Constipation is one of the top ten problems faced by the elderly population. With age, typically, the amount of food consumed reduces. This leads to a corresponding decrease in the total amount of roughage consumed leading to constipation. It may therefore become necessary to take laxatives and other supplements, or make dietary changes to reduce constipation.
A common used herb called senna (Cassia acutifolia) induces bowel movements quickly, sometimes violently, by irritating the bowel, and can cause cramps and diarrhea. Dependance on such type of laxatives is not safe. Ayurvedic medicine Triphala , among other things, is a good colon cleanser. But make sure that the source is reputable.
Bulk producing laxatives such as flakes of psyllium husk ( isabgol ) are one of the safest. Start with one rounded tablespoon of the powder stirred well into a glass of water. Drink it down and follow with another full glass of water. If you have never taken psyllium before, start with half the dose and take before going to bed at night. Some people may experience gas during the first few days. Increase the dose gradually. Alternately, divide the dose into 2 or 3 smaller portions throughout the day. Make sure you drink plenty of water.
To introduce fiber in the natural diet, add food groups that are rich in fiber, such as pulses with skin, and peas, vegetables such as beans, and fruits such as apples with skin. Add high-fiber foods gradually and increase the amount slowly, as too much fiber at once may produce discomfort. Finally, eat a variety of fiber-rich foods.