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Older people should keep a symptom diary if they have digestive problems


Record complaints: Keep a diary of symptoms if you have digestive problems in old age
Almost every person experiences symptoms like stomach pressure or heartburn from time to time. However, digestive problems are significantly more common among seniors. They often become constant companions and limit well-being. To find the cause of the discomfort, logging the symptoms can help.

Unusual digestive problems in old age
Abdominal pain, flatulence, feeling of fullness: almost everyone suffers from indigestion from time to time. Right now, around the festive season, too much fat, sugar and alcohol often irritate the stomach excessively. It is often worse in old age, when many people experience unusual digestive problems. If this is the case, symptoms should best be logged.

Body produces less saliva and stomach acid
Health problems arise with age, including gastrointestinal complaints. This also has to do with the fact that seniors do not grind the food sufficiently before it ends up in the stomach due to chewing and swallowing difficulties.

In addition, the body produces less saliva and stomach acid in old age and the muscles of the stomach and intestines lose strength. The protective function of the gastric mucosa decreases.

Sagging muscles in the colon
"As a result, the food is no longer crushed so well and stays longer in the stomach and intestines, where it irritates the sensitive stomach nerves and can, for example, also lead to heartburn, stomach pain or a feeling of fullness", writes the German Senior League in a message.

Due to the slack muscles in the large intestine, constipation can also occur. In addition, medication or psychological stress put an additional strain on the stomach in many older people.

Keep a symptom diary in case of complaints
The senior league advises to see a doctor if such complaints occur more frequently. It would be ideal if those affected had previously kept a so-called symptom diary, which can give the doctor information on organic or functional disorders.

If there are no serious illnesses behind the indigestion, simple home remedies can help in many cases. Spices such as caraway seeds, fennel and ginger are well-tried home remedies for stomach pain and flatulence.

To stimulate digestion, it is advisable to go for walks. Teas and a hot water bottle can also help. And a beneficial abdominal massage can alleviate many digestive problems. (ad)

Author and source information


Video: Irritable bowel syndrome: Mayo Clinic Radio (August 2020).