Going through menopause can be difficult, and if you already suffer from constipation, it can get worse. That’s because you’re declining hormone levels affect your bowel function. Hormones affect your digestion and bowel transit time, which is how fast food moves through your gastrointestinal tract. As your hormone levels drop, specifically estrogen, your bowels become more difficult to pass. Estrogen actually keeps epithelial tissue hydrated and healthy, allowing your large intestine to draw in enough water to make your bowel movements softer.
If you suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome, experiencing more constipation than diarrhea, you may notice that it gets worse during menopause. Part of the issue is that as your progesterone levels lower in perimenopause, your bowels can actually become a little irritable. You may have bouts of digestion discomfort and more abdominal cramping. Indigestion and malabsorption is not uncommon, and can definitely affect your bowel movements. Your low estrogen levels can lower hydrochloric acid in your stomach, and cause less bile to flow from the liver to the gallbladder, making it difficult to properly digest protein and fat.
What controls all your hormones is your hypothalamus. Your hypothalamus actually controls the neuroendocrine response of your gut, communicating with your gastrointestinal tract directing its function. I’ve had patients with both types of IBS be able to correct their irritable bowel issues by supporting their hypothalamus.
So what can be done about your constipation during menopause?
The first thing you need to do is make sure you’re drinking enough water. If you’re not well hydrated, your stools are much drier and harder. Your bowels need you to be hydrated in order for them to function properly. The amount of water you need to drink is about half of an ounce per pound of body weight. So if you weigh 120 pounds, that would be 60 ounces or almost a gallon of water.
However, water itself is not enough. You also need to get enough electrolytes, as it’s the electrolytes that actually help the water get into the cells. Electrolytes include sodium, potassium, chloride, and magnesium. You get electrolytes by eating a plant-based diet, with lots of fruits and vegetables. Making sure you’re eating sea salt can help too. The other thing you can do is to increase the fiber in your diet. Fiber is super important in actually drawing water into the bowels so that your stools are softer. You get fiber from vegetables, fruits, grains, and legumes. To stay healthy, you really need to digest quite a bit of fiber– at least 25-30 grams a day.
All of my patients make sure their hypothalamus is well supported, which helps their gut stay healthy. I noticed an improvement in my gut health in 2003 when I started supporting my hypothalamus with Genesis Gold. I suffered from constipation since I was a child, and even got hooked on laxatives in my teenage years. But nothing ever really worked until I got my hypothalamus in balance and started having regular bowel movements. Healthy gut function improved detoxification and even cleared my skin. With Genesis Gold, I am still able to maintain healthy digestion and healthy bowel movements through menopause.
We talk a lot about these crazy menopausal symptoms, even the odd ones like changes in our bowels, in our hormone support group which you can get access to do by signing up for my Hormone Reboot Training. Through this, you’ll also get access to the liver cleanse diet that I developed for my patients, which really helps clean out their bowels. I hope you’ll join us!