Continuing from Part 1 here’s a look at the next aspect of aging – what to expect as you grow older:
Your digestive system
What’s happening. Constipation is more common in older adults. Many factors can contribute to constipation, including a low-fiber diet, not drinking enough fluids and lack of exercise. Various medications, including diuretics and iron supplements, may contribute to constipation. Certain medical conditions, including diabetes and irritable bowel syndrome, may increase the risk of constipation as well.
What you can do about it. To prevent constipation, drink water and other fluids and eat a healthy diet — including plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Include physical activity in your daily routine. Don’t ignore the urge to have a bowel movement. If you’re taking medications that may contribute to constipation, ask your doctor about alternatives.
Your bladder and urinary tract
Loss of bladder control (urinary incontinence) is common with aging. Health problems such as obesity, frequent constipation and chronic cough may contribute to incontinence — as can menopause, for women, and an enlarged prostate, for men.
What you can do about it.
Urinate more often. If you’re overweight, lose excess pounds. If you smoke, ask your doctor to help you quit. Pelvic muscle exercises (Kegel exercises) might help, too. Simply tighten your pelvic muscles as if you’re stopping your stream of urine. Aim for at least three sets of 10 repetitions a day. If these suggestions don’t help, ask your doctor about other treatment options.