What is the difference between constipation in a younger person and constipation in the elderly? Constipation always involves heat. In a younger person, it is common for constipation to manifest from heat–usually from food stagnation. Constipation in the elderly is a little different.
There are a lot of changes that happen in the body as we begin to age. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, a pattern known as “Yin and Blood Deficiency” begins to manifest at the age of 40 and then continually progresses over the years. Yin and blood relate to the viscous fluids in the body. Many common aging symptoms are due to this normal progression of yin and blood deficiency. Some of these symptoms include:
- Loss of teeth
- Loss of height
- Vaginal dryness
- Premature ejaculation
- Dry skin
- Loss of vision
- Poor digestion
As the fluid becomes deficient, the body heats up faster. We call this a “deficiency heat.” For constipation in the elderly there are two factors playing into this problem:
#1: There are not enough fluids to push the stool through the intestines which results in slower digestion and constipation.
#2: Heat accumulates in the intestines because digestion is so slow.
We have two really great formulas to help with this condition. The first one is to be used when the patient is constipated:
This formula relieves intestinal dryness and clears heat at the same time. It has a gentle laxative effect. If your patient takes a regular over-the-counter laxative he/she is compounding the problem. An over-the-counter laxative will flush a lot of fluid out of the system while moving the bowels. The patient then becomes more deficient in fluid and they become stuck in a vicious cycle. Run Chang Pian solves the underlying issue of constipation.
Once your patient has their constipation under control, a very good daily herbal formula is Liu Wei Di Huang Pian.
This formula nourishes the fluids in the body on a daily basis. It also addresses a huge list of aging symptoms such as—low back pain, sore knees, teeth problems, dry eyes, nocturnal emissions, ringing in the ears, premature loss of hair, lack of sexual fluids, premature ejaculation, etc.
It is important to keep both of these formulas on your shelf. Helping an elderly patient to overcome his/her constipation by treating the root of the problem will improve his/her health and make him/her happy. Can you image how happy your patient will be when you help to alleviate a huge list of other age-related symptoms because you provided the correct herbal treatment for his/her constipation?
Have a great week everyone!
Kimberly Thompson, L.Ac.
Acupuncture Research Analyst
Miridia Technology Inc.