Date of Award

Spring 2010

Document Type

Thesis

Department

Nursing

Abstract

Constipation is a problem that affects more than 33 million adults in the United States and contributes to over 92,000 hospitalizations every year. A quarter of the United States’ elderly population suffers from constipation. Constipation has a number of causes which can be attributed to physical factors, medications diseases and disorders, and decreased cognition. Treatment options include increased fiber and fluid intake, physical activity, and laxatives. The purpose of this study was to determine if increasing daily dietary fiber would decrease constipation. A seven week pilot study was completed that included two women over 65 years of age who consumed an additional 7.5 grams of dietary fiber per day in the form of Pajala porridge. Outcomes measures included daily documentation of laxative use, the number and consistency of bowel movements, and comfort level. A student’s t-test was used to analyze the results. Bowel movement frequency and stool consistency were shown to be statistically impacted by the intervention of Pajala porridge. Further research needs to be done on bowel programs with increased dietary fiber using a larger sample size.

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