Digestive problems during menopause are a common complaint, yet many women don’t realize their hormonal changes play a role in the accompanying symptoms. However, once you know about the intimate connection between these two situations, you will be more prepared to not only understand it but also do what it takes to alleviate symptoms naturally.
What digestive problems do women experience during menopause?
Digestive symptoms associated with menopause can range from flatulence to bloating, weight gain, tummy pain, constipation, heartburn, and more. Some of these issues are covered in other articles on Morphus, so here we are going to concentrate on constipation, gas, and bloating.
Why do digestive problems occur during menopause?
Hormonal changes trigger a number of health issues throughout the body, and the digestive system does not get by unscathed. As estrogen levels decline and the calming effect of the hormone fades as well, those of the stress hormone cortisol rise and the ability to handle stress can decline.
Since there is a direct line of communication between the gut and the brain (the gut-brain axis), an increase in stress can translate into tummy troubles. Elevated cortisol levels also slow down digestion, reduce the release of stomach acid, and slow the transport of digested food into the small intestine, all of which can lead to constipation, bloating, and gas.
How can you manage digestive problems naturally?
A number of lifestyle changes and supplements can help you manage digestive problems during menopause.
- Leafy greens in your diet as well as figs, avocados, bananas, pumpkin seeds, sweet potatoes, and whole grains. A magnesium supplement is another option (but food is better). Ask your healthcare provider which form of magnesium is best for you.
- Beneficial bacteria can help keep that vital gut-brain axis communicating well. Since estrogen and progesterone levels decline and both hormones feed your gut bacteria, you need some probiotics to keep things moving. Consider both fermented foods (kimchee, kefir, sauerkraut, miso) and a probiotic supplement. Allow several weeks for probiotic supplements to kick in.
- 60 percent stronger impact than water, stimulating your gut to help move traffic along in your intestinal tract.
When to talk to a doctor
In some cases, digestive problems during perimenopause and menopause mimic symptoms of ovarian cancer, such as persistent abdominal pain, bloating, and gas. If you also experience unexplained weight loss and urinary urgency frequently, you should see your physician.
As women get older, sensitivity to different foods can change. If you suspect you may be experiencing constipation, gas, or bloating from carbohydrates or sugar, for example, you may reduce your intake of these foods and see how you respond. If your constipation, gas, and/or bloating become disruptive to your lifestyle, you should talk with your doctor.
Digestive problems are not uncommon during menopause, and they may begin during perimenopause as well. Constipation, gas, and bloating are among the more common digestive complaints, and you can greatly relieve these symptoms by adopting some simple lifestyle changes.