What is the treatment for mentally incapacitated patients with a pattern of bowel retention relative to constipation?

Updated: Jul 05, 2019
  • Author: Marc D Basson, MD, PhD, MBA, FACS; Chief Editor: BS Anand, MD  more...
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Answer

In mentally incapacitated patients with a pattern of bowel retention, resolution of this pattern requires aggressive short-term use of laxatives, stool softeners, and local care of any anal fissures. As with children, once this pattern is unlearned, laxatives should be gradually tapered off while fiber and fluid supplementation continues indefinitely. If the laxatives cannot be tapered without constipation returning, a gastroenterologic consultation is required to rule out an underlying problem.


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