7. Digestive Problems
Next up on our list of menopause symptoms is: digestive pain and associated problems from the various changes our bodies undergo during perimenopause, making our bodies more prone to tummy pain.
Our digestive system becomes sluggish with our stomachs and intestines emptying at a slower pace, which causes all sorts of noises, movement and pain - cue an ensemble of gurgles and groans accompanied by strange feelings of ‘movement’, ranging from subtle flutters, twinges, bubbling and cramps to “what the actual f*ck - I’ve got an alien about to burst through my gut!”
A tad melodramatic maybe, but this issue is about sci-fi and aliens, so we thought it apt to slip that metaphor in! With all this colonic chaos, it sounds like the Daleks debating and navigating stairs, but with an emphasis on ‘Evacuate’ rather than ‘Exterminate’, if you catch our downwind drift…
It’s no secret that the perimenopause process can cause us hotties to become stressed. REALLY??? Ya don’t say…
This impacts our bellies considerably, causing quite the $hit show, with our digestive system performing more moves and toe-tapping gyrations than a dance-along to Matt Bianco’s Wap Bam Boogie!
So why oh why fellow hotties is this happening?
In a nutshell…oestrogen helps keep the stress hormone, cortisol, in check, but when oestrogen runs low, cortisol increases, raising both blood pressure and blood sugars and slowing down digestion. The results of which are in - brace yourselves!
- Acid reflux
- Abdominal cramps
- Weight gain
And adding to that illustrious list of goodies, us hotties can look forward to pre-existing conditions such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) being exacerbated by the menopause. Oh joy! Our cup of good fortune runneth over. Literally!!
So what can we do to improve digestion during this potentially turbulent time?
- Eat your food more slowly. Chew it well - your stomach doesn’t have teeth! Or, in layman’s terms - STOP eating like a pig! Be more mindful. Taste, savour and enjoy your food, rather than audition for a ‘competitive eating contest’. This will aid the ease of which food passes through your intestinal tract, allowing for a calm passage, rather than a rocky storm!!
- Try to avoid eating when stressed. Reaching for your umpteenth biscuit will not only leave you feeling sick, bloated and crampy, it will also leave you feeling gluttonous, greedy and guilty!
- Avoid junk food - aka ‘ultra processed food’ - this is usually awash with unhealthy levels of added sugar, sodium and fat, leaving you bloated. They also increase your risk of certain diseases such as heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. Women who eat a diet high in fat and added sugars are also more likely to experience hot flushes and night sweats…
- Eat foods high in ‘dietary oestrogen’, aka phytoestrogens. These may have a similar effect on the body as your natural oestrogen, so try adding to your diet soya, seeds, nuts, fruits, pulses and beans...There’s no reason why you still can’t tuck into a fat juicy burger washed down with a large G&T from time to time - moderation is key! Your gut (and overall wellbeing) will thank you for it!
If you are concerned about changes in your digestive/bowel habits, don’t hesitate to get yourself checked out by your GP. Prevention is better than cure.
Oh the joys of the perimenopause and menopause!
It’s a major transition, a personal journey into a parallel universe where life as you know it ceases to exist. It’s like someone’s flicked a switch and your body has a mind of its own and your mind undergoes a personality transplant!
Your body and transition is unique to you, we all experience the peri/menopause differently but there is all one thing we have in common hotties, the desire to politely tell it to pi$$ off!
Love J x