Can Hormone Imbalance Cause Digestive Problems
Not only do our reactions to stress become a bit more extreme, our ramped-up cortisol has the add-on effect of slowing down digestion of food. That can lead to a host of digestive disorders like gas, bloating and constipation in menopause.
But like so much of menopause, you dont have to simply endure the symptoms. Where once there was estrogen, now there are lifestyle changes.
Regain your balance with phytoestrogens – Because part of the problem here is a decrease in estrogen, eating phytoestrogens that mimic whats lost can help relieve the problem. Where to get them: Think soy , veggies , fruits , seeds , grains , mint, ginseng, fennel, and anise, among other sources.
Get more magnesium – Magnesium does a lot of good stuff for menopause symptoms, not least of which is helping to relieve digestive issues like flatulence and constipation. Where to get it: Dont go too crazy, since too much magnesium can cause diarrhea, but you can find it in leafy veggies like spinach and beet greens, whole grains, sweet potatoes, peanuts, oat bran, cornmeal, some fish , tomatoes, figs, avocados, bananas, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, and dark chocolate. Try our magnesium supplement for women in menopause.
Go natural – Ginger tea and peppermint tea are good, long-standing, natural remedies.
How Are Diarrhea And Incontinence Related To Menopause
When progesterone levels decrease associated with menopause you may experience an increase in your bowel activity meaning food may move through your GI tract more quickly resulting in diarrhea, increased gas, and bloating.
Post-menopausal women may be more inclined to experience incontinence, diarrhea, and constipation due to pelvic floor dysfunction, and a weakened pelvic floor. Your pelvic floor, or the muscles, ligaments, connective tissues, and nerves that support the bladder, uterus, cervix, vagina, and rectum, and hold these structures in place and help them to function, plays an important role in bowel movements.
Your pelvic floor muscles stretch from your tailbone in the back to your pubic bone up front, and from one hip to the other side to side. They move up and down like a trampoline supporting your internal organs.
Normally, when you go to the bathroom your body tightens and relaxes its pelvic floor muscles in a coordinated fashion. When you have pelvic floor dysfunction, your body keeps tightening these muscles instead of relaxing them when it should.
Women are at increased risk for a weakened pelvic floor as a result of pregnancy and childbirth. Pelvic Floor Dysfunction is also more common with age. Properly diagnosing and treating pelvic floor dysfunction is crucial to managing symptoms of diarrhea, constipation and incontinence in affected patients.
Whos At Risk For Uterine Cancer
There are several risk factors for endometrial cancer. Many of them relate to the balance between estrogen and progesterone. These include morbid obesity, a condition called polycystic ovarian syndrome or taking unopposed estrogen. A genetic disorder known as Lynch syndrome is another risk factor unrelated to hormones.
Risk factors include:
Age, lifestyle and family history:
- Age: As women get older, the likelihood of uterine cancer increases. Most uterine cancers occur after age 50.
- Diet high in animal fat: A high-fat diet can increase the risk of several cancers, including uterine cancer. Fatty foods are also high in calories, which can lead to obesity. Extra weight is a uterine cancer risk factor.
- Family history: Some parents pass on genetic mutations for hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer . This inherited condition raises the risk for a range of cancers, including endometrial cancer.
- Diabetes: This disease is often related to obesity, a risk factor for cancer. But some studies suggest a more direct tie between diabetes and uterine cancer as well.
- Obesity : Some hormones get changed to estrogen by fat tissue, raising uterine cancer risk. The higher the amount of fat tissue, the greater the effect on estrogen levels.
- Ovarian diseases: Women who have certain ovarian tumors have high estrogen levels and low progesterone levels. These hormone changes can increase uterine cancer risk.
Menstrual and reproductive history:
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Changes To Stomach Acid And Bile Production
The reduction of estrogen and progesterone may also impact the bodyâs ability to produce stomach acid and bile. Additionally, as estrogen levels decrease, cortisol and blood pressure rises, resulting in the slowing of the digestive system.
