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Ageing: What to expect

Everybody ages and with age, comes new opportunities and challenges. We all know that as we get older, we may have more gray hairs and wrinkles, but did you know that getting older can also affect your digestive health ? Constipation increases as people age, especially after the age of 65.  

Contributing factors of constipation in elderly patients may include inactivity, inappropriate diet, certain medications, and disorders which affect the nerves responsible for stimulating the bowel muscles. 

Your body is changing

As we get older, the time it takes to get relief increases as the bowel needs more time to move food through the digestive system, which can trigger constipation.

Taking medication

Medication usage is common amongst seniors and some of these medications can cause constipation as a side effect. If you’re experiencing constipation due to your medication, please talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

You should never change or stop prescribed medications without talking it through with a healthcare professional first.

New lifestyle habits

“Aging” and “regular exercise routine” don’t often go hand in hand. As we get older, we tend to exercise less and our dietary habits change. These changes can have an impact on our digestive system, leading to occasional constipation.

What happens to your body as you age ?

There are a number of changes that are to be expected as you continue aging. As you get older, you can expect changes to your cardiovascular system, your bones, joints, muscles, bladder and to your digestive system. Age-related structural changes in the large intestine can also contribute to the higher rate of constipation in the elderly. To help prevent constipation, there are a few things you can do: 

Tips and tricks to get relief

We have listed a series of simple measures you can consider and try at any stage of your life in order to help prevent occasional constipation:

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Stay informed

Occasional constipation is a common condition with a wide range of possible causes. We know how unpredictable and frustrating constipation can be, so we are here to help identify the possible causes and teach you how to address them.

    • Gandell D., et al. Treatment of constipation in older people. CMAJ. 2013 May 14;185(8):663-70.
    • Müller-Lissner SA., et al. Myths and misconceptions about chronic constipation. Am J Gastroenterol. 2005 Jan;100(1):232-42.
    • De Giorgio R., et al. Chronic constipation in the elderly: a primer for the gastroenterologist. BMC Gastroenterol. 2015 Oct 14; 15:130
    • Mayo Clinic. Aging: What to expect. November 19th, 2020. Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/healthy-aging/in-depth/aging/art-20046070
    • Cleveland Clinic. Constipation: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment & Prevention. July 11th, 2019. Available at: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/4059-constipation
    • Canadian Digestive Health Foundation. Understanding the Prevalence and Impact of Constipation in Canada A Special Report from the CDHF. February 2014