Digestive Problems

Digestive Problems and MenopauseDigestive Problems and Menopause

The digestive system is an all-important part of the body that can determine the overall health of an individual. Many women report that digestive problems begin to occur in the years leading up to menopause, called peri-menopause. Not only can digestive problems cause discomfort, but they can also lead to more serious health concerns.

Hormonal imbalance during peri-menopause is one of the primary causes of digestive problems for women between the ages of 45 and 55. Luckily there are treatments that can bring a woman´s hormones back in balance and relieve her digestive problems and other menopausal symptoms.

About Digestive Problems

Women are two times more likely than men to develop digestive problems. Digestive problems, also known as gastrointestinal problems or dysbiosis, in women prior to menopause can come in an array of forms. Each form has to do with how food is broken down once consumed.
Because the digestive system is a complex function of the body, issues can arise anywhere along the trip that food takes, from consumption to expulsion.

How the Digestive System Works

Digestion involves mixing food with digestive juices, moving it through the digestive tract, and breaking down large pieces of food into smaller pieces. Digestion begins in the mouth, with the act of chewing and swallowing, and is completed in the small intestine.

Once food or liquid is swallowed, the stomach then takes over by storing the food and liquid, mixing the food, liquid and digestive juice produced by the stomach, and finally emptying the contents slowly into the small intestine where nutrients are absorbed. The mixture then moves to the large intestine and colon and waits to be expelled as feces.

Symptoms of Digestive Problems

There are different symptoms of digestive problems that can indicate different causes. Below of some of the common symptoms of digestive problems:

  • Cramps
  • Bloating
  • Gas
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • A false urge to have a bowel movement.

Causes of Digestive Problems

Although there are many potential causes of digestive problems, there´s a high likelihood that digestive problems experienced as menopause approaches have a lot to do with hormonal imbalance.

As a woman´s body prepares for menopause, production of her hormones, particularly estrogen and progesterone, begin to decrease. The hormones regulate many different functions of the body, and when their levels are altered prior to menopause, she may experience some or all of the menopause symptoms, including digestive problems.

Hormonal Causes of Digestive Problems

Cortisol is a “stress hormone” produced by the adrenaline gland involved in stress responses. It is known to impede digestion and create digestive problems, among other adverse
reaction, such as anxiety and panic disorders.
As a result of imbalanced hormones during menopause there is a high level of cortisol in a woman´s body.
Estrogen has an inhibitive affect on the stress-hormone cortisol. When estrogen is too low, levels of cortisol rise, raising blood pressure and blood sugar, and slowing down the release of
stomach acid and the emptying of the stomach into the small intestine.
This can create some of the symptoms of digestive problems such as gas, bloating and constipation.

Other Causes

There are several other possible causes of digestive problems beyond hormonal causes. Some of these other causes are:

Stress 

  • Antibiotics
  • Drugs
  • Environmental toxins
  • Genetics
  • Eating habits
    • Not chewing food enough
    • Bad food combinations (heavy starched proteins)
Poor diet

  • Processed food
  • Lack of fiber
  • Lack of raw food
  • Food allergies
  • Junk food
Risk Factor
Some activities or factors can
enhance a person´s susceptibility
to digestive problems. Below is a
list of risk factors:

  • Smoking cigarettes
  • Drinking alcohol excessively
  • Inactivity
  • Depression
  • Age

Treatment for Menopausal Symptoms: