Digestive problems might not be one of the main symptoms of the menopause, but it still affects many women. Oestrogen helps keep the stress hormone cortisol in check. But when oestrogen runs low, cortisol increases, which in turn has an impact on our digestive system. Common digestive problems include bloating, indigestion, acid reflux, abdominal cramps, constipation, diarrhoea, weight gain, flatulence and nausea.
Read on for tips on dealing with digestive problems naturally.
Beat the bloat by eating a varied diet full of fruit and plenty of veggies. The NHS recommends we eat 5 portions of fruit and veg per day – with one portion equalling 80g. As well as being a brilliant source of vitamins and minerals, fruit and vegetables are a fantastic source of fibre, which help maintain gut health and avoid constipation. If you struggle to hit your 5 a day, try adding one extra portion of fruit or veg to each meal.
Chew your food
If you eat and drink too quickly gas can build up in your digestive tract and cause bloating. Avoid eating on the go or between work calls and instead make time for your meals. Try eating at your kitchen table and chew properly. Think about the textures and flavours of your food – you might find that you become fuller much quicker.
Cut back on the booze
Drinking moderately shouldn’t cause you any digestive problems but binge drinking is another story. In the UK binge drinking counts as drinking more than 6 units of alcohol for men and 8 for women in a single session. Binge drinking increases acid production and can cause heartburn and other digestive issues. If you’re in a social situation and you want to drink alcohol, try alternating your alcoholic drinks with a glass of water.
Physical exercise is great for getting your bowels moving. If you aren’t a keen runner or the gym leaves you cold, go for a walk around your local park. Being in a calm, green space will help relax your mind as well as get your body moving.
If you have concerns about any digestive problems speak to a GP or other healthcare professional.