Stomach Issues in Later Life
Frequent stomach pain
What could be causing my stomach pain?
Stomach pain can be caused by a variety of medical issues, ranging from gas to more severe conditions such as appendicitis or Crohns disease. Cited on Healthline, noting the severity and area of the abdomen affected can help diagnose the cause of the pain. Medical attention should be sought out if the pain is severe or persists for more than a day.
Lower abdominal pain is most likely related to gastrointestinal diseases, ureters, ovaries or uterus, such as irritable bowel syndrome, functional dyspepsia, inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn's, ulcerative colitis) or large/small bowel obstruction, according to Cleveland Clinic on clevelandclinic.org (2020). It is important to seek medical advice if the pain persists.
Stomach pain can be caused by a variety of conditions, including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis, food poisoning, food allergies, gas, urinary tract infection, and abdominal muscle strain or pull according to WebMD (on webmd.com, n.d.). Stress and anxiety can also be a factor in causing stomach pain.
Do you have diarrhea?
Diarrhea, which is characterized by loose, watery and more-frequent bowel movements, is usually short-lived and resolves within a few days. According to Mayo Clinic, it may be present alone or be accompanied by other symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain or weight loss. It is important to note that when diarrhea lasts beyond a few days it may be a sign of an underlying medical condition.
What is Crohn's disease?
Crohn's disease is a chronic, inflammatory bowel disorder that causes abdominal pain and cramping, diarrhea, and difficulty absorbing enough nutrients from food. Sourced from Mayo Clinic, anemia due to low iron or vitamin B-12 is also a common symptom of the disease. Treatment usually involves medications to reduce inflammation and manage symptoms.
How can grief affect physical health?
Grief can cause physical symptoms such as digestive problems, changes in weight, and fatigue, according to Verywell Mind's article on Physical Symptoms of Grief. Citations include disruption to eating habits and routines, constipation, diarrhea, stomach pain, queasiness, and feeling nauseated. Research has shown that those who have experienced a loss are more likely to be physically inactive and report increased levels of fatigue.
Do you have difficulty having regular bowel movements?
Constipation is a common digestive issue that may include symptoms such as persistent abdominal pain, pain in the lower back, a feeling that gas is trapped, vomiting, fever, and unexplained weight loss. As mentioned in Healthline, a sudden change in bowel movements may also be a sign of constipation. To relieve constipation, it is important to ensure that you are consuming enough dietary fiber and water.
Constipation is a condition characterised by passing fewer than three stools a week, having lumpy or hard stools, straining to have bowel movements, feeling as though there's a blockage in your rectum that prevents bowel movements, and feeling as though you can't completely empty the stool from your rectum, according to Mayo Clinic. It is important to seek medical advice if symptoms of constipation persist for more than a few weeks.
What foods can help treat constipation?
Eating fruits with seeds, such as strawberries, and bran cereal, as well as drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day, can help to treat constipation. An info from the Cleveland Clinic, people with constipation should aim to eat between 18 and 30 grams of fiber every day. Adding bran cereal to other foods such as soup and yogurt can also help.
Can grief cause physical symptoms?
Grief can cause physical symptoms, such as changes in digestive habits, stomach pain, constipation, and weight changes, according to Verywell Mind. These symptoms may occur in the days, weeks, and months following the death of a loved one. Medical attention is recommended if the symptoms persist or worsen.
What treatments are available for nausea and vomiting?
Nausea and vomiting are common digestive disorders, caused by a range of illnesses such as brain tumors, ulcers, cancer, bulimia, gastroparesis, diabetes or ingestion of certain substances. Attributed to WebMD (Dec 6, 2022), these conditions can be treated with medications, dietary changes and lifestyle modifications. Some other treatments such as acupuncture and herbal remedies may be helpful in relieving symptoms.
What are the symptoms of indigestion?
Indigestion is a condition caused by pain or discomfort in the upper abdomen or burning pain behind the breastbone and is often accompanied by feeling full or bloated, feeling sick and belching. These symptoms usually appear soon after eating or drinking, as reported by NHS inform in 2021. It is important to get medical help if these symptoms persist or worsen.
Do you have symptoms of gastritis?
Gastritis is a condition that causes inflammation of the lining of the stomach, which can lead to pain, nausea, and vomiting. Mayo Clinic states that the signs and symptoms of gastritis include gnawing or burning pain or ache in the upper abdomen that can be worsened or relieved with eating, nausea, and vomiting. Long-term gastritis can lead to bleeding in the digestive tract, ulcers, and an increased risk of stomach cancer.
What causes indigestion?
Indigestion is a common digestive disorder characterized by symptoms such as burning in the stomach or upper abdomen, abdominal pain, bloating, belching, gas, nausea and vomiting, and an acidic taste. Mentioned in WebMD (2022), indigestion can be caused by various factors including eating too much or too quickly, eating greasy or spicy food, stress or anxiety, and consuming alcohol or caffeine. Certain medical conditions such as gastritis, peptic ulcer disease, and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can also cause indigestion.
What factors can affect digestive health in older adults?
Older adults should be aware of six factors that can affect their digestive health as they age, according to the University of Michigan Health Blog. These include decreased stomach acid, changes in the bacteria in the gut, slowed digestion, decreased physical activity, side effects from medications, and a greater risk of certain conditions such as diverticulitis and gallstones.
Do you suffer from IBS?
