Caring for a wheelchair user who has complicated digestive issues.

Posted by amandasmom @amandasmom, Tue, Feb 19 9:55pm

My 33year old daughter is physically and developmentally disabled. She is a sweet and beautiful young lady who has always struggled with poor digestion and discomfort. Through years of trying to figure out how to keep her healthy and comfortable (she is also non-verbal) we have arrived at a diet that is dairy, gluten and soy free. Eliminating gluten and soy helped considerably with the excessive bloating that she had for years. We purée everything she eats as finely as possible. We add liquids to her foods and encourage her to drink as much as possible. She seems to struggle with pretty much any protein, but is tolerating egg white protein. Eliminating high FODMAP foods seemed to help some. Constipation has always been an issue. Testing has shown that she has slow gastric emptying, and fiber is not helpful, just seems to increase discomfort. Since she can't walk,we don't have exercise as an option to help with the constipation . Does anyone have any suggestions?

Hello @amandasmom and welcome to Mayo Connect. Your daughter is so fortunate to have such a caring mom!

You know I have read of some suggestions that might help meet your daughter's nutritional needs and still be a clear liquid. There is a form of Ensure that is completely clear but yet high in protein. I will tag of our Connect members @thull. She was given this clear Ensure when she was in the hospital. From what she said it is only available online. I believe she orders it from Amazon. There are a couple of flavors that she has found are good. Perhaps she will discuss that when she joins this conversation.

Regarding exercise to help with the constipation issue. There are various Youtube videos that demonstrate exercises that can be done seated as well as massages of the abdomen that can help get some movement going. Because of your daughter's complicated health issues you could always check with her doctor first. Here are some links to those videos. The first one has abdominal exercises that can be done in a wheelchair.

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=exercises+in+wheelchair+
https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=exercises+for+seniors+in+chair
https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=stomach+massage+for+constipation

I look forward to your posting again and learning how your daughter (and you) are doing. Will you post again?

Hello @amandasmom

On another note, we also have a caregiver's support discussion group here on Connect. I know you will find caring individuals in this discussion group. They will be quite supportive.

Here is the link to that conversation, https://connect.mayoclinic.org/group/caregivers/. Scott, @IndianaScott, is the group's volunteer mentor and I'm sure that he as well as others will welcome you to the group discussions.

@hopeful33250

Hello @amandasmom and welcome to Mayo Connect. Your daughter is so fortunate to have such a caring mom!

You know I have read of some suggestions that might help meet your daughter's nutritional needs and still be a clear liquid. There is a form of Ensure that is completely clear but yet high in protein. I will tag of our Connect members @thull. She was given this clear Ensure when she was in the hospital. From what she said it is only available online. I believe she orders it from Amazon. There are a couple of flavors that she has found are good. Perhaps she will discuss that when she joins this conversation.

Regarding exercise to help with the constipation issue. There are various Youtube videos that demonstrate exercises that can be done seated as well as massages of the abdomen that can help get some movement going. Because of your daughter's complicated health issues you could always check with her doctor first. Here are some links to those videos. The first one has abdominal exercises that can be done in a wheelchair.

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=exercises+in+wheelchair+
https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=exercises+for+seniors+in+chair
https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=stomach+massage+for+constipation

I look forward to your posting again and learning how your daughter (and you) are doing. Will you post again?

Jump to this post

Good morning!
Ensure does have a clear option that I have seen in stores. What I prefer is Boost Breeze. I was able to order it on Amazon and I like the peach flavor and the berry. It has 250 calories and 9 grams of protein per 8 oz. They look like the juice boxes you buy for kids.
I like the Boost over the Ensure because the Ensure had a funny aftertaste to me.

@thull

Good morning!
Ensure does have a clear option that I have seen in stores. What I prefer is Boost Breeze. I was able to order it on Amazon and I like the peach flavor and the berry. It has 250 calories and 9 grams of protein per 8 oz. They look like the juice boxes you buy for kids.
I like the Boost over the Ensure because the Ensure had a funny aftertaste to me.

Jump to this post

Thanks for clarifying that it is Boost Breeze, @thull.

@hopeful33250

Hello @amandasmom and welcome to Mayo Connect. Your daughter is so fortunate to have such a caring mom!

You know I have read of some suggestions that might help meet your daughter's nutritional needs and still be a clear liquid. There is a form of Ensure that is completely clear but yet high in protein. I will tag of our Connect members @thull. She was given this clear Ensure when she was in the hospital. From what she said it is only available online. I believe she orders it from Amazon. There are a couple of flavors that she has found are good. Perhaps she will discuss that when she joins this conversation.

Regarding exercise to help with the constipation issue. There are various Youtube videos that demonstrate exercises that can be done seated as well as massages of the abdomen that can help get some movement going. Because of your daughter's complicated health issues you could always check with her doctor first. Here are some links to those videos. The first one has abdominal exercises that can be done in a wheelchair.

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=exercises+in+wheelchair+
https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=exercises+for+seniors+in+chair
https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=stomach+massage+for+constipation

I look forward to your posting again and learning how your daughter (and you) are doing. Will you post again?

Jump to this post

Thank you for your suggestions! The Boost Breeze unfortunately contains sugars and milk protein that Amanda's very sensitive system would not do well with. She drinks coconut milk and a little rice milk, neither of which contain much protein, thus the addition of egg white protein, which she seems to do ok with. Regarding the exercise videos, although she isn't able to do any exercises on her own, I watched a massage video that could be helpful and I plan to give the technique a try, so thank you. I will be looking for acupressure demo videos for constipation, and plan to also check out the caregiver support discussion group. I appreciate your response! : )

Hello @amandasmom,

Since delayed or slow gastric emptying is also known as gastroparesis, I thought I’d mention this discussion on Connect:
– following gastroparesis diet while managing constipation https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/following-gastroparesis-diet-while-managing-constipation/
I’m tagging @nonni1 @upartist @techmom to see if they could share any insights that might help your daughter.

Have you tried adding some bulking foods, such as oatmeal, to her diet which would help make stools softer and easier to pass? Or a bulk-forming laxative? These laxatives work by helping your stools to retain fluid. Bulk-forming laxatives also make your stools denser and softer, which means they should be easier to pass. https://www.healthline.com/health/digestive-health/bulk-forming-laxatives

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