Stomach acid helps to break down food in your stomach, allowing the body to absorb nutrients and travel through the digestive tract. Gastric acid imbalances can lead to symptoms such as heartburn or acid reflux, bloating, diarrhea, and constipation.
Another digestive fluid needed for digestion is bile, which is made by the liver and stored in the gallbladder. Drops in progesterone and estrogen, as experienced in menopause, have been associated with lowered bile levels. If the liver isnât producing enough bile to break down food, the stores in the gallbladder are depleted and fats canât be digested properly, resulting in the inability of the body to absorb essential fat-soluble vitamins.
Menopause And Nausea Symptoms
Hormones nausea and menopause can develop for various reasons. Often a woman is sick as a result of hormonal changes that occur in the body. However, it should be borne in mind that nausea can indicate serious illness.
Nausea and menopause symptoms may be:
- a feeling of disgust for food
- increased blood pressure
First of all, it is necessary to find out the cause of menopause nausea. Nausea should not be taken as a variant of the norm. In any case, correct treatment is necessary. It involves a whole range of different methods. If the reason that a woman is nauseous is hormonal changes during menopause, hormonal drugs â hormone replacement therapy, can be recommended.
However, in some cases, hormonal medication may be contraindicated. This is due to the fact that drugs containing hormones have a number of side effects. Sometimes, the doctor recommends taking homeopathic and sedatives containing phytoestrogens for menopause and nausea. All medications must be prescribed by a specialist. Self-medication can aggravate the unpleasant manifestation of climacteric changes.
Behavioral therapy is essential in the treatment. The patientâs well-being is largely determined by her lifestyle. In order to prevent menopause nausea feeling attacks, a woman must adhere to the following rules:
- follow a healthy diet, not eat fatty, fried, and smoked dishes and sweets
- avoid overeating
- spend a lot of time outdoors and avoid stuffy rooms.
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Ibs Can Affect Your Menopause Experience Too
IBS and menopause have a complicated relationship, more like cats and dogs. Their symptoms clash, and they negatively affect each other.
Your body sees menopause as a stressor, add IBS into the picture, and it can make things more challenging. It may increase the intensity of your menopause symptoms because your gut also produces hormones. It is the main supplier of serotonin, a feel-good and calming hormone. IBS can make serotonin levels dip. This worsens menopause symptoms such as mood swings, anxiety, hot flashes and sleep problems. Besides, low serotonin lowers your pain tolerance during menopause.
Irritable bowel syndrome can also mask the symptoms of menopause. Menopause and IBS have similar symptoms, and it may be hard to pinpoint which is which!
Solutions For Menopausal Diarrhea
Over-the-counter diarrhea medications canease this problem for many women. If you have concerns, talk to your doctor tolearn the best medications to use for your condition. The available OTCmedications are affordable for any budget and will not counteract with mostmenopause treatments.
Certain foods may cause frequent bouts withdiarrhea for women who are menopausal. Flaxseed is a common superfood thathelps women deal with hot flashes during menopause, but the catch is that itcontains phytoestrogens that affect the abdomen and cause bowel issues. Avoidflaxseed and other foods that may lead to gastrointestinal problems. Talk to yourdoctor to learn more about foods that you should avoid. He can provide adietary guideline that you can follow for the best results.
If youre unable to naturally relievediarrhea, your doctor may be able to help. Antidepressant and Hormone ReplacementTherapy are the two most common treatments for diarrhea during menopause. Thesetwo alternative treatments are among a long list of choices, however. Manywomen also use alternative therapies such as a homeopath, and herbal remedies.There are no potential side effects with alternative therapy, but it isnonetheless a good idea to talk to your doctor before beginning any regimen.
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What Causes Hot Flashes In Men And Women
Men, women, and children can suffer from hot flashes. The most common cause of hot flashes in women is during perimenopause and menopause. A common cause of the condition in men is low testosterone, or low-T. Side effects from medications also cause hot flashes. There are more serious causes of hot flashes like carcinoid syndrome, cancers, and hormone problems.