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a chronic gastrointestinal disorder that causes symptoms such as stomach cramps, bloating, diarrhoea and constipation. As indicated by the NHS, IBS is a lifelong problem that can be very frustrating to live with. It is important to remember to seek medical advice if these symptoms persist or worsen. Lifestyle changes such as increasing dietary fibre and exercising may also help to improve symptoms.
What causes bloating?
Bloating can be caused by a number of different conditions such as SIBO, gastroparesis, and gynecological problems. Cited on Johns Hopkins Medicine, these conditions can cause abdominal discomfort, nausea, and even bowel blockage. Other potential causes of bloating include eating too much fiber, drinking carbonated beverages, and eating gas-producing foods.
Bloating can be an indication of serious underlying conditions such as pancreatic or stomach cancer, which should not be ignored. Sourced from Everyday Health, these conditions typically present with vague symptoms such as bloating, indigestion, and a feeling of fullness in the upper abdomen. It is important to be aware of any changes in your body and seek medical attention if symptoms persist.
What are common symptoms of GERD?
GERD is a digestive disorder that causes burning sensations in the chest, usually after eating, which can be worse at night or when lying down. Mayo Clinic (on mayoclinic.org, 2023) reports that common symptoms of GERD also include backwash of food or sour liquid, upper abdominal or chest pain, dysphagia, and a sensation of a lump in the throat. Treatment for GERD includes lifestyle changes, medications, and sometimes surgery.
What causes acid reflux disease?
Acid Reflux Disease is caused by a stomach abnormality called a hiatal hernia, which occurs when the upper part of the stomach and LES move above the diaphragm. As reported by WebMD, this condition can be treated with lifestyle changes, medications, and even surgery if necessary. Research suggests that dietary factors and stress may contribute to Acid Reflux Disease.
Do you experience symptoms of acid reflux?
Acid reflux is a common and serious condition that can cause a variety of symptoms, such as nausea, difficulty swallowing, pain in the chest, hoarse voice and chronic cough. According to Healthline, adults with GERD may also experience other symptoms.
Loss of appetite
What are some healthy foods to eat to gain weight?
Gaining weight in later life can be achieved by adding more calories from healthier foods to your diet such as peanut butter on toast, eggs on toast, soups with pulses, pasta or meats, cottage/shepherd's pie, beans on toast with cheese sprinkled on top, milky drinks as a bedtime snack and unsalted nuts. Attributed to the NHS, these changes can help you reach a healthy weight in later life. Adding grated cheese to savoury dishes can also increase the calorie intake.
What causes indigestion?
Indigestion is caused by overeating, eating too quickly, consuming fatty or greasy foods, consuming too much caffeine, alcohol, or carbonated beverages, smoking, anxiety, and certain medications according to Mayo Clinic. Dietary and lifestyle changes can help reduce indigestion symptoms.
What causes the loss of muscle mass after age 50?
The loss of muscle mass after the age of 50 due to sarcopenia is linked to a gradual decline in appetite, according to BBC Future. This is caused by decreased physical activity, consuming too few calories and protein, and hormonal changes. Research has shown that people aged 50-60 should consume more protein than younger adults to maintain muscle mass.
What food allergies can cause stomach cramps?
Stomach cramps can be caused by food allergies, and can be treated by avoiding the allergen, taking an antihistamine, and using a hot or cold compress. According to WebMD, fish, eggs, milk, and peanuts are common allergens that can cause stomach cramps. It is important to watch for signs of anaphylaxis, which is a dangerous allergic reaction that can cause a sudden drop in blood pressure and other symptoms.
What causes sudden severe abdominal pain?
Sudden severe abdominal pain can be caused by serious conditions such as appendicitis, a bleeding or perforated stomach ulcer, acute cholecystitis or kidney stones, according to NHS inform (nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/stomach-liver-and-gastrointestinal-tract/stomach-ache-and-abdominal-pain, 2021). In some cases, surgery may be required to treat the condition.
Do you suffer from IBS?
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a chronic condition that affects the stomach and intestines, causing cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea or constipation, or both. As mentioned in Mayo Clinic, IBS is a long-term disorder that needs to be managed over time. In addition, only a small percentage of people with IBS experience severe symptoms.
What foods can lead to heartburn?
Heartburn is more likely to occur as you age due to slower digestion and lingering food in the stomach. As reported by SELF, this is especially true with fatty, fried foods. Research has found that the prevalence of heartburn increases with age.
What causes heartburn?
Heartburn is a common condition that can be managed with lifestyle changes and over-the-counter medications. As stated by Mayo Clinic, the burning pain is often located in the chest just behind the breastbone and is often worse after eating, in the evening, or when lying down or bending over. Studies have shown that obesity, eating large meals, alcohol consumption and certain medications can increase the risk of developing heartburn.
Heartburn that won't go away is usually caused by GERD, hiatal hernia, Barrett's esophagus, or esophageal cancer, according to Healthline (on healthline.com, 2019). In addition, it is important to take steps to reduce acid reflux and heartburn to prevent further damage to the esophagus.
- Healthline : Abdominal (Stomach) Pain, Causes, a Doctor - Healthline.
- Mayoclinic : Diarrhea, Symptoms, causes, Mayo Clinic.
- Healthline : Constipation, Symptoms, Causes, Relief, - Healthline.
- Verywellmind : Physical Symptoms, Grief, Common Symptoms.
- Mayoclinic : Gastritis, Symptoms, causes, Mayo Clinic.