Patient Perspective: Marilyn's Story

Marilyn's Story, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

My mom has always had urgency issues. Growing up it seemed that almost anything she ate would result in a bathroom trip within the next 30 minutes.  And not just causal bathroom trips either – urgent, NEED TO GO RIGHT NOW, bathroom trips.  These were a constant source of frustration for our family – no one understood that it was something she couldn’t help. 

As I’ve grown older, I’ve experienced some of the same symptoms myself. The urgent needs to empty my bowels, occasional abdominal pains, daily bloating. Thinking that it was just something I inherited, and something that couldn’t really be fixed, I lived with those symptoms for years before casually mentioning it to my doctor during a routine check up.

I was surprised when he mentioned irritable bowel syndrome and after hearing the symptoms, was certain that it was what I, and likely my mother, suffered from for all those years.

After some tests, I was proven correct and he started me on a medication that has mostly erased the discomfort I used to feel on a daily basis.

My Mom has been gone for several years, and I hate that we never pushed her to talk to her doctor about this problem. Thinking back on all the pain and frustration she went through (and likely embarrassment and shame) feels like such a waste considering all that can be done to treat IBS.

But, while it may be too late for her to get treatment, I’m glad that I finally did speak up to my doctor and am not following the same path. Life is just too short to live every day with something that can be treated so easily.
 
Marilyn R., Indianapolis, IN

A Recipe To Treat Constipation

A Recipe To Treat Constipation

For the past few days, my 83 year-old father has been a little backed up. While under my care, he has experienced this several times and at first, we credited the changes to his decreased mobility.  However, we’re discovering it’s likely the medications he’s started taking for his Parkinson’s.  Not only is his constipation uncomfortable for him, but it has also started to affect his control of his bladder.

Constipation is common among the elderly.  There are many potential causes for it – poor diet, depression or other medical condition, irregular toileting routines, medications.  It may also be a cause of bladder control problems.  When the rectum is full of stool, it may disturb the bladder and cause the sensation of urgency and frequency.

A common remedy for constipation is extra fiber in the diet.  I’ve found the recipe below helps my Dad become a bit more regular.  It can be stored in the fridge or freezer.  I’ve taken to making batches of it and freezing pre-measured servings in ice cube trays to thaw as needed.  Not only does this make prep a little easier, my Dad thinks the slightly frozen mixture is soothing and refreshing.  Begin with two tablespoons each evening, followed by one 6 to 8 ounce glass of water or juice.  After 7 to 10 days, increase this to 3 tablespoons.  At the end of the second to third week, increase it to 4 tablespoons. We usually see an improvement in Dad’s bowel habits in about two weeks. 

Special Recipe To Treat Constipation

  • 1 cup applesauce
  • 1 cup oat bran
  • 1/4 cup prune juice
  • Spices as desired (cinnamon, nutmeg, etc.)