written by Lauren Curl-Ferrell on October 28, 2021. Medical Data sourced and sited from the National Institute of Health.
The Connection Between Gut Health and Hormones Everyone in Menopause Should Know
Gut health, also known as, the microbiome. It is a very hot topic right now. It wasn't until a few years ago that scientists started creating a connection between the gut and female hormones.
Since they did, researchers have found that female sex hormone levels influence the composition of the microbiota in many sites of the body, ESPECIALLY the gut.
Even though there have been plenty of studies done on this since the first discovery of it, there are still many unanswered questions on the depth of microbiota during the life chapter of menopause.
Here's What We Know
We do know that the overall well being and gut health are linked heavily.
We also know that there are steps that we can all do to boost our gut's success during perimenopause and postmenopause.
The gut microbiome is a key regulator of metabolism and influences the metabolism of estrogens.
Menopause has been shown to alter the gut microbiome time and time again.
So are there any solutions? Yes, 100 percent yes. Let's talk about those steps and solutions that we can do.
What is the Microbiome?
Listen, I don't know about you, but I do know that sometimes I need things explained to me like I'm 5. So, I'm going to do that for whoever needs it. Let's get into it.
The microbiome is the gut's complex ecosystem made up of billions of bacteria.
The bacteria that is located here is responsible for some pretty major bodily functions. Functions like digestion, immune response, cerebral activity, and others.
When the gut is balanced and is filled with beneficial bacteria (you know- the good ones) it promotes sustained wellness and a MUCH easier and better perimenopause and postmenopause experience. It makes menopause a breeze.
An unbalanced gut is often the underlying cause of things like acid reflux, and, in some cases, depression and anxiety. This happens because that good good bacteria has been compromised by other bacteria populations.
Gut health has to be a priority during menopause and midlife women in general.
The gut bacteria will form, basically, a blueprint of your body systems and how they operate. If this blueprint is doing some wild stuff, chances are your body will be signaling for help. If it could - it would be writing S.O.S out somewhere.
How Does the Microbiome Affect Hormones and Menopause
Can I break it down a bit further for you?
The gut never lies. And neither does all the science that is behind it.
The gut is the basis of hormonal response. The gut is the ring leader. It's the captain of the ship.
So how can we effectively boost our gut health to have minimal menopausal systems?
The Gut-Hormone Connection
Here is what's really cool about all of this. We have a lot of control over the microbiome - this control helps make menopause symptoms easier to manage. We just have to know how to manipulate it.
Here are the biological functions of the microbiome:
- Metabolizing Drugs
- Maintaining the Body's Homeostasis
- Producing Short-Chain Fatty Acids
- Producing Anti-Inflammatory Secretions and Responses the Body Needs
- Fighting Invasive Pathogens
- Acts as an Endocrine Organ
Let's expand a bit more on the last one about the endocrine system, and how it affects women during menopause.
What is the Endocrine System?
This is the lead singer of the band that produces hormones. It's the body's network of glands that makes hormones.
What we've learned so far from this article is that the microbiome operates more like an organ of the endocrine system.
Researchers have observed that certain gut bacteria will produce hormonal chemicals. These chemicals are released into the bloodstream.
From there - they will travel throughout the body to other organs and also migrate to the brain.
Further studies also created evidence that says that there is a direct link between the hormones that are associated with metabolism to higher populations of certain bacterial strains in the gut.
If you feel like googling these bacterial strains, their names are Ruminococcaceae and Lachnospiraceae.
Let me explain this a little easier - the gut's microbiome is the command center. It will create and disseminate the proper hormones and have them go to the proper places. The bacteria forms the blueprint.
Gut Health During Perimenopause
When the body begins to decline in estrogen productions, it goes into the stages of perimenopause.
Remember when we used to believe that menopause was an overrates thing only? Now we know the importance of the gut and how it really can alter our experience.
If this is starting here's what your body can do:
Create hot flashes
The microbiome regulates estrogen levels and remember we have a lot of control over the microbiome.
In order to figure out how to better control our menopause, we need to talk about estrobolome.
Estrobolome specifically works to metabolize estrogens. And in a healthy and balanced gut, the estrobolome maintains homeostasis.
Estrogen and the Microbiome
When there is a deficiency or excess of free estrogen, it's because the microbiome is unbalanced and distressed.
When that happens, estrogen related health drama will appear.
That’s where those annoying menopausal symptoms come from.
And there’s also evidence that a compromised estrobolome in postmenopausal women is associated with an increased risk of osteoporosis, obesity, and cardiovascular disease. The risk spike is caused by the aggravation of the low-estrogen state by an imbalanced gut.
3 Easy Ways to Boost Your Gut Health
Boosting your microbiome health now will have a tremendous effect on your menopausal symptoms and overall health.
All of these are easy and doable changes. These suggestions are a great way to create a better menopause.
1. Change what you eat
Ditch the processed foods. They've always been known to be harder on the gut. So cut them out as best as you can. Add things like sauerkraut and kombucha. Add anything that has live probiotic strains that can help replenish good bacteria quickly.
2. Incorporate a Daily Probiotic
Enzybiotic is a blend of plant-based enzymes and 10-strain probiotic to help ease discomfort and restore digestive balance.
It also offers many health benefits:
- Supporting stomach health and gut flora
- Restoring gut microbiome
- Help heal skin conditions like acne, eczema, and psoriasis
- Assisting with appetite control and weight loss
- Boosting the body’s natural immunity
- Promoting intestinal health and nutrient absorption
- Helping your body fight colds and flu naturally
- Supporting the body to heal gut permeability and leaky gut syndrome
- Strengthening your immune system.
3. Avoid antibiotics
Only if this is possible. But let's break it down. Antibiotics are destroyers of bacteria. It's their job to do so.
But if the issue at hand is not serious - speak to your doctor or health professionals about other approaches. Whether it be a few days of rest, or fluids. Probiotics and raw juices have been also noted to help with immunity.
The Wrap Up
Just like the immune system, the endocrine system and our hormonal network are in a relationship of mutual causality with our gut. Keeping your gut health in mind and in check will have sweeping impacts not only on menopausal symptoms but your general well-being altogether.