losing the power to poop
My mom recently lost the power to poop. She tightens her abs for hours, but it seems the old sphincter isn't responding in kind to help push things along. She has had an upper GI, a colonoscopy, and a physical. The GI Doc said maybe it's due to having a lot of kids (ten in her lifetime). If that is the case, why, all of a sudden, now that she is seventy-five is this starting to happen? One day she's fine, the next day, she's got no power to poop?!
Sounds like your mom is experiencing an inability to use her pelvic floor muscles. Tightening her abs for hours might get her a spot on cable TV as the senior host of an exercise show, but probably won't do much for pooping. This effort really does require some muscular activity from a little lower down.
Some different exercises might be in order here, especially after having ten children. A Kegel exercise, named after Dr. Arnold Kegel, consists of contracting and relaxing the muscles which form part of the pelvic floor (sometimes called the "Kegel muscles").
A popular way to identify the pelvic muscles is to stop the flow of urine midstream. This is accomplished by contracting the pelvic floor muscles. Restarting the flow of urine is accomplished by releasing the pelvic floor muscles. Once identified this way, the pelvic floor muscles can be contracted and released independently of controlling urination. Kegels are most frequently performed in sets. Here are a few techniques:
As always, I recommend that your mother increase her fiber and water intake and try not to "worry" about pooping too much. Older people do tend to become poop obsessed and that, in itself, can cause sudden changes to occur in one's pooping habits, consistency, and frequency.
As far as being fine one day and not the next? Well, that, too, is just par for the course in aging.
Thanks for asking Motherload!
Motherload is Certified Nurse Assistant as well as an IBS sufferer, which means she knows a lot about poop. Got a question for her? Ask it here.