Wednesday, September 14, 2022 - 21:25

September 14, 2022

Since aging is a constant and universal process, elderly individuals face many health problems associated with aging. One problem common in old age is constipation.  It is estimated that 40% of individuals aged 65 and older experience constipation, which increases to 74% if they live in a nursing home.

If it is not treated, it can cause many complications including fecal incontinence, anal fissures, bowel perforation, gas and bloating. For constipation management, pharmacological, non-pharmacological and surgical treatment methods can be used. Considering the cost and complications of pharmaceutical treatment, the tendency to use non-drug methods such as complementary medicine and traditional medicine has increased.

The main non-pharmacological methods generally used in constipation treatment are lifestyle changes including increasing physical activity, liquid consumption and fiber consumption. In addition, biofeedback, acupressure, reflexology and abdominal massage are other preferred methods for constipation management.

Abdominal massage is a safe, effective, non-invasive and non-pharmacological method with no side effects. Abdominal massage has an important place in nursing care and is an independent nursing intervention. It can be applied by an individual themselves, a relative or a professional. The use of appropriate aromatic oils increases the effectiveness of abdominal massage. Studies have indicated that aromatherapy massage effectively reduces constipation and associated signs and symptoms and can be applied as an independent nursing intervention. Studies on aromatherapy massage application have been conducted with various populations, various oils and various application frequencies and period. An abdominal massage with lavender and ginger essential oils (diluted to 2% in sweet almond oil) decreased colonic inertia, stool obstruction, pain due to constipation and constipation severity. Five mL of the oil blend were massaged into the abdomen for 15 minutes between 9:30am and 12:00 on 5 weekdays over the course of 4 weeks. The results indicate that abdominal massage applied with ginger and lavender oil is an effective constipation treatment for elderly individuals.

To mimic the study, add 1 drop each of ginger and lavender to 5 mL of carrier oil and massage to the lower abdomen in a clockwise motion for 15 minutes.