One of the main jobs of the digestive system is to break down the food we eat and ensure our bodies absorb all of the nutrients. This means our food is being processed well and we are gaining energy from the food we eat.
Menopause and digestion
In order for our digestive system to work efficiently, our hormones need to be in balance with one another, which we know becomes an issue during peri-menopause and menopause.
Our hormones, in particular, oestrogen and progesterone help to regulate our body functions, including digestion. One of the roles of oestrogen is to influence the levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. When oestrogen levels are high, cortisol levels are kept low, resulting in our blood sugar and blood pressure levels being regulated well.
When oestrogen levels drop during peri-menopause and menopause, cortisol levels can rise. This higher level of cortisol causes the digestive system to slow down and may lead to a release of stomach acid.
In addition, oestrogen has a calming effect on adrenalin. Low levels of oestrogen can result in adrenalin levels rising, causing the digestive system not to work efficiently. This in turn leads to the various digestive problem’s women experience during menopause.
Some of the digestive problems that may be experienced during peri-menopause and menopause are:
• Abdominal Pain
Tips for a healthier digestive system
Menopause and digestion can mean different things to various women. Thankfully though due to the wide range of digestive problems that may be being experienced, there are numerous remedies available. Some will be beneficial for certain digestive problems, while others would be more suitable for other problems.
Menopause and digestion symptoms
Bloating is very common amongst women going through the menopause. Not only is it uncomfortable but it can also have a negative impact on our body confidence. Tips for managing bloating are:
When you feel bloated you may feel like not drinking or eating, but it is really important that you stay hydrated as not drinking enough water can actually prolong your bloating.
Avoid Fizzy Drinks
Avoid fizzy drinks as much as possible as the gas will only make your bloating worse.
Reduce your Caffeine intake
Caffeine can also be a trigger for bloating as it can overstimulate the digestive system. However, there is no need to cut caffeine out completely.
Certain foods are also known to trigger bloating so try keeping a food diary for two weeks, along with when you experience any bloating, to see if you can spot any patterns or triggers. Some common foods that can cause bloating are broccoli, beans, onions, cauliflower, sprouts, and cabbage.
A 20-minute walk or another kind of exercise can really help alleviate bloating as it gets the gas moving and helps prevent it from building up.
Turmeric is well known for its health promoting properties and the numerous benefits it can bring to women who are experiencing menopausal symptoms. One of these benefits is easing digestion problems such as bloating and flatulence.
Turmeric is an acquired taste though, so one way of taking it is with a flavoured Turmeric tea. These come in Spicy Chai, Matcha, Vanilla and Orange flavours. Browse the full range of Turmeric teas here.
For a more in depth look into menopausal bloating you may like to read the blog ‘Menopause Bloating’.
This can be extremely uncomfortable and cause stomach pain. Thankfully, there are numerous home remedies that can really help.
Increase your fibre intake
According to the NHS, adults need to be eating 30grams of fibre a day. To increase your fibre intake try adding foods such as:
• Brown rice
• Dried Fruit
• Fruit – apples, pears, bananas
• Wholemeal Bread
Exercising can help the bowel to work as efficiently as possible so try to incorporate some exercise into your weekly routine.
Keeping well hydrated can help to soften stools. For tips on how to increase your water intake, browse our ‘drink more water’ section on our website.
Keep your knees up!
Using a footstool when going to the toilet raises your knees so that they are higher than your hips. This puts you in the best position for emptying your bowels. There are many toilet stools made for this purpose on the market.
One such toilet seat, is the Squat Easy
(this is an affiliate link so if you decide to make a purchase through this link, Menodelight will obtain commission, at no cost to you).
Indigestion and Heartburn
Indigestion and heartburn can cause a lot of discomfort during the day and night. Some tips to help are:
Keep an eye on your weight
Being overweight can increase how often you experience these digestive problems so try and keep your weight in check.
Eat food slowly
Eat food slowly ensuring you chew it properly.
Keep a food diary
Certain foods may trigger indigestion and heartburn. By keeping a food diary for two weeks, along with when you experience any signs of indigestion or heartburn, you may be able spot any foods that are triggers. These can then be avoided. Spicy and fatty foods are thought to cause indigestion so are best avoided where possible.
Avoid eating 3-4 hours before you go to bed. Propping yourself up on a few pillows instead of laying down flat can stop stomach acid from rising.
Avoid certain medication
It is detailed on the nhs website that ibuprofen or aspirin may make indigestion worse, so avoid if you can.
Supplements to ease digestive problems
Menodelight stock a number of supplements that can aid digestion problems.
Solgar Psyllium Husks Fibre is a soluble fibre and is an easy way to increase your fibre intake.
Solgar Advanced Acidophilus increases the level of friendly bacteria in your gut.
Nutri Advanced Similase supports the digestion of fats, carbohydrates and proteins, as well as plant fibres and sugars including lactose to help ease digestion.
We recommend discussing your symptoms with your GP prior to taking any supplements to ensure that it is safe for you to do so.
Should you wish to discuss your dietary needs with a Nutritional Expert please visit Samantha Marcus’ page here and if you are worried about your symptoms please seek medical advice.
Shop by symptom at Menodelight where you can browse natural products to help alleviate digestion problems plus many other symptoms. Shop here