Stomach Trouble? 5 Steps Help Prevent Digestive Problems as You Age
Medications, inactivity, poor diet may all play a role
By Digestion Health Team at the Cleveland Clinic, June 13, 2017
“The ‘tummy aches’ you may have had as a child can evolve into a long list of digestive problems as you age. They’re annoying, but the good news is that things like acid reflux and constipation are irritations that you can treat. Often, simple lifestyle changes will do the trick.
‘Many older adults fixate on their gastrointestinal problems,’ says gastroenterologist Maged Rizk, MD. ‘The gastrointestinal tract ages with the rest of us. I tell patients not to get too upset by it.’
Older adults and digestive ailments
Medicine, inactivity and even gravity all can take their toll and contribute to digestive troubles as you get older, Dr. Rizk says.
Here, according to Dr. Rizk, are the main culprits and the symptoms they cause:
- Multiple medications — These may cause a variety of gastrointestinal issues, including constipation, diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea and bleeding ulcers.
- Inactivity and dehydration — These issues are more common as you age and they can make constipation worse.
- Gravity — Over time the diaphragm can sink, causing decreased support where the esophagus joins the stomach (a hiatal hernia). And it typically causes heartburn and reflux. Medication often helps, but surgery is sometimes needed.
- A weakened sphincter muscle, sedentary lifestyle and chronic constipation — These all may contribute to cause hemorrhoids, which are swollen veins in the lower gastrointestinal tract. Hemorrhoids are common in older adults.”
Note: I never thought I would be putting a picture of a toilet on this webpage. 🙂