• midlifehealthcoach

Three Tips to Improve your Midlife Gut Health

Updated: Feb 2

Before we can dive deep into improving our gut health, it’s important that we understand this complex ecosystem.

Your microbiome is made up of billions of bacteria. These bacteria are ultimately responsible for major bodily function.

The benefits of a balanced gut, usually the result of clean living, include long term wellness and a better menopause experience.

An unbalanced gut is often the underlying cause of everything from acid reflux to depression and anxiety, both common during the menopause journey making gut health even more important for midlife women.

A healthy gut has a lot to offer on the journey through perimenopause all the way to postmenopause!

Basically I want you to think of your gut’s microbiome as the command center, base camp for making sure the proper hormones pass through the proper channels to get to the proper places.

As you know perimenopause is the stage in the menopause journey when your body has begun its decline in estrogen production. Most of us think this is all about the ovaries, but we’re learning through science that the gut plays a vital role in this decline as well.

Fluctuating levels of estrogen show up in the body as:

  • hot flashes

  • depression

  • mood swings

  • breast pain

  • Insomnia

Now take a wild guess as to what regulates estrogen levels…that’s right! Your MICROBIOME!

But the relationship between the gut and estrogen is not a one-way street.

While the gut regulates and affects estrogen levels, the natural decline of estrogen levels caused by menopause has a direct effect on the microbiome. It's a nice little circle that can cause midlife struggles like midsection weight gain and/or IBS.

The good news is that as you improve your microbiome health you will begin to see improvements in your overall health and with those annoying menopausal symptoms.

Midlife and your menopause journey are a great stage in life to kick start some easy and positive changes. Today I just want you to start with 3 simple steps you can implement immediately to help you improve your gut health starting NOW!! Whether you are just starting to feel the effects of Menopause, are knee deep in it, or one of our lucky postmenopause gals (because YES! Your gut health still matters!!) these simple tips can make a huge difference in how you feel!

#1 AVOID ANTIBIOTICS (whenever possible). Antibiotics are known destroyers of bacteria by nature. Antibiotics disrupt the gut’s delicate ecosystem and also decrease the body’s ability to fight off infection on its own. If the issue at hand is not serious, try to avoid taking an antibiotic. A few days of rest, fluids, probiotics, and a healthy diet can do wonders for immunity. (But always talk to your doctor first!)

#2 CLEAN UP YOUR DIET! Cutting out processed foods that are gut-killers is the best place to start. I encourage my clients to incorporate more fermented foods like sauerkraut, kombucha, and kefir into their midlife diet. These have live probiotic strains that can replenish beneficial bacteria fast. Regular consumption of fermented foods is associated with longevity - something we’re all looking for!!

#3 TRY TAKING A DAILY PROBIOTIC. Because our low estrogen levels can greatly impact our microbiome's balance, a daily probiotic is super helpful when it comes to providing that good flora. Look for a supplement that contains multiple types of strains. An ounce of apple cider vinegar daily is also known to be a great gut-booster.

I get a lot of questions about probiotics - what brand to take (PS this is a stock photo not a brand I recommend), what ingredients to look for, the benefits of using them . . . so here you go:

There are so many changes women go through as a result of the dramatic reduction in their hormone levels that simply occur naturally during menopause. Changes in digestive and bowel habits, changes in skin health, a decrease of quality sleep, even an increase of depression, anxiety, high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and osteoporosis. All resulting from our fluctuating hormones.

Now there is definitely more research that needs to be conducted on the efficacy and targeted use of probiotics during menopause, but research has shown evidence to some of the benefits we get with using probiotics as we age.

  • May reduce inflammation throughout the body

  • May alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety

  • May help lower blood pressure and high cholesterol

  • May improve immunity

  • May support a healthy vaginal microflora (helping to fight off postmenopausal vaginal infections - super common issue)

  • May help prevent urinary tract infections

  • May help reduce menopausal symptoms when combined with other supplements

  • May prevent constipation (a common menopause symptom)

Keeping your gut health balanced is going to have so many positive benefits for your menopausal symptoms but also for your overall health and wellness!

And always, with any change in routine or diet, be sure to discuss adding a probiotic with your healthcare provider to make sure it’s appropriate for you.

Whether you’re just starting to dip your toes into perimenopause, continuing to experience symptoms into postmenopause, or simply looking for some guidance on what to expect in the coming years of life, I’m here for you! For more information and support around your menopause journey, as well as ideas for symptom relief, book a free discovery call and let’s find you some relief!!

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