Irritable Bowel Syndrome in the Elderly

Irritable Bowel Syndrome in the Elderly

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a very common condition, especially in the elderly. This is a IBScondition in which the bowel faces constipation or diarrhea due to the irregular movement and the indigestion of food. When the normal digestion rate is too slow or either too fast, this discomforts the stomach, creates inflammation, and causes lots of pain in the abdomen of the individual. Those who face gastro problems may have a possibility of having IBS, so it is advisable to consult your doctor immediately.

Signs & Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

IBS is episodic, which means that it is on and off and does not remain present constantly. The symptoms which are associated to IBS can vary as it fluctuates. Sometimes it will very painful, at other times it can be glimpses of pain in a pattern. Symptoms include the following;

  • Painful and incomplete movement in the Abdomen (bowels)
  • Gastric or Bloating
  • Severe Abdominal Pain
  • Irregular Components of Stool
  • Mucus in Stool
  • Irregular Constipation and Diarrhea

IBS happens to?

Irritable Bowel Syndrome can be found in women more as compared to men, but it can also happen to individuals through genes. IBS can also be stress related as well; stress can be a trigger for many diseases and conditions.

Diagnosing IBS in Elderly

In order to diagnose IBS in elderly, physical examinations and tests are conducted as well as the medical history of the elderly patient is also studied. Tests are conducted so that other possible conditions and diseases can be ruled out. A stool sample is collected to search for mucus, and blood tests are also performed. Because IBS can be confused for, and often is for spastic bowel and spastic colon, other tests like x-rays and endoscopy may be needed to be done as well.

Treatment of IBS

Since the episodes of IBS are not constant or do not have a regular pattern, stress management classes should be taken by the elderly, as it can be stress related. Dealing with the underlying stress can actually help reduce the pain caused by IBS as well as prevent further attacks. For this, the doctor may stop the elderly from consuming foods which are more sensitive to the stomach as compared to other foods.

A diet, low fat, high in carbs and fiber, is recommended to make sure that the patient receives the needed supplements in order to make it up for their body nutritional needs. Medications are prescribed to help with the motions and the abdominal pain as well.

What else can be done for IBS?

Sometimes the episodes are triggered by the foods which are sensitive to the stomach, while at other times it can be something else which acts like a trigger for Irritable Bowel Syndrome. In order to avoid IBS episodes, the following should be taken under consideration;

  • Regular exercising
  • Avoid smoking, even second hand smoke.
  • Reduce chocolate intake
  • Eliminate all sources of caffeine
  • Eating smaller meals to help with the process of digestion
  • Limiting or elimination intake of fatty food, oily food, spices, and fast food related meals
  • High fiber diet should be considered
  • Avoid sorbitol

The nurses at Partners in Healthcare are available to talk with you about your in-home senior care needs including how to stay healthy at home with RN managed affordable care. We are a private duty home care agency that provides pediatric to elder home care services in the Orlando area, call us at 407-788-9393.


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