Changes in bowel movements

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The symptoms of constipation are hard, dry stools, with difficult, painful evacuation. Reduced mobility and a low fluid intake are key risk factors for constipation. Taking certain medication may also aid constipation.

  • Monitor bowel movements
  • Increase the intake of fibre: beans, whole-wheat bread, fruit, vegetables
  • Increase the intake of liquids
  • Facilitate access to the toilet
  • Respond quickly when the person expresses the need to go to the toilet – do not delay it
  • As far as possible, carry out some form of physical exercise, and if the person cannot move, opt for passive exercise and give abdominal massages using a clockwise motion

Important: in case of constipation and of diarrhoea, it is important to drink lots of liquid.

In case of constipation and of diarrhoea, it is important to drink lots of liquid.


Diarrhoea is the evacuation of overly liquid faeces, sometimes accompanied by abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting. The advice of a professional should be sought if the diarrhoea contains any blood, and if the diarrhoea lasts for more than a week and/or is accompanied by abdominal pain, fever or vomiting that prevents the intake of liquids.

In the event of diarrhoea:

  • Ensure good hygiene, paying particular attention to the perineum area, as liquid faeces are an irritant
  • A soft diet is recommended
  • Add astringent foods into the diet: rice, carrot, apple, bananas, raw tomato and/or cooked fish cooked (not in broth)
  • Avoid dehydration by providing liquids: infusions, fresh juices, water. Give frequently in small amounts
  • Avoid liquids that are either very hot or very cold, as they stimulate the gut
  • Identify why the person is suffering from faecal and urinary incontinence: medication, infections or psychological disorders
  • Establish routines to control and normalise the situation as far as possible
  • Be vigilant with hygiene to prevent infections and lesions
  • Use any aid to minimise the consequences of the incontinence. Seek professional help – the nurse will assist you


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