Digestive Problems In Menopause

Digestive problems are common during perimenopause and menopause and they can cause a range of symptoms, from weight gain and increased appetite to constipation and increased flatulence.

Menopause and digestive problems

Hormonal fluctuations can affect digestion, as oestrogen has an important relationship with cortisol, which is the body's fight or flight hormone. When oestrogen levels are high, cortisol levels are low and this keeps everything in check; when oestrogen levels start to fall in the run-up to menopause, cortisol levels may rise and this can lead to the release of adrenaline. Adrenaline affects digestion and effectively turns the digestive system off as the body perceives that it is under stress; when digestive function is impaired, this results in symptoms such as:

  • constipation
  • diarrhoea
  • bloating
  • indigestion
  • abdominal pain

Remedies for digestive problems

Diet and eating habits are really important if you are suffering from digestive problems and it's advisable to make sure you chew your food thoroughly, eat smaller meals and take your time when you are eating. Try to avoid anything very heavy, especially late at night, stay hydrated and avoid foods and drinks that are difficult to process, such as caffeinated products and sugary foods. Using probiotics, such as specially formulated yoghurts and drinks, can also help to aid digestion.

If symptoms persist or they are severe, you should consult your GP. There are various treatments, which can help and your doctor will decide upon the best option based on the nature of your symptoms and the cause. If problems are purely linked to menopause, HRT (hormone replacement therapy) may be recommended.

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