My brother, age 85, is flatulent. He complains of pain because he can't release the gas. He says he is constipated and has a feeling that "he has to go". I wonder if his problem is more the feeling than gas or constipation. He has complained of this for a period of time and has visited the emergency room numerous times, early in the day. They don't do much for him; perhaps because they can't; perhaps because of an element of hypochondria. He has had numerous X-rays, as well as a colonoscopy, all of which were negative. He uses Metamucil, laxatives, gas relievers, and special foods on a sporadic basis. When I ask his medical people why he has this problem and what can be done about it, they seem puzzled, and I don't get much of an answer. The closest to an explanation was that elderly people sometimes have weak muscles. It seems to me there should be a way to relieve his misery.
With a negative colonoscopy, this would make most of the major causes of constipation unlikely - including cancer, polyps or any type of anatomical abnormality.
Further testing can be considered with a colonic marker study, defacography, or anal sphincter manometry.
However, at age 85, many GI physicians would treat empirically rather than subject your brother to more tests.
A more aggressive bowel regimen, including the use of Lactulose or Miralax, can be considered.
These options can be discussed with your personal physician.
Followup with your personal physician is essential.
This answer is not intended as and does not substitute for medical advice - the information presented is for patient education only. Please see your personal physician for further evaluation of your individual case.
Have a blooe test done for Celiac Sprue Disease. This will check to see if you have a positive antibody for Gliadin. This is exactly what happens to my daughter when she eats gluten. She is like a gas machine. You can hear it pumping in her stomach and it doesn't come out. Aloe juice is good for this but you should really try to be gluten free and see if that helps.
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