Did you know that gut health and menopause are interconnected? So to alleviate the menopause symptoms, you need to improve your diet. Here’s how.
When it comes to learning about menopause, your ovaries get all the attention. While your ovaries do produce progesterone and estrogen, another part of your body actually regulates how much of those hormones are absorbed: your microbiome.
Yes, the bacteria and fungi in your gut actually do affect your menopause symptoms!
Read on to discover more about this little-known phenomenon and learn what you can do to improve your gut health and your menopause symptoms at once.
Gut Health And Menopause
Your microbiome, aka your gut flora, play a huge role in your overall health, influencing everything from how you digest fiber to how your immune system reacts to infections.
A certain subset of your microbiome, called your estrobolome, actually governs your estrogen metabolism. This is why menopause and bloating are related, as well as other tummy issues.
The microbes in your estrobolome work to break down estrogen and release it into the bloodstream so your body can metabolize it.
Otherwise, the estrogen gets stored in your tissues in an unusable form, which can contribute to rising cortisol levels, cancer, and other health issues.
Basically, the estrobolome acts as an endocrine organ, even though it’s not officially part of the hormone system.
While you have probably never heard of the estrobolome before, this set of microbes plays a key role in your menopause experience due to their impact on estrogen.
Your estrogen levels fluctuate throughout menopause, sometimes going up and sometimes going down, which causes:
- Pesky hot flashes;
- Mood swings;
- Breast pain;
- Vaginal dryness;
- And other symptoms.
This contrasts with both progesterone and testosterone, which steadily decline throughout menopause.
If your estrobolome is unable to break down the excess estrogen during the upswings, it builds up in your body, which can trigger feelings of anger and depression.
Over time, high estrogen levels can cause your cortisol levels to rise, which can in turn make your body more insulin resistant.
Among other things, insulin resistance can cause your already low progesterone and testosterone levels to drop even further, worsening your menopause symptoms, creating a negative cycle.
If you don’t have the healthiest estrobolome ever, there are things you can do to improve it. Read on to find out more!
Tips To Make Your Estrobolome Thrive
About 60 types of bacteria and fungi are included in your estrobolome, and the more types you have, the better.
1. Eat A Wide Variety Of Produce
To increase the diversity of your estrobolome, make sure that you are eating a wide variety of produce, including fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, spices, and herbs.
These foods contain both prebiotics and probiotics as well as fiber and polyphenols, all of which contribute to a healthy and diverse gut flora.
2. Eat Healthy Fats
You also want to protect your gut lining from inflammation by eating healthy fats, such as those in fish, avocados, and olive oils.
These healthy fats produce short-chain fatty acids that work to protect the lining of your gut from getting irritated and inflamed.
Try to replace more unhealthy, processed fats with these naturally occurring healthy fats, and your intestines will thank you.
3. Avoid Sugary And Processed Foods
As for foods you should avoid, items that are highly processed and/or high in sugar top the list. These unhealthy foods destroy the good bacteria in your gut, including the estrobolome, undoing the balance you have created by eating healthy foods.
Try to limit your consumption of these processed foods and replace them with other items on this list.
4. Take A Probiotic Supplement
You may also wish to take a daily probiotic to further boost your gut flora. Look for one that contains multiple types of strains and not only one.
However, make sure that you aren’t depending on a probiotic to do all the work for you. As the name suggests, it’s a supplement to what you are already doing, not a replacement.
A probiotic pill won’t do you much good if you are still avoiding fruits and vegetables and still eating highly processed sugary foods.
5. Sleep Enough
Getting enough sleep — and high-quality sleep at that — will also help boost your microbiome even further.
We know that menopause can make sleeping hard due to night sweats and other issues, so just do the best that you can and try not to fret about it too much.
Improve Your Diet
While you can’t control going through menopause, you can control what you eat, and it will have a direct impact on your gut health.
If you significantly improve your diet, your estrobolome will start showing signs of improvement in a matter of weeks, and you will feel better as a result.
You will need to keep up with the dietary changes in order to continue to reap the benefits, but it’s so worth it.
While the microbiome was long ignored, in recent years, doctors and researchers have been looking further into the connection between our gut health and the rest of our health, including menopause symptoms.
Your microbiome has a direct impact on how severe your menopause symptoms are, and taking steps to improve your estrobolome will in turn help provide menopause relief.
Follow the tips in this article to start seeing improvements in your gut health very soon!