One of the most common things we see, certainly as people are getting into their 60s and 70s, may be a change in bowel habits, predominantly more constipation. Older people are five times more likely to complain about the symptom than younger people, possibly because of an undue concern about their bowel movement.
What Causes Constipation?
Doctors do not always know what causes constipation. It may be a poor diet, not getting enough exercise, or using laxatives too often. Reasons for constipation include:
- Diet: Low fiber or high fat diet cause constipation.
- Many older people don’t drink enough water and other fluids. Water and other liquids help people stay regular.
- Using too many laxatives and enemas: Our body develops a habit of laxatives and as a result may forget how to work on its own. Heavy use of laxatives can cause diarrhea.
- Lack of exercise. Inactivity or long periods in bed due to illness or following surgery may cause constipation.
- Holding back bowel movements. Ignoring an urge to have a bowel movement can lead to constipation.
- Medical conditions. Some problems, like stroke, diabetes, or a blockage in the intestines, can cause constipation. These disorders may affect the muscles or nerves used for normal bowel movements. A doctor can test to see if the problem is medical. Medical problems can often be treated. Another condition related to constipation is called irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). IBS is a common disorder of the intestines that involves pain, bloating, and constipation or diarrhea.
- Medications. Some medicines can lead to constipation.
Just like any other health problem, prevention is the best medicine when it comes to keeping your digestion running smoothly. Here are a few tips that can help you protect your digestive health and your overall well-being:
- Check your meds: Talk with your doctor to see if your medications could be causing any digestive symptoms.
- Stay active. Exercising at least 30 minutes, 5 days week can help prevent many age-related health problems. It will also help keep you regular and decrease the risk for colon cancer.
- Eat more fiber. Foods high in fiber, including fruits and vegetable, whole grains, and beans also tend to be high in nutrients and low in fat. High-fiber foods can help prevent constipation.
- Drink plenty of fluids. 4 liters of water every day is recommended by doctors generally.
- Manage your weight. Maintaining a healthy weight can decrease the risk of many health problems and hence reduce medications that may cause constipation.
- Get regular health screenings. In old age, it is specifically more important to visit the doctor regularly and discussing about the health related problems.
For more information on constipation visit our website Old Age Solutions