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Aging and Changing Bowel Health

  • 5 min read

As we age our bodily functions slow down, including our digestive system especially for those over the age of 65. If you aren't thinking or talking about your poop, you should be.

Pooping is natural as we’ve been doing it since we were babies and we are good at it! What your poop looks like and its color are clues into our health. Keep reading to find out more about aging and digestive health. 

What is a Healthy Bowel Movement?

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Having a healthy bowel movement is important for clearing out waste from the body. Our digestive system is awesome. It absorbs nutrients and leaves out the stuff that the body doesn’t need in turn becoming stool. 

When we speak of bowel health,it means you poop enough that you don’t feel pain, or bloated or you have to strain hard to get the job done. Regular bowel movements are strong signs of having a healthy digestive tract, and there are no rules about how many times a day you should poop as some people go three times every day to three times a week. 

What is Considered an Abnormal Poop?

Look at what you made in the toilet, seriously. A sudden change in bowel movements doesn’t automatically mean something is wrong but it’s always a good idea to look at your poop and look for signs like the usual shape or color. 

Watch out for signs like:

  • Pooping more than three times a day.
  • Pooping less than three times a week.  
  • Painful and overstraining when going number two.
  • Poop of a different color (red, black, green, yellow, or white).
  • Greasy stools.
  • Blood in the stool.
  • Floating poop.

Changes in Bowels that Come With Age

You will notice that our body may not work as efficiently or as fast as it used to (hello slower metabolism!). When it comes to our digestive system, the muscles in it become stiffer, weaker, and less efficient while the tissues are also more likely to become damaged because new cells are not regenerating as quickly as before.

Because of this, problems in the digestive tract may be experienced like: Diarrhea, Constipation, Hemorrhoids, Gas, Stomach pain, Peptic ulcers, Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Diverticulitis, Fecal incontinence, and even GERD or Gastroesophageal reflux disease.

Other Causes of Bowel Habit Changes

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Can’t poop the way you used to? There may be other factors at play like:

Travel. Some people have a habit of pooping in the morning or at a certain time of the day. Travel disrupts your routine and some even experience travel constipation, especially when you are in a new environment.  The body will adjust to the environment you are in, it just may take time.

Diet. What you eat also affects your pooping behavior. For instance, food and drinks like alcohol, caffeinated drinks, and red meat, as well as eating a lot of fried and processed foods can cause constipation. Meanwhile, foods rich in fiber help move food through the digestive tract, promoting regularity in pooping.

Stress. Do you know that the gut and brain talk? It's called the mind-body connection. When we have negative thoughts, we can feel pain in the stomach. This is because whenever we feel stressed, hormones and neurotransmitters are released in our body and can affect the balance of bacteria in our gut, causing gastrointestinal discomfort. 

Medication. If you are on any medications itcould affect bowel movements. Antacids, antidepressants, antihypertensives, bile acid sequestrants, calcium channel blockers, and iron supplements may be changing up your number twos.

It’s always to recommended to read the medicine’s packaging and ingredients as one of its side effects could include constipation or diarrhea. 

Illness and Health Conditions. There are other important factors that also need to be considered in changes in bowel movement and these are if you have an existing illness or health condition. Examples of these health conditions are:

  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) IBS is a common disorder that affects the stomach and intestines. It is also a long-term condition that you experience all sorts of digestive issues from diarrhea and bloating to constipation and abdominal pain.
  • Thyroid problems. The gut and thyroid are related. When the thyroid gland gets imbalanced, it may lead to digestive problems like bloating, diarrhea, constipation, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
  • Crohn’s Disease. This is a type of inflammatory bowel disease that causes inflammation of the tissues in the digestive tract. Crohn’s disease leads to pain in the abdominal area, severe diarrhea, fatigue, malnutrition, and weight loss.
  • Colon Cancer. Colon cancer or colorectal cancer is when cells in the colon or rectum grow abnormally. It may not cause symptoms right away, but if it does, it may cause the following symptoms:  diarrhea, constipation, or narrowing of the stool, rectal bleeding, poop with blood, stomach cramps, weakness and fatigue, and unintended weight loss. 

When To Talk To a Doctor

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Make it a habit to always monitor your poop and your pooping schedule as it clues you in about your health. If you notice an unusual pooping schedule that lasts for days (like having diarrhea for more than a day) or has uncontrollable pooping behavior, it may be time to see your doctor as they can be other signs of a medical condition. 

During your medical checkup, your doctor may also require that you provide a blood or stool sample to test and help rule out other diagnoses while reviewing your symptoms. Common tests your doctor may request include: 

  • CT scans and X-rays. These tests are done to check internal organs and are used to view images of internal organs.
  • Endoscopy. This exam is used to view the digestive tract by inserting a long, thin tube with a small camera called an endoscope inside, and is passed into your body through your mouth.
  • Colonoscopy. This test is used to look for changes in the colon (large intestine) and rectum. Doctors usually look out for swollen, irritated tissues, polyps, or markings for possible cancer.

Your doctor may prescribe specific treatments based on the diagnosis of your bowel changes. Some treatments may include prescription medication or surgery, while some may be just dietary and lifestyle changes such as: 

  • Recommending you to poop as soon as you feel it. 
  • Keep moving by getting more exercise and physical activity.
  • Recommending you to increase your water intake. Drinking more water comes with a lot of advantages as it prevents dehydration, a condition that can cause unclear thinking, mood changes, constipation, and the development of kidney stones.
  • Add more fiber to your diet. The USDA recommends that Americans get their daily fiber intake of 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men. Fiber is available mostly in fruits and vegetables and from an all-natural supplement like Bonny.

Bonny Fiber Can Help

The vast majority of Americans don't get enough daily fiber. Our Founder was one of those people and tried all the fiber supplements on the market. She thought they tasted bad and didn't do what they were supposed to do. That's why she created Bonny, a fiber that tastes delicious and makes you poop.

Bonny is an all-natural fiber powder supplement that helps increase fiber intake and have smooth poops.  It bulks up the stool and takes waste to the toilet where it belongs.  

Taking Bonny is as easy as one, two, three: one, add Bonny fiber powder to the glass then add water. Two, mix one tablespoon of Bonny fiber powder with at least 8 ounces of cool water. Three, stir well until all the powder is blended, and enjoy! 

Bonny comes in amazing flavors like Apple Pie and Mixed Ripe BerriesIt is vegan, gluten-free, and plant-based. One serving contains 17%+ of your daily recommended fiber.

As always, we wish you pleasant poops.

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