Gastro Symptoms Of Menopause May Vary By Race
WEDNESDAY, Dec. 8, 2021 — When a woman’s periods begin to slow down and finally stop, digestive problems often pick up — and new research suggests race and ethnicity play a role.
With menopause, levels of estrogen decrease, while cortisol levels increase, triggering an adrenaline boost that changes digestive function. It can set off symptoms such as bloating, nausea, diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain, indigestion, vomiting, loss of appetite, weight loss or gain and heartburn.
“This study highlights significant associations between GI symptoms and menopause status, with postmenopausal women generally reporting a greater number of symptoms and more severe symptoms,” said Dr. Stephanie Faubion, medical director of the North American Menopause Society .
“It also shows important racial/ethnic differences in GI symptom reporting, similar to what has been shown with menopause symptoms,” Faubion said in a society news release.
Racial/ethnic differences in hormonal changes during menopause had previously been reported, but little has been known about how race or ethnicity affects digestive symptoms during menopause.
To learn more, researchers analyzed data from more than 1,000 women and found significant differences in the severity of digestive symptoms in different racial/ethnic groups.
Hispanic women were more likely to experience more severe constipation, weight gain and bloating, while Black women were more likely to have more severe weight loss.
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What Gi Symptoms Are Associated With Menopause And Why
A wide range of digestive problems can arise during menopause including excessive gas, bloating, belching, nausea, and abdominal discomfort.
If you think about it, the main job of our digestive tract is to break down food, absorb nutrients, and excrete waste. Hormones play a large role in digestion. When estrogen and progesterone levels change during, and leading up to, menopause, this can alter the entire process of digestion.
Estrogen plays a key role in keeping our cortisol levels low. Cortisol is our primary stress hormone. Its job is to make sure youre able to respond appropriately to both good and bad stressors. Corisol increases sugar in your bloodstream so that you have energy available to react to a stressful situation. It enhances your brain’s ability to use glucose so that you can respond more efficiently to stress and think more clearly under pressure. It slows or halts body functions that wouldnt be essential in a fight-or-flight situation. For example, it suppresses your GI tract and reproductive systems in a time of stress: organ systems that arent essential when you just need to survive
That being said, when estrogen levels decline in menopause, cortisol levels rise. This can have several effects on the GI tract including reduced production of stomach acid , and slowed GI motility. Slowed GI motility means it takes longer for food to travel through your digestive tract. This results in gas, bloating and constipation.
What Types Of Digestive Problems Might I Encounter
The digestive system is a vital part of the body as it plays a significant role in the operation and maintenance of the body’s mechanisms.
Women passing through the menopausal transition may encounter some form of upset in their esophagus, stomach, or intestines that can provoke bloating, constipation, diarrhea, acid reflux, irritable bowel syndrome , and more. Severity will vary from woman to woman.
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We Can Help You Manage Your Digestive Issues
- Meet with a Gennev Doctor – our board-certified gynecologists are menopause specialists who can help you understand how your digestive issues may be related to menopause, and prescribe a treatment plan to help you find relief.
- Partner with a Menopause Health Coach for nutritional and lifestyle solutions that will support your body and help you manage digestive issues.
- Try Vitality Support your whole body with Gennevs nutrient-packed multi-vitamin supplement. It helps to alleviate inflammation and joint pain, lift your mood, increase energy, support stress response and immune health.
The information on the Gennev site is never meant to replace the care of a qualified medical professional. Hormonal shifts throughout menopause can prompt a lot of changes in your body, and simply assuming something is just menopause can leave you vulnerable to other possible causes. Always consult with your physician or schedule an appointment with one of Gennev’s telemedicine doctors before beginning any new treatment or therapy.
Dr Whimsy Anderson Nd
Digestive Problems are Common As We Age
As a naturopathic doctor working in Los Angeles, I have noticed many of my patients suffer from stomach pain during menopause. The truth is, as we age, our digestion may become challenged. Typical digestive problems patients complain about are, gas, bloating, acid reflux, constipation and or diarrhea. While many of these symptoms are common in women over 40, they are just as likely to occur in men. This is because as we age, our digestive system is also aging.
