Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including a balanced diet rich in fibre, regular exercise, and staying hydrated, can also promote bowel health.
All About Bowel Disease in Seniors
The two most common bowel diseases that affect seniors are:
Diverticular disease: Diverticular disease refers to the presence of small pouches called diverticula that form in the lining of the colon, typically in older individuals. When these diverticula become inflamed or infected, it leads to a condition known as diverticulitis. Symptoms may include abdominal pain, bloating, changes in bowel habits, fever, and nausea. Treatment may involve antibiotics, dietary modifications (such as increasing fibre intake), pain management, and, in severe cases, surgery.
Colorectal cancer: Colorectal cancer is a type of cancer that affects the colon or rectum and typically develops from precancerous growths called polyps. It is more common in older adults. Symptoms may include changes in bowel habits, rectal bleeding, abdominal discomfort, unintended weight loss, and fatigue. Screening for colorectal cancer, such as through colonoscopies, is important for early detection and treatment. Treatment options depend on the stage of cancer and may involve surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or targeted therapies.
It's important for seniors to maintain regular check-ups with their healthcare providers and undergo recommended screenings to detect and manage bowel diseases effectively.