Getting older certainly has its perks: wisdom, respect, financial stability, being able to run for president and getting one step closer to taking over the world, etc. However one of the things that is not appreciated is your body slowly giving out on you. For me, it started at age 26—I specifically remember getting out of bed and thinking, “Did my body always make all those noises?”
Then, horror of horrors, you will begin to have #oldpeopleproblems (You down with OPP?*). You know, the kind where the product advertisements feature a foxy silver couple in their 70s. You may think you are the only 22 year old like this, that these are signs you have a “Jack”-like metabolic disorder, are aging beyond your years and are close to death. Well, I am here to tell you: You’re not alone. Here are the explanation behind some #oldpeopleproblems that may start to crop up in your twenties.
Ah yes, things coming out your butt. Everyone’s favorite thing to think about and/or admit to. If you have blood when you wipe, itching or pain in that region, or your butthole has swollen protrusions, you may have hemorrhoids. They can be internal or external, as small as a pea or the stuff of Google Images horrors. Hemorrhoids are swollen, inflamed veins in your rectum/anus that can stick around anywhere from a day to three weeks. They can be caused by: straining while pooping (get your fiber!), pregnancy, anal sex, walking too much, standing too much, and genetics (Thanks, Mom & Dad!). Mostly they will go away on their own, or with over the counter treatment, but if you are concerned, go see a doctor (as fun as anal surgery is, there are treatments if necessary). They can sometimes be prevented by lifestyle changes like exercise and fiber-rich diet.
You are not alone because: 50% of the U.S. population experiences hemorrhoids by age 50
2. Spider Veins
Spider veins are those tiny, angry red blood vessels your mom complains about. So what the hell are they doing showing up on on your legs? Spider veins are the result of blood vessels close to the skin weakening and causing a blood traffic jam. They are usually harmless except for the damage to your mental health (though sometimes they can cause pain or itching). Spider veins can be caused by heredity (Thanks again, Mom & Dad!), hormone changes (see: birth control pills), or by having a lot of stress in your legs, such as standing all day, pregnancy, or obesity. If the tiny blood webs annoy you too much, there are a couple of treatment options, including sclerotherapy (a doctor injects a chemical in the vein to close it), laser therapy, or wearing really cool compression stockings.
You are not alone because: 30-60% of adults have varicose or spider veins.
3. Spike The Chin Hair
You thought only grandpas grew hair in weird places. But here you are, with one random-ass long hair on your neck, chin, ear, or forehead. As women age, their estrogen levels decrease, opening the door for testosterone which, you guessed it, can activate hair growth. As far as a cure: pluck/wax/electrolosize that shit if it bothers you.
You are not alone because: Look, as much as you feel like a freak, if Internet searching is any clue, it happens to every damn one of us (including LD writers).
4. Digestive Problems
While you can easily see some results of age (GO BACK FROM WHENCE YOU CAME, FINE LINES), others occur internally but cause invisible discomfort. Enter heartburn, acid reflux, constipation, etc. If eating spicy food (or whatever your trigger is) causes searing pain in your chest and neck that makes you think you’re having a heart attack in your 20s, the culprit is probably heartburn. As your body breaks down towards its inevitable demise, your muscles get weaker, and that includes involuntary ones like the sphincter that separates the esophagus from the stomach, resulting in backflow of acid. (Also lactase levels decrease with age, making you more likely to be lactose intolerant. So there’s that.) Treatment for heartburn can range from avoiding trigger foods (alcohol, caffeine, chocolate, basically everything you love), to lifestyle changes (yes, everyone wants you to work out and stop smoking), to over-the-counter medicines (good ol’ Tums), to more serious prescriptions if the problem occurs frequently.
You are not alone because: 60% of adults experience some type of gastrointestinal reflux disease within a 12 month period.
5. Joint Symphonies
Remember when moving did not produce so many noises from your body? Yeah, me either, and I’m super bummed ninja is no longer a viable career possibility. These pops can come from your joints releasing carbon dioxide bubbles (example noise: cracking your knuckles), or from your ligaments and tendons snapping back into place or dragging across a bone (example noise: standing from a squat). The latter becomes more common as you age, because you lose muscle mass and more bone is exposed. Of course, if you are experiencing pain or swelling in addition to the music, or if it sounds more like crunching or grinding, you should probably go see a doctor. To combat the popping, be sure you are getting regular exercise to strengthen to muscles.
You are not alone because: Why do you think they play music in exercise classes?
6. Eight Hours? LOL
WebMD may have put it best, “You’re not just imagining it: As you’ve gotten older, your sleep has probably become less satisfying and less restorative.” While your sleep needs remain the same (and can vary widely from person to person), your ability to actually get restful sleep declines. There are a ton of reasons for this: more difficulty falling asleep (stress, anyone?), underlying medical conditions (sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome), hangovers waking you up since your alcohol-digesting enzymes suck now too, acid reflux, and a decline in deep sleep as you leave adolescence. I have also lost the ability to sleep in, and find myself waking up at work-alarm time on the weekends (though waking up is not the same as getting out of bed DON’T TELL ME WHAT TO DO, BRAIN).
You are not alone because: Nearly 7 out of every 10 adults experience problems that affect sleep quality.
7. Whippersnappers Saying Things Like This Are Cool, Going Against Everything You Hold To Be True
So what did we learn here? Exercise is really good for you and can alleviate a lot of your problems (that damn exercise, so smug). Eat your fucking fiber. And get off my lawn.
*If you do not get that reference, I am showing my age again.
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