I have covered the issue ofhealthy digestion in multiple YouTube videos I have done formy channel. And you can find those here. My channel is dedicated to staying healthy from 40, 50, 60 and beyond so I cover a lot of topics that about the subject of healthy digestion.
I have written about digestive health before in an article entitled Ten Simple Rules for Healthy Digestion, which I would encourage anyone suffering from digestive health challenges to peruse. However here, I will list the top foods, and or supplements, that I find most healthful in treating common digestion challenges in menopause.
Diet May Be All You Need to Change in Order to Improve Your Digestive Health
1. Gas and Bloating
2. Heartburn and Menopause
A Few Simple Changes Go a Long Way
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When To Call The Doctor
Speak with your doctor if your diarrhea is not going away or is getting worse.
- Severe abdominal or rectal pain
- Blood in your stool
- High fever
- Signs of dehydration
These can be warning signs of things like:
- Colon cancer
Your doctor will ask about your medical history, review your medications, conduct a physical exam, and order tests to determine the cause of your diarrhea.
Below are a few tests your doctor may run if you have severe diarrhea:
- Blood Test: A complete blood count test, measurement of electrolytes and kidney function tests to show the severity of your diarrhea.
- Stool test: Your doctor might recommend a stool test to see if bacteria or parasites are the cause of your diarrhea.
- Breath test: This type of test can help diagnose conditions like lactose intolerance or SIBO.
- Flexible sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy: to diagnose conditions like irritable bowel disease.
- Upper endoscopy: to examine and biopsy the stomach and upper intestines and used to diagnose conditions like celiac disease .
The Menopausal Transition And Hormonal Changes
To date, it remains to be clarified whether exogenous sex hormone use contributes to or lessens gastrointestinal disturbances among midlife women, particularly those with IBS. When examining the relationship between medication-related sex hormones and symptoms in younger women, Heitkemper et al. found that women with IBS who used oral contraceptives exhibited reduced monthly abdominal pain symptoms compared to those not using oral contraceptives . Additionally, a review incorporating both animal models as well as younger women suggests pharmacological suppression of ovarian hormones can reduce abdominal pain symptoms . Whether hormone use is linked to symptoms in midlife women was addressed in a population-based study in UK that included over 40,000 women aged 5069years with at least one prescription of menopausal hormone treatment and 50,000 aged-matched women who never used HMT. Both current and past HMT users were at a higher risk of IBS compared to non-users after adjusting for comorbidity and consultation patterns irrespective of treatment duration, regimen or HMT administration route . The discrepancy regarding the effect of sex hormones on gastrointestinal symptoms between these studies could be due to age differences in the populations studied. As such, addressing the influences of fluctuating sex hormones on gastrointestinal motility, immune markers, permeability, and pain sensitivity could inform therapies for midlife women.
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Menopause Upset Stomach And Anxiety Stress And Tension Theyre Linked
Oestrogen keeps the stress hormone cortisol in check when this sex hormone runs low during the menopause, blood pressure rises and your digestion slows down. Without oestrogen’s calming effect, adrenaline levels can rise, which switches off digestive functioning. The result: stomach pains, acid reflux, abdominal cramps, constipation, bloating and sluggish bowel.
Increased anxiety is a very common symptom of the menopause, as is a tendency to get flustered during stressful or high-pressure situations. You may get a sense or feeling that you just arent able to cope as well as you used to be able to.
Tension can leave your stomach feeling in knots.
Theres an inextricable link between the gut and the brain, so if youve got a menopause upset stomach, its certainly worth checking in on your tension levels. Again, this is down to hormones.
Hot flushes, a quintessential menopausal symptom, can also sometimes feel quite overwhelming. For many women, these progress into panic attacks. The direct link between our mind and our tummy means that any worries, stress or anxiety are mirrored in your stomach, with muscles in the gut becoming tense.
Fortunately, there are always steps we can take to look after our mental health when lifes stressful situations threaten to get the better of us.
Consider exploring a course of cognitive behavioural therapy , joining up with a local meditation group or treating yourself to regular relaxation massages perhaps even all of these!