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The reason your stomach hurts more with age is revealed

  • 2 Min To Read
  • 8 months ago

Digestive issues are a common problem that many Americans face, with approximately 60 to 70 million people being affected by digestive diseases. These issues can manifest in symptoms such as heartburn, bloating, abdominal pain, and changes in bowel habits. Understanding the causes of these issues can be challenging, as they are often a result of a combination of aging and lifestyle-related factors.

As we age, our gastrointestinal tract can start to experience glitches, leading to changes in how our digestive organs function. This can result in a sluggish digestion process and erratic communication signals between organs. For example, the esophagus may experience ineffective or uncoordinated movement, leading to higher rates of esophageal reflux. Additionally, the stomach may have slower motility, causing food to linger and trigger indigestion. The stomach lining can also become thinner with age, making it more susceptible to injury and inflammation.

Moving through the digestive system, slower motility in the small bowel can result in bacterial overgrowth, leading to bloating and diarrhea. In the colon, decreased motility can cause constipation and diverticulosis. Chronic health conditions that often accompany aging, such as arthritis and cardiovascular diseases, can further exacerbate gut motility issues. Medications taken for these conditions can also cause gastrointestinal side effects, including nausea, constipation, and ulcers.

To optimize digestion as we age, experts recommend several strategies. Chewing food thoroughly can aid digestion by allowing salivary enzymes to begin breaking down starch and fat in the mouth. Stimulating saliva production, which tends to decrease with age, can be achieved through the use of saliva substitutes or sipping water between bites. Eating a diet that is low in processed foods and high in plant-based diversity can promote a healthy gut microbiome and increase fiber intake, which aids in proper bowel movements. Staying hydrated is crucial for avoiding constipation, especially when increasing fiber intake. Regular exercise can stimulate gastrointestinal motility, while getting enough quality sleep is important for maintaining gut barrier and immunity. Finally, properly managing medications, including taking them as prescribed and informing your doctor of any side effects, is essential for minimizing digestive issues.

If digestive issues persist or are accompanied by concerning symptoms such as trouble swallowing, abdominal pain, weight loss, or blood in the stool, it is important to consult a gastroenterologist for further evaluation and potential testing or treatment.

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