Aging & Your Digestive System

What to expect with your digestive system

As we grow older, we can experience age-related changes to our body. One change is structural changes in the large intestine. This can result in constipation in older adults. Other factors that can affect the digestive system and cause constipation are a decrease or lack of exercise, not drinking enough fluids and a low-fiber diet. Medications, such as diuretics and iron supplements, and certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, also might contribute to constipation.

What you can do to prevent constipation

  • Eat a healthy diet. Make sure your diet includes high-fiber foods, such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Limit high-fat meats, dairy products and sweets, which might cause constipation.
  • Drink plenty of water and other fluids
  • Include physical activity in your daily routine. Regular physical activity can help prevent constipation.
  • Don’t ignore the urge to have a bowel movement. Holding in a bowel movement for too long can cause constipation.

If you experience frequent constipation symptoms, or it seems to last for a long time, talk with your doctor.

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