Senior woman harvest a healthy diet from her garden.

Irritable bowel syndrome is a condition in which multiple symptoms can appear together, causing pain in the abdominal area and even causing bowel function issues. Dehydration, scurvy, and both scenarios can be common side effects. Even if the symptoms persist, they can still cause damage to the bicyle.

Irritable bowel condition is not linked with more serious diseases. It can be managed through medical interventions, lifestyle changes, stress management, or a combination of the two.

We know a lot about how the system works in older people.

To date, there still isn’t a definitive answer regarding a single cause of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) specifically in older populations. Several preliminary studies have offered a few working theories.

A potential link between aging and IBS

Brain atrophy is a normal part of brain growth. The brain contains both gray and white matter, with gray matter volume (GMV) decreasing significantly beginning in our 20s and continuing throughout our 70s. A 2018 study found a link between abnormalities in gray matter density observed through MRIs and abnormal pain-related activation in IBS patients.

The researchers found a connection between the gray matter density of the patients and the chronic pain they experienced when compared to the control participants. This impact was also felt by individuals with vulvodynia.

By further reviewing the 2018 study participant group, researchers also found abnormalities in the white matter volume (WMV). However, confirming a link between WMV and IBS still needs further investigation. More importantly, researchers noted that it’s unclear whether a decline in GMV can be considered a risk factor for IBS or a result of it.

Common risk factors for IBS

Regardless of age, multiple scenarios can contribute to this condition. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), people with IBS tend to have one or more of these common underlying factors:

  • The colon has infections.
  • There is overgrowth in the small intestine.
  • genetic predisposition to developing IBS
  • Food sensitivities can cause upset in the stomach.
  • stressful early life events like physical or sexual abuse
  • Mental disorders include anxiety, depression, and even symptom disorder.

Is irritable bowel syndrome common in the elderly?

Experts now know that Irritable Behavior Syndrome can be present in the elderly.

However, the rate of diagnosis for the elderly is similar to other age groups. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), roughly 10% to 20% of older adults experience symptoms consistent with an IBS diagnosis.

Although the cause of IBS in older adults isn’t well known, the symptoms tend to be the same in younger adults. The most common symptoms include abdominal pain that’s usually related to bowel movements, diarrhea, and constipation. However other symptoms can include:

  • It feels like the bowel movements are not finished.
  • There is mucus in the stool.
  • It was bloated.
  • nausea

There are multiple approaches to treating the disease. A multi-pronged strategy is needed to control the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

This can include lifestyle changes, stress management, and prescription medicine.

Treatment for older adults will usually focus on lifestyle and diet changes, as well as incorporating psychological therapy and support, compared to treatment methods that are similar for younger populations.

Medications to treat IBS

Of all the methods for treating IBS, prescribing medications is usually cautioned against for older adults. This is because there’s often a heightened risk of side effects or even interactions with other prescribed drugs.

However, over-the-counter (OTC) medications to manage symptoms such as loperamide (Imodium) or even laxatives to soften stool might be recommended. Likewise, your doctor might recommend probiotics as well as coated peppermint oil capsules.

If your doctor does prescribe medication — such as Bentyl — for your IBS symptoms, follow their instructions carefully. Talk with your doctor about any other medications, vitamins, or fiber supplements that you’re taking. They’ll be able to design a schedule that avoids medication interactions.

Stress reduction

There’s proof that IBS has a strong brain-gut connection. This means that situations that impact your mood can directly manifest throughout your body — but specifically your digestive system.

And for many people with IBS, flare-ups can often be linked to specific high-stress situations. Learning to better manage stress through cognitive therapy or even mindfulness techniques can aid in reducing the body’s reaction to those experiences, and limiting IBS symptoms.

Talk with your doctor or therapist about the best ways to help manage your stress and reduce your IBS symptoms.

Because a common risk factor for IBS includes previous food sensitivities, reviewing and adjusting dietary choices might be one of the best steps you can do to ease symptoms.

Along with avoiding known triggers, your doctor or dietitian might recommend that you eat more fiber to control constipation or avoid gluten because it’s a known irritant even for people that don’t have celiac disease.

Consider a low FODMAP diet

Another option for many IBS patients is adopting a low FODMAP diet. FODMAP stands for fermentable, oligo-, di-, monosaccharides, and polyols. They’re short-chain carbohydrates that are digestion-resistant. And since they travel to the far end of your intestines, they serve as fuel for bacteria naturally found in your gut.

Not all IBS patients experience FODMAP sensitivity, but often, FODMAPs can cause IBS symptoms and draw liquids that can lead to diarrhea.

Common FODMAPs that can cause symptoms include:

  • Fructose sugar is found in many fruits and vegetables.
  • Lactose from dairy products.
  • fructans is a substance found in many grains.
  • galactans are found in the chickpeas.
  • Polyols are found in many sugar substitute products.

Research has found that opting for a low FODMAP diet can be beneficial in as many as 75% of people with IBS — which can lead to improved quality of life.


Most people know that a supplement called probiotics can be found in foods that can help with gut health. Since small-bowel bacterial overgrowth is one of the factors that can contribute to Irritable Bowel Syndrome, it is possible that the presence of the good bacteria in the gut may help to maintain healthy levels.

Additionally, a 2010 study published in the Gastroenterology & Hepatology Journal noted that probiotics can improve the barrier function of the digestive tract by boosting the mucus lining. Meanwhile, another 2003 study that followed 25 IBS patients found that those who consumed probiotics reported less It was bloated..

Living with IBS

Living with Irritable Bowel Syndrome can be a challenge, and it can make your mental health worse.

Take advantage of the resources available to you to achieve your best quality of life. Talk with your doctor about local support groups.

If left unaddressed, Irritable bowel Syndrome can affect your quality of life and mental health. The same symptoms are seen in younger people.

Experts agree that aholistic approach, which includes diet, lifestyle, stress management, and medication, is essential to control symptoms and improve your outlook, even though the cause of the disease is still not certain.