Basic mechanisms of the aging gastrointestinal tract

Dig Dis. 2007;25(2):112-7. doi: 10.1159/000099474.


The goal of this short review is to summarize recent data on gastrointestinal changes with aging, focusing on gastrointestinal motility disorders, and mucosal variations. First of all, this review focused on gastrointestinal motility disorders with aging, even though an increased prevalence of several gastrointestinal motor disorders (i.e., dysphagia, dyspepsia, anorexia, and constipation) occurs in older people, aging per se appears to have a minor direct effect on most gastrointestinal functions. Secondly, this review focused on histological changes with aging, i.e., regulation of gastrointestinal mucosal growth, gastrointestinal carcinogenesis, and gastric mucosal changes, especially changes in gastric acid secretion, bacterial overgrowth and its consequences on elderly patients.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Disease Susceptibility / diagnosis
  • Disease Susceptibility / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Gastric Acid / metabolism
  • Gastric Mucosa / pathology
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / epidemiology
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / etiology*
  • Gastrointestinal Motility / physiology
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Intestinal Mucosa / pathology
  • Male
  • Prognosis
  • Risk Assessment