Menopause and Gut Health


What Is the Gut Microbiome?

The microbiome is a unique ecosystem of billions of bacteria living in the gut. These bacteria regulate major body activities, from digestion to mental function to immunological response. A healthy gut, rich in helpful bacteria, usually results from good lifestyle choices that prioritize your health. It can also help with a more pleasant perimenopause and postmenopause experience. In contrast, an unhealthy gut can decrease the quality of life, especially throughout menopause transition. Read more about the link between your gut and menopause, how menopause affects the gut microbiome, and how you can use probiotics to promote gut health.

What Is the Link Between Menopause and the Gut Microbiome?

During perimenopause, hormonal shifts, namely progesterone, estrogen, and testosterone changes, are linked to hot flashes, difficulty sleeping, digestive difficulties, mood swings, anxiety, and much more.

However, many people are unaware that the gut plays a vital role in managing many symptoms associated with menopause.

Gut bacteria influence and serve as a catalyst for processes at the microbiological level. They serve as a roadmap for how your gut will work. If your gut health is imbalanced, you will feel imbalanced too.

For instance, if you’re experiencing acid reflux, indigestion, and even hair loss or anxiety, an imbalanced gut might be the culprit.

What Effects Does Menopause Have on My Digestive System (Gut Microbiome)?

When your estrogen levels drop, your gastrointestinal function suffers as a result. Your changing hormones may cause:

Tissues Lining the Stomach Grow Weaker

Estrogen aids in renewing collagen in our bodies, mainly the collagen in our intestines. As a result, the tissue in your digestive tract may weaken when your estrogen levels drop. You’ve probably heard of the term ‘leaky gut,’ which describes when spaces form between the cells lining the digestive tract. A leaky gut impairs the gastrointestinal tract and may impact your immune system.

More Likely to Develop Food Allergies

Food intolerances and allergies are exacerbated by weakened digestive tract tissue and a leaky gut. Particles of undigested food can enter the bloodstream, where they are recognized as foreign by your immune cells, prompting an immunological reaction. An immunological reaction occurs each time food is consumed.

Indigestion Becomes More Frequent

The stress hormone cortisol is secreted in response to estrogen. As a result, when estrogen levels drop, cortisol levels rise, slowing digestion. Due to this, you may have bloating, gastroesophageal reflux, and stomach pain.

Blood Glucose Levels Are Often Elevated

Estrogen and progesterone both have an impact on how cells respond to insulin and glucose. As your body becomes more resistant to insulin and blood glucose levels become more imbalanced, reduced hormone production may raise your risk of Type II Diabetes.

Change In Overall Health

Your microbiome, made up of ‘good bacteria,’ helps you maintain good gut health, regular bowel movements, muscle mass, and blood glucose levels.

Because estrogen acts in combination with your good bacteria, an imbalance between infection-causing and helpful bacteria can occur when estrogen levels drop. The gut-brain connection may have an impact on mood and cognitive function.

How Menopause Affects the Gut Health of Women of Color?

According to a study published in the NAMS journal, Menopause, race and ethnicity are significant factors affecting the number and severity of gastrointestinal symptoms that midlife women experience. Postmenopausal women reported a higher number and severity of gastrointestinal symptoms. [1]

Compared to other racial or ethnic groups in the study, non-Hispanic Asian women experienced significantly fewer symptoms and lower overall severity. Non-Hispanic white women had more severe symptoms, particularly nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, and decreased appetite.

Hispanic women had increased and more severe levels of constipation, excess weight, and bloating. Non-Hispanic African Americans were more prone to excessive weight loss than Hispanic African Americans. Hispanics were likelier to have higher constipation, excess weight, and bloating severity scores.

The Importance of Probiotics in Managing Gut Health

If you’re constantly struggling with gut problems like indigestion, acid reflux, and diarrhea, then probiotics can help stabilize your gut biome. Probiotics help with irritable bowel syndrome by stabilizing and regulating intestinal processes. Probiotics encourage the body to create the required mucus, improve intestinal barrier function and restore regular bowel motions. Certain probiotics also lower systemic inflammation, defending against obesity and other disorders by increasing the health of your gut lining[3].

Food sources for probiotics include:


Cottage Cheese








While probiotics are ‘good bacteria’ that benefit our gut health, prebiotics are the food for these bacteria. Prebiotics are a source of food for your gut’s healthy bacteria. Carbohydrates that your body can’t digest, prebiotics go to your lower digestive tract, where they act like food to help the healthy bacteria grow.

Prebiotics include:



Jerusalem Artichokes




If you’re considering probiotics in the form of dietary supplements, look for food supplements that are 100% active and contain no fillers, animal-tested chemicals, or GMO compounds. You should also consult with a licensed nutritionist or certified health practitioner to determine how best to incorporate probiotics into your regular diet.





December 2022