Menopause effects on digestive system – causes and remedies

By: Dr. Victor Marchione | Menopause | Thursday, September 15, 2016 - 01:00 PM

Menopause effects on digestive system – causes and remediesMenopause can impact your digestive system, causing problems that weren’t previously there. Menopause is a natural part of a woman’s life, characterized by the ending of the menstrual cycle, which means she is no longer fertile. Menopause is often accompanied by symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats, sleep disruptions, and mood changes.

A healthy digestion means that food is being broken down and absorbed, and waste is then released through the bowels. Some digestive problems include constipation, diarrhea, bloating, and cramping.

Causes of menopause-related digestive problems

There are many factors that come into play regarding the effects of menopause on the digestive system. For one, during menopause, estrogen levels begin to drop. Estrogen is well known to offer many protective effects throughout the body, including the digestive system.

During a woman’s reproductive years, estrogen levels are normally high, keeping cortisol levels low and ensuring your blood sugar and blood pressure are in check as well. As estrogen levels decrease through menopause, cortisol levels are no longer regulated, which can switch off digestive functions. This is what contributes to the symptoms such as gas, bloating, and abdominal cramping, indicating the digestive system isn’t working properly.

Addressing estrogen decrease through hormone replacement therapy is not a solution. In fact, hormone therapy has been found to actually worsen digestive issues. That’s why it is important that you find natural remedies to aid in your digestive woes.

Remedies for menopause-related digestive problems

Here are some natural remedies that can help you improve digestion and address digestive issues brought on by the menopause.

  • Stay well hydrated to fight the bloat and to make fiber foods work more efficiently.
  • Maintain a healthy weight and eat nutritious foods instead of processed or junk foods, which can worsen digestive problems.
  • Stay active as regular physical activity promotes bowel movements.
  • Reduce stress, as cortisol levels are higher during menopause and contribute to digestive issues.
  • Maintain a healthy smile, as good teeth are necessary for the initial, mechanical breakdown of the food.
  • Eat probiotic-rich products like kefir or fermented foods.
  • Consume more fiber-rich foods.

These natural remedies can help you improve your digestion through menopause. If you are still experiencing problems, speak to your doctor to see what else you can do.


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Overactive bladder – and how it’s related to menopause

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) associated with early menopause: Study

Sources:

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/menopause/basics/definition/con-20019726
http://www.everydayhealth.com/digestive-health-pictures/9-steps-to-better-digestion-as-you-age.aspx#02

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