The menstrating days are over, along with bloating, period diarrhea, and cramping that comes along with it - BUT menopause brings her own host of digestive issues.
WHY does this happen? Estrogen balances the stress hormone - cortisol. So when estrogen levels decrease during menopause, cortisol levels increase. But what does that mean?! When cortisol levels are raised:
Blood pressure increase
Blood sugar increases
and digestion slows down
This leads to bloating, indigestion, acid reflux, painful abdominal cramps, constipation, diarrhea, weight gain, gas, and nausea.
These issues may cause you to run to your local pharmacy to manage your symptoms but there are other ways to solve your digestive problems.
Phytoestrogens pretend to be estrogen because their chemical structure is similar. When we eat phytoestrogens, our body’s thinks they are estrogen. Although they are similar, the effect of phytoestrogen is weaker and shorter lasting.
By eating phytoestrogens, you can slowly and naturally increase your estrogen levels.. This helps with improving digestion, combating acid reflex, gas, and resolving constipation. Phytoestrogen foods can easily be added to your usual meals and snacks:
Add ground flaxseed and berries to your oatmeal
Swap chicken for tofu in your favorite stir fry
Add cauliflower to your favorite soup
Dates and almonds may a delicious snack
And who doesn’t love a ripe peach!
Magnesium helps alleviate PMS symptoms and menopause symptoms, such as bloating and weight gain. Women over the age of 30 should aim for 320 mg of magnesium per day. A women’s multivitamin usually has 100 mg of magnesium, so supplementing with food is essential.
Have a banana with your breakfast
Add black beans to a quesadilla
and pumpkin seeds and dark chocolate are a match made in heaven
Probiotics, found in fermented foods, such as yogurt, pickles, sauerkraut, and kimchi, help balance your gut bacteria. This helps both your gastrointestinal and immune health. Probiotics can help manage diarrhea and irritable bowel syndrome by slowing down digestion and adding good bacteria to help you digest your food. Probiotics immune benefits can also help with other menopause side effects: preventing vaginal and urinary tract infections.
Fiber comes in two sources: soluble and insoluble. Both are important for gut health, but each work slightly differently.
Soluble fiber is found in oats, bran, beans, and psyllium (a common fiber supplement). Soluble fiber is good for both diarrhea and constipation because it slow down digestion and allows more water to stay in your intestines and make poop softer.
Insoluble fiber is found in fruits and vegetables. It bulks up poop because the fiber in fruits and vegetables don’t get absorbed into our bodies. It helps move things along and keep you from getting constipated.
Digestive issues in menopause can be easily managed with laxatives, stool softeners, and other pharmaceuticals but there can be side effects with those medications. Foods, on the other hand, can help manage those symptoms to create good gut health at any age.
To solve your digestive issues and better manage perimenopausal and menopausal symptoms, you can work with me here to create a plan that is tailored to your needs.
Until next time lovelies,
Amanda Rosenberg RDN