Why are seniors so gassy?

Ruth Griffiths

Every old person should have a dog. It’s not because of the companionship, although that is definitely a good thing. It’s not because walking the dog will keep you fit, because it will and you’ll both benefit from those walks. No, the main reason to have a dog around the house as you get older is to have someone else to blame for your gassiness.
Sure, we can laugh about it, but flatulence is an embarrassing problem for many people, especially as we get older.
Why are most older people so gassy? I did some research that gives a new meaning to the term “old fart”.
WebMD says some experts believe that as you get older, you fart more because your metabolism slows down. The food sits longer in your digestive system, creating more gas. Also, your stomach makes less of the acid needed to digest food well. Gas may be more of a problem because of general loss of muscle as we age. Your digestive system is made up of muscles and may not be working as well.
An article on the AARP website says there has been little research into why we toot more as we age.
A self-reported study in 2017 found that older adults don’t necessarily pass gas (or admit to it) more frequently than younger adults.
Healthy adults pass gas 10 to 25 times a day. AARP says as you get older you’re more likely to take medications, gain weight, become lactose intolerant and have other issues that lead to an increase in gas.
Weight gain can be associated with increased flatulence, increased acid reflux and belching.
As you age you may be less able to hold in the gas.The anal sphincter may be weaker resulting in less ability to hold in flatulence. This can be a bigger problem for women who have had many vaginal deliveries. However, men and women can do Kegel exercises to strengthen pelvic floor muscles.
Watching what you eat might reduce gas. Foods that tend to cause gas include broccoli, dairy, beans, brussels sprouts, cabbage and onions.
How you eat can also affect flatulence. Eat your food slowly, chew it carefully, avoid gulping water and avoid fizzy beverages. Avoid lying on your back for two hours after eating.
Over-the-counter products such as simethicone (Gas X, Phazyme) and Beano (alpha Galactosidase) can help with excess bloating and gassiness caused by our diets.
Still stinking up the place? Blame it on the dog.