Aging leads to many bodily changes and puts you at a higher risk of health conditions. It slows down the functions of your body, including the digestive system.
The link between digestive disorders and aging is a strong one. As we age, the muscles in our digestive tract get inflexible, inefficient and weaker. They stop working as well, as they once did. As a result, we become prone to various diseases.
Here are some common digestive tract problems older adults suffer.
Constipation is a very common condition that senior citizens face. Its symptoms include painful and infrequent bowel movements. There are many causes of constipation in aging adults.
According to a study published by the National Institute of Health, the prevalence of constipation in women of age 65 is 26%, while it stands at about 16% in men. These statistics change with increasing age and differences in lifestyle.
Older adults usually take medication for various health conditions. Some of these medicines may trigger constipation. It’s a good idea to try and identify which medicines might be triggering the condition and consult your doctor about altering the prescription.
Taking the more natural and organic route, including fiber in your diet also helps prevent constipation. Another thing that eases the symptoms is consuming digestive enzyme supplements regularly, which improve digestion.
According to a study published in the NEJM Journal Watch, the condition of gastroesophageal junction declines with age; and it causes severe GERD. The muscular ring at the bottom of the esophagus weakens, allowing the stomach acids to flow upward and causing heartburn.
For GERD, over-eating and eating right before bed is a common trigger for people of all ages.
Those who suffer from GERD should eat small amounts of food, spanned over six to seven meals a day instead of eating three big meals. In addition, adding digestive enzyme supplements to your diet can also prevent GERD. These enzymes improve the condition of the digestive system, increasing the rate of digestion in older people.
IBS impacts the functioning of the large intestine. It causes discomfort in the abdomen and irregularity in bowel movements. According to National Institutes of Health, IBS is the most common digestive disorder among the elderly.
The management of IBS in older adults is similar to younger people. Your main focus should be on reducing stress, since it’s the main cause of the condition. Regulate your diet according to your trigger foods and incorporate exercise in your daily routine.
Lastly and most importantly, add digestive enzyme supplements to your diet. Digestive enzymes and supplements balance the microbiomes in your gut and reduce the risk and symptoms of IBS.
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