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How does aging affect digestive diseases?

Older people tend to take more prescription medications than others, and can be more susceptible to digestive side effects caused by drugs. The stomach lining becomes more susceptible to damage with age, and conditions that reduce secretion of stomach acids are more common in older people. Aging is also associated with bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine, and poorer absorption of some nutrients. Levels of the enzyme lactase go down, which increases lactose intolerance. People over age 60 are likelier to have diverticulosis, a condition in which the large intestine develops pouches. The condition can become serious if the pouches become infected. However, people over age 55 are unlikely to develop irritable bowel syndrome if they have never had the disorder.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.