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Increased Flatulence With Age: Why Do Older Adults Have More Gas?

If you’re a senior, you have probably faced a few embarrassing moments that go along with aging. Have you had to ask your grandkids or others to repeat themselves because you just don’t hear like you used to?

Have you ever tripped over your own feet with no obstacle in the way, or had to ask a store clerk to help you read the back of a medicine bottle? Most people don’t mind lending a helping hand if they see you need assistance, and they do it with a smile.

But there is one thing that will usually be met with a dirty look of disgust as the person side-steps to get away from you…Yes, it’s the dreaded fart! Not the nicest word to use in a blog post but haven’t we all experienced the humiliation of having gas escape from our bodies at the worst possible time?

If that’s not bad enough, I’m sure you’ve noticed flatulence increases with age. Are old age and flatulence inevitable or is escaping gas just another annoyance that must be dealt with? Why do seniors have more gas as they age?

Read on to find out why you may have more gas as you reach retirement age and beyond. The following tips can help you understand what causes gas and bloating and will help you minimize the discomfort and embarrassment of the unexpected “toot!”

Why do we have more flatulence as we age?

  • Metabolism is the chemical reaction in the body that converts food into energy. As we age that process slows down, which allows food to remain in the digestive tract longer than it used to, which causes excess gas as you age.
  • Digestion requires movement through the digestive tract and this movement is made possible by muscles. As we age, the amount of muscle in our bodies decreases, and the fat increases which helps define why older people pass more gas.
  • Physical Activity often decreases as we get older. Movement and exercise are necessary to decrease the amount of gas build-up in our bodies. Since we produce more gas with age, exercise should be a part of our daily routine, even if it’s just a walk around the neighborhood. If that’s not possible, try a walk around your yard or invest in a small treadmill to get exercise as often as possible.
  • Medications can also be a culprit when determining why older people pass more gas. Certain medications cause constipation which can lead to bloating and gas retention.
  • Diet is another factor to consider if you have a problem with gas and flatulence. Carbonated beverages, beans, cabbage, broccoli, fructose, lactose, and asparagus are considered gassy foods and should be avoided or eaten in moderation.

Here are some things you can try to manage flatulence:

  • Avoid foods known to cause gas.
  • Eat and drink slowly and take small bites to keep from swallowing air.
  • Don’t smoke
  • Talk to your doctor about over-the-counter digestive aids.
  • Avoid artificial sweeteners
  • Do not drink through a straw.
  • Try to consume your drink before the meal, rather than with the meal.
  • Avoid sucking on hard candies.

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In summary, everyone is different so pay attention to what you’re eating, when you’re eating, and how you feel when you eat certain foods. Try to exercise each day, and experiment with the tips discussed here to see if they help with your symptoms. If you don’t achieve some relief or if your symptoms get worse, consult your doctor to rule out another medical or underlying condition.