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Ask the DOCTOR

01:00 AM Dec 17, 2023 IST | DR. ZUBAIR SALEEM
ask the doctor
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Q. What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and how does it differ from Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)?

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A. IBS is a common digestive disorder characterised by abdominal pain, bloating, and changes in bowel habits, without evidence of inflammation. IBD, on the other hand, includes conditions like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, where the digestive tract experiences chronic inflammation.

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Q. What are the causes of IBS in seniors?

A. The exact cause of IBS remains unknown, but factors such as muscle contractions in the intestine, abnormalities in the nervous system, and an over-reactive immune system may contribute. In seniors, age-related changes in the digestive system can also play a role.

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Q. How can we prevent IBS flare-ups in seniors?

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A. Managing stress, adopting a balanced and fiber-rich diet, staying hydrated, and regular exercise can help prevent IBS flare-ups. Identifying and avoiding trigger foods is also crucial.

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Q. Are there different types of IBS in seniors?

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A. Yes, IBS is classified into four types based on predominant symptoms: IBS-D (diarrhea), IBS-C (constipation), IBS-M (mixed), and IBS-U (unclassified). Seniors may experience any of these types, and symptoms can fluctuate over time.

Q. What foods are preferred for seniors with IBS?

A. Seniors with IBS may benefit from a low-FODMAP diet, which limits fermentable carbohydrates. Preferred foods include lean proteins, whole grains, fruits low in fructose, and vegetables like spinach. However, individual tolerance to specific foods varies, and keeping a food diary to identify trigger foods is also helpful.

Q. Can stress trigger IBS symptoms in seniors?

A. Yes, stress is a common trigger for IBS symptoms in seniors. Practice meditation and caregivers need to be kind with seniors.

Q. What are common medications used to manage IBS symptoms in seniors?

A. Medications for IBS in seniors may include antispasmodics, laxatives, fiber supplements, and medications to regulate bowel movements. It’s important to consult your doctor for personalised
recommendations.

Q. Can certain medications contribute to IBS symptoms in seniors?

A. Yes, some medications, such as certain antibiotics and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), can contribute to IBS symptoms in seniors. It’s crucial to inform doctors about all medications being taken to assess their potential impact.

Always consult your doctor for accurate diagnosis, personalised advice, and appropriate management strategies for seniors dealing with IBS.

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