Irritable bowel syndrome is a common condition among seniors. Although it is normally not a constant issue, it usually occurs during stress. Bloating, gas, abdominal pain, mucus in the stool, and frequent changes in stool consistency are common symptoms. Potomac home care professionals some ways you and your loved one can follow to manage irritable bowel syndrome or IBS.
1. Dietary Modifications
Diet plays a significant role in managing IBS symptoms. Seniors with IBS should consider the following dietary modifications:
- High-Fiber Diet
Include plenty of high-fiber foods in your diet, such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes. Fiber can help regulate bowel movements and ease both constipation and diarrhea.
- Low-FODMAP Diet
FODMAPs (Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols) are certain types of carbohydrates that can trigger IBS symptoms. Working with a registered dietitian to identify and manage FODMAPs in your diet can be highly beneficial.
- Small, Frequent Meals
Rather than consuming large meals, consider eating smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day. This can help reduce the strain on the digestive system and alleviate symptoms.
Proper hydration is crucial for digestive health. Ensure you drink an adequate amount of water daily to prevent dehydration, which can exacerbate IBS symptoms.
Stress can be a major factor for IBS. Find ways to help your loved one manage stress and relax. If your loved one is stressing about being unable to accomplish daily tasks, you can ask a trusted friend or family member for help. If something else makes your loved one stressed, he or she should consult a professional to learn how to combat stress. Trying relaxing practices like meditation and yoga can also help in reducing stress.
3. Get Some Exercise
If your loved one is mobile, ensure he or she gets 30 minutes of exercise daily. Check with a doctor before your loved one starts a new workout routine. Simple, a 30-minute walk in a local park or through the neighborhood can help. Swimming can also help seniors ease joint problems and limited mobility. Regular exercise can also enhance digestive system functions, keep stress at bay, and boost overall mental and physical well-being.
4. Quit Smoking and Caffeine Intake
Smoking can lead to innumerable health problems. Doctors also believe secondhand smoke can seriously irritate the digestive system. Therefore, encourage your loved one to quit smoking and avoid going to places where he or she can be exposed to secondhand smoke. Also, make sure to watch your loved one’s caffeine intake. Replace sodas with water, and ensure your loved one drinks enough water every day.
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that can help regulate the digestive system. Discuss with your healthcare provider whether a probiotic supplement might be appropriate for managing your IBS symptoms. Probiotics can be especially useful for seniors with altered gut flora due to age or previous health conditions.
In some cases, healthcare providers may recommend medications to manage IBS symptoms. These may include antispasmodic medications to relieve abdominal cramping, anti-diarrheal medications, or medications to regulate bowel movements. Seniors should follow their healthcare provider’s guidance regarding medication use.
7. Consult a Doctor
Lifestyle changes aren’t enough, in some cases, to stave off certain health conditions. The doctor may suggest supplements or prescribe medications to help ease your loved one’s IBS. Fiber supplements, laxatives, and probiotics can be useful in managing IBS symptoms. Medication can help in preventing cramps and diarrhea. Some doctors may also prescribe medication to reduce depression and anxiety if these emotions cause IBS.
8. Keep a Symptom Journal
Seniors with IBS may find it helpful to keep a symptom journal. Recording daily symptoms, dietary choices, stress levels, and other relevant factors can provide valuable insights into symptom triggers and patterns. This information can assist healthcare providers in tailoring a more effective treatment plan.
If your loved one lives alone, he or she may need additional help to manage health conditions like IBS. If you need a break from your caregiving duties or your loved one needs help with daily chores, consider hiring professional home care Potomac Families should opt for a reputable senior in-home care provider in their locality to assist their loved ones while aging in the comfort of their home.