top of page
Search

Gut Feelings: Navigating Perimenopause and Menopause Through Digestive Health


 

DIGESTIVE HEALTH is like a domino effect......stress, hormone changes and nutrition all impact digestion


Okay my friends, this topic is crucial to chat about when talking about perimenopausal and menopausal symptoms. How is your gut health? Read on to find out why GUT HEALTH is THE place to start when wanting to feel better, have less symptoms, lose midlife weight gain, have more energy and increase positive moods. Wow, that is alot impacted by our gut health!!!


If you are experiencing perimenopausal symptoms and you aren't sure how to get started feeling better, this is 100% where you should begin. Watch for an online course on gut health that I will release by August, 2024.




 

Here are some of the areas that your digestive health impacts:

1. Sluggish Metabolism: Poor digestion can slow down metabolic processes, making it more challenging for the body to efficiently burn calories and maintain a healthy weight. This can result in a tendency to store excess calories as fat, contributing to weight gain over time.

2. Hormone Balance: Digestive health influences the metabolism and elimination of hormones, potentially affecting hormonal balance during perimenopause.

3. Symptom Severity: Poor digestion can exacerbate perimenopausal symptoms such as bloating, constipation, and indigestion.

4. Nutrient Absorption: Digestive issues may hinder the absorption of essential nutrients vital for overall health and well-being during perimenopause.

5. Energy Levels: Efficient digestion supports energy production, while digestive problems can lead to fatigue and decreased vitality during perimenopause.

6. Emotional Well-being: Gut health affects neurotransmitter production, influencing mood and emotional stability, which are already susceptible to fluctuations during perimenopause.



 




My personal experience with digestive health


 

Without grossing you out, I will tell you that this is a part of my life that I have always struggled with. My official diagnosis is IBS, and if anyone has digestive health issues, you know that this little label just doesn't shine light into the challenges proper digestive health can be.


Ever since I can remember, I have had tummy issues. Stress impacts my digestion immediately, what I eat impacts my digestion, the amount of sleep I have and so on, and so on.


When I was around 35 years old, I discovered that I am gluten intolerant, and made the shift to eating gluten free. If I can stick to a gluten free nutrition plan, low sugar and high fiber, mostly my digestive system functions okay.


And then enter perimenopause.


Like lots of us, the hormone fluctuations in perimenopause have blessed me with a myriad of symptoms over the past 7 years. One of these symptoms for me is a sluggish digestive system. Which comes first though, a sluggish digestive system and then increased symptoms or symptoms and then a sluggish digestive system??


This journey through perimenopause has included a variety of significant symptoms for me including hot flashes, anxiety, night sweats, low energy and mood and poor digestion. I believe in my body's wisdom and ability to heal itself, so I am learning all I can as a yoga and health professional to figure out how to reduce symptoms and feel better.


If you are looking to lose weight, increase energy and reduce symptoms, improving your digestive health is WHERE TO START.


I am training to be an Ayurvedic Nutrition and Health Consultant, as this ancient wisdom has so much to offer for relief of perimenopause and menopause symptoms and how to increase overall health. In Ayurveda, reducing inflammation to improve digestive health involves a holistic approach that incorporates dietary and lifestyle changes, along with the use of herbs and spices known for their anti-inflammatory properties.


Some of the things I have learned that you can implement today:


  1. Reducing inflammation:

    1. drink aloe vera juice before bed and first thing in the morning (this has been a game changer for me)

  2. Drink warm water not cold water for digestive health

  3. Drink soothing teas like fennel tea or CCF tea (message me for recipes)

  4. Exercise regularly for optimal digestive health

  5. CASTOR OIL PACKS!!!

  6. Increase your fibre uptake in your diet including legumes, flax seed. Emphasize whole, unprocessed foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and healthy fats. - Favor warm, cooked meals over cold or raw foods, as they are easier to digest. - Include spices like turmeric, ginger, cumin, coriander, and fennel in your cooking, as they have potent anti-inflammatory properties. - Avoid processed foods, refined sugars, excess caffeine, and alcohol, which can contribute to inflammation and disrupt digestion.

