“The first thing to understand is that what goes in is supposed to come out- albeit in a very different form and with some nutrients missing. We eat and drink to sustain our bodies and after the digestive system extracts the necessary ingredients from our ingestion, the wastes are excreted as liquids in urine and solids in feces.”~ Medical University of South Carolina
The above quote is a perfect segway into a conversation about bowel movements and aging. Although it would be nice for bowel movements to treat us with the same consistency and gentleness as they did in our younger years, they do not agree with that sentiment and often show our aging bodies no mercy.
Most of the time talking about bowel movements is considered less than lady-like and crass in most settings but today, in this context, I think mom and grandma will approve.
Aging: Bowel Movement’s Kryptonite
- “Although constipation is common in all age groups, people over age 65 suffer from it the most. Constipation is a problem for less than 2 percent of people who aren’t elderly, but the rate is considerably higher in people over age 65.”~ Health Day
- “As we age, we tend to be more susceptible to constipation and diarrhea, in part because we may be exercising less, taking in less food, eating a diet with less fiber, or taking certain medications that could either clog you up or speed things along too quickly.”~ Women’s Health
- “This [constipation] happens due to a number of factors related to age. These include: lack of muscle tone in the bowel and abdominal muscles, slowed peristalsis (involuntary contraction of the intestinal muscles), lack of exercise, immobility (sedentary lifestyle or travel), inadequate fluid intake, too many dairy products, lack of dietary fiber (fruits and vegetables), and many medicines.”~ Medical University of South Carolina
There’s a reason why those with an AARP card are expected to have prunes in their fridge. For those already wielding their AARP card with pride, they know what I’m about to say: Pooping ain’t always easy, especially as we age.
Win the Battle of the Bowel
Healthline suggests the following foods to relieve constipation:
- Prunes (surprise… surprise…)
- Citrus Fruits (oranges, grapefruit, mandarins, etc.)
- Spinach and Other Greens
- Jerusalem Artichoke and Chicory
Medical News Today adds water, yogurt, beans, lentils, chickpeas, peas, clear soups, wheat bran, broccoli, olive and flaxseed oils, and sauerkraut to the above list. Research also supports the use of supplements, like Olive Leaf Extract (OLE), to aid in the relief of constipation, which, in the case of OLE, doubles as an immune system booster.
Life is simply too short to spend an absorbent amount of time either on the porcelain throne of wonder, also known as the commode or ‘dad’s escape room,’ or thinking about it. Do not simply accept bathroom difficulties as a way of life. Consider adopting one or more of the proven constipation whistleblowers, like prunes, Olive Leaf Extract, or exercise. After all, you’re the underdog at the Battle of the Bowel, and everyone loves to see an underdog win.
Author: Evelyn Lindell
Certified Health & Wellness Coach