Bowel infections in older people are very common, but they can be serious. They can cause dehydration and weight loss, and if you become too weak to look after yourself properly, you might even die. If you think that you or an older person close to you is showing signs of bowel infection, it's important to get medical advice as soon as possible.
Bowel infections in the elderly can be dangerous. The most common causes of bowel infections in the elderly include:1,2
To understand why older people are particularly at risk of getting diarrhea, it's important to understand that their immune systems don't work as well as they used to. The reason for this is that over time, our immune systems gradually become less effective at fighting off germs. This means that elderly people have a higher chance of developing infections than younger people do.3
The second main reason why elderly people get diarrhea more often than other age groups is because their habits and surroundings may have changed. As we get older, there are more opportunities for us to pick up new germs from places like public restrooms or from eating food that has been prepared by someone else (like in restaurants).3
Bowel infections differ depending on the source of the disease, as mentioned before, this can include bacterial, viral, or parasitic culprits.
The most common bowel infections caused by bacteria are:
The most common bowel infections caused by viruses are:
The most common bowel infections caused by parasites are:
A bowel infection is a bacterial or viral illness that can affect the intestines. The most common symptoms of a bowel infection are diarrhea, fever, nausea, and vomiting. Occasionally blood may be present in your stool. Bowel infections often result in dehydration if not treated promptly with fluids by mouth or intravenously (IV).
There are many signs and symptoms of bowel infections in the elderly. These include:4
If you have diarrhea that lasts longer than 72 hours and doesn't go away with treatment (such as drinking lots of fluids or taking an anti-diarrheal medicine), see your doctor.
Your doctor will ask you about your symptoms, your medical history, and your family history. The doctor may do a physical examination to check your abdomen, pelvis, and perineum (the area between the anus and vulva or scrotum). This can help them to see if there is any inflammation or infection that is causing symptoms.
Other routine procedures conducted include the following:
Treatment for bowel infections in the elderly should be handled by a doctor, who may prescribe antibiotics for you to take at home. Preventive measures against future occurrences include eating a healthy diet and getting plenty of exercise each day, as well as avoiding using antibiotics unless necessary.5
Moreover, treating diarrhea as one of the main symptoms of bowel infections is a necessary step, this can be achieved through drinking plenty of fluids to rehydrate and make up for the loss of fluids from the body.
A better strategy to combat bowel infections would be to prevent them from occurring in the first place, this can be accomplished through the following practices:
Many elderly people suffer from bowel infections, but they don’t know if they’ve got one or what to do about it. Therefore, we recommend that if you or your loved ones experience any of the previously mentioned symptoms, go and seek your doctor’s consultation immediately to avoid any unwanted complications.
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