Six Tips to Keep Aging From Wreaking Havoc on Your Digestive Health

April 17, 2024

There are pros and cons to getting older. Sure, you get more time to sit back and relax but, on the other hand, you’re at a higher risk for some medical conditions, including digestive health issues.

Here are a few of the most common issues seniors face, followed by how you can control the symptoms.


This is the most common issue that doctors address when it comes to the digestive issues of seniors, and these factors are often the culprits.

  • Natural changes in your system
  • Medication use
  • Inactivity
  • Lack of adequate fluid intake


Half of all people over age 60 suffer from this condition. It occurs when small pouches form and bulge out of weakened areas of the intestinal wall. Symptoms can include gas, bloating, cramps and constipation.

If the pockets become inflamed, it’s called Diverticulitis, and the symptoms are more severe. You’ll likely experience abdominal pain, chills, fever, nausea and vomiting. Treatment requires an antibiotic.


Ulcers and bleeding ulcers can form as a result of medication use. NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like ibuprofen are rough on your stomach and can take a toll after time.

Esophageal issues

Swallowing issues can occur as a result of the esophagus slowing down with age. Conditions such as Parkinson’s, dementia and having a stroke can exacerbate these problems.

What to do About Them

1. Be informed about your medications

Many medications have side effects that are hard on your digestive system.

Talk with your health care provider to be sure you’re not taking any unnecessary medicines and that your doses are as low as they can be. This will help symptoms such as constipation or diarrhea.

2. Keep moving

Physical activity is a great way to keep your mind and body healthy and it positively affects your digestive system. Your goal should be 30+ minutes of activity, five days a week. It will keep you regular and reduce your risk of colon cancer.

3. Eat enough fiber

High-fiber foods keep your system working as it should, prevent constipation and can ease the symptoms of diverticulosis.

Eat a lot of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans. The added benefit is a healthy food that’s high in nutrients and low in fat.

4. Drink more water

Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day to prevent dehydration, especially if you have to take diuretics. Staying hydrated will keep your digestive system moving smoothly.

5. Keep your weight under control

Maintaining a healthy weight can prevent digestive complications from medication.

Manage your weight by staying active and eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean protein and healthy fats. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has recommendations on how to eat healthy.

6. Get the proper health screenings

Once you reach a certain age, yearly health screenings become even more important, because many conditions can be treated more easily when they’re caught early.

Talk to your doctor about which screenings you should be getting.

It’s also important to make sure you have the right health care coverage, so your necessary preventive care is covered.

Stay on top of your digestive health

You can’t slow down time, but you can follow these guidelines to prevent some of the most common digestive health problems that seniors face.

Finally, talk with an independent insurance broker at UROne Benefits, who can look at your unique situation and make sure you have the Medicare coverage you need. Contact us here or at 800-722-7331.

This post was originally published in March 2019; updated April 2024.