  7. Practice Mindful Eating: - Eat in a calm, relaxed environment, free from distractions. - Chew your food thoroughly to aid digestion and promote the release of digestive enzymes. - Avoid overeating and try to eat smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day.


 

The skinny on digestive health in perimenopause


Perimenopause and menopause are transformative stages in a woman's life, marked by a myriad of physical and emotional changes. While hot flashes, mood swings, and hormonal fluctuations often take center stage, one aspect that is frequently overlooked is digestion. Yet, digestion plays a pivotal role during this time, influencing hormone balance and overall well-being. In this blog, we delve into why digestion is essential during perimenopause and menopause, and how prioritizing gut health can alleviate symptoms and enhance quality of life.


Understanding the Connection:

The intricate interplay between hormones and digestion is undeniable. Hormonal fluctuations, characteristic of perimenopause and menopause, can directly impact digestive processes. Estrogen, progesterone, and other hormones play crucial roles in maintaining gut health, regulating digestion, and promoting nutrient absorption. However, as hormone levels fluctuate, digestive function may become compromised, leading to a range of issues such as bloating, constipation, and indigestion.


Imbalance Breeds Discomfort:

Imbalances in gut health during perimenopause and menopause can exacerbate symptoms and contribute to overall discomfort. When digestion is impaired, it can exacerbate hormonal imbalances, creating a vicious cycle of symptoms. For example, inadequate digestion can hinder the elimination of excess estrogen from the body, potentially exacerbating estrogen dominance and associated symptoms like breast tenderness and mood swings.


The Impact of Stress:

Moreover, the hormonal changes experienced during perimenopause and menopause can also affect stress levels, which in turn influence digestion. Chronic stress can disrupt the delicate balance of gut bacteria, leading to dysbiosis and further digestive distress. Additionally, stress can impair the production of digestive enzymes and decrease blood flow to the digestive tract, slowing down digestion and exacerbating symptoms such as bloating and abdominal discomfort.


Prioritizing Gut Health:


Given the significant impact of digestion on hormone balance and overall well-being, prioritizing gut health becomes paramount during perimenopause and menopause. Incorporating dietary and lifestyle strategies to support digestion can help alleviate symptoms and promote hormonal harmony.


1. Balanced Diet: Emphasize whole, nutrient-dense foods such as fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Incorporate fiber-rich foods to support regular bowel movements and promote detoxification. Limit processed foods, sugar, and caffeine, which can exacerbate digestive issues and disrupt hormone balance.


2. Hydration: Stay adequately hydrated to support digestion and maintain optimal bowel function. Aim to drink plenty of water throughout the day, and consider incorporating herbal teas or infused water for added flavor and benefits.


3. Stress Management: Prioritize stress-reducing practices such as mindfulness meditation, yoga, deep breathing exercises, or spending time in nature. Managing stress effectively can positively impact digestion and hormone balance.


4. Probiotics and Prebiotics: Incorporate probiotic-rich foods such as yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi to support a healthy gut microbiome. Additionally, consume prebiotic foods like garlic, onions, leeks, and asparagus to nourish beneficial gut bacteria.


5. Digestive Support: Consider incorporating digestive enzymes or herbal supplements to support digestion and alleviate symptoms such as bloating and indigestion. Consult with a healthcare provider or registered dietitian for personalized recommendations.




Watch for my online course on digestive health that I will launch by August, 2024. So excited to share this wisdom! Hopefully the tips I've shared in this blog post can keep things moving until the course is launched!


 

Prioritizing digestion is crucial during perimenopause and menopause for maintaining hormone balance and overall well-being. By adopting dietary and lifestyle strategies to support gut health, you can alleviate symptoms, optimize digestion, and navigate this transformative stage with greater ease and vitality.


However, it's important to acknowledge that even with the best efforts and adherence to the suggestions provided, a digestive system may still be sluggish at times. In such instances, patience and consistency are key. Remember, empowering yourself with knowledge and taking proactive steps to care for your body can make all the difference in your journey through perimenopause and menopause.



 


Until next time,


With love,


Shauna


50 views0 comments

Comments


bottom of page