my French friends tell of growing up right through the 1950's or 1960's of having to take some sort of laxative *daily* regardless. It was simply thought (by their parents or care takers) as normal. Mind you many also stated they found ways around, such as only pretending to swallow the stuff and spat it out/disposed of the pills elsewhere.


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