Abdominal pain can be very troubling, especially if you don’t know what’s causing it. It can be even more difficult to deal with in an elderly loved one. How do you know if the cause is poor nutrition versus something more serious? Here are causes of abdominal pain in the elderly:
Constipation is very common in senior citizens. Decreased mobility, poor nutrition and fiber intake, and medication side effects can contribute to constipation. If your loved one complains of stomach pain, ask when their last bowel movement was. If they’re constipated, contact their doctor to determine the best course of action.
Hernias are common in the elderly due to increased muscle weakness as they age. Hernias are places where an organ protrudes through muscle and pushes against the skin. If someone develops certain types of hernias, he or she may experience constipation. Other symptoms include swelling, tenderness, discomfort when lifting or straining, and bloody stools.
While many think of appendicitis as a childhood medical issue, appendicitis is the third most common cause of abdominal surgery in older populations. While the classic pain in the lower right part of the stomach is present, symptoms of appendicitis tend to be different in older adults than for children and young adults. Constipation is a common symptom of appendicitis. Other symptoms include fever and guarding of the stomach.
Peptic ulcer disease can be life threatening and lead to perforations in the stomach. It’s important to be able to recognize the disease so you can seek treatment for your loved one. Other symptoms of peptic ulcer disease include heartburn, gas, and vomiting. However, some elderly people don’t develop any symptoms.
Once you know the common causes of stomach pain in the elderly, you can get treatment for your loved one.