Get Good Gut Health to Smash Your Perimenopause Symptoms
What is your Gut and Microbiome?
What is your Gut (gastrointestinal tract)? Our Gut is a magical creature that is the CORE to our health and wellbeing. The gut is a long tube that starts at the mouth and ends at your bottom (anus). It helps us break down food into nutrients and energy to keep us alive and excretes waste and toxins.
What is your ‘Gut Microbiome’? Your ‘gut microbiome’ is made up of trillions of microorganisms (mainly bacteria) and their genetic material that live in our intestinal tract.
There are around 1,000 different types of bacteria that live in our gut, mostly in our large intestines.
Our microbiome plays a vital role in our health, known as our second brain as it has its own nervous system called our enteric nervous system which communicates with our central nervous system. This is called the gut-brain axis linking emotional and cognitive centers of the brain with peripheral intestinal functions.
What does your ‘Gut Microbiome’ do?
- Digests the food we eat
- Absorbs and synthesises nutrients
- Immunity regulation - 80% of our immune system is in our gut
- Regulatory role in metabolism, body weight, mood and brain function
- Acts as an endocrine organ - an unbalanced and distressed microbiome can cause either the deficiency or excess of free oestrogen.
The Microbiome in Reproductive Years
In our reproductive years we have the added protection of oestrogen that gives us better gut integrity. With oestrogen declining it can cause leaky gut.
The Microbiome in Perimenopause Years
When we hit the transitionary years of perimenopause, our body composition starts to change:
- We start to store weight gain around our middles instead of our hips (pear shape) which can cause insulin resistance. With insulin resistance the body produces more insulin which leads to increased hunger, higher blood pressure and weight gain. That’s why it’s important to try and maintain a healthy weight.
- We start to lose muscle mass, which can reduce our metabolism.
- With the decline of oestrogen it reduces the integrity of our microbiome which can reduce our metabolism and increase peri symptoms.
Leaky gut is something that can surface during perimenopause. This is when the cells of the intestinal walls have holes, normally they are tightly joined together like a barrier to protect us from microbes, toxins and food proteins from entering the body (they can activate the immune system).
This is why some of us start to react to gluten and dairy in our peri years.
Other things that can cause leaky gut are infections, alcohol, antibiotics, hormonal birth control, small intestinal bowel overgrowth and food intolerances.
Signs your microbiome isn’t working like it should...
If you're experiencing any of the following, it could be your microbiome needs some love:
- Unexpected weight gain - when you're eating and exercising the same
- Sleep issues
- Skin irritations
- Food intolerances - resulting in headaches, joint pain, digestive bloating & food cravings
- Heavy period - unfriendly bacteria in the gut can impair oestrogen production.
How to take care of your microbiome...
- Reduce alcohol - it can damage your microbiome
- Reduce sugar - feeds your bad gut bacteria
- Avoid ultra-processed foods as it starves your good gut bacteria
- Eat collagen based foods like bone broth and our Peri Chai Latte - helps repair your gut lining
- Eat prebiotics foods - they contain compounds that feed your good bacteria -
- Eat probiotic foods - they are foods that contain good gut bacteria like yogurt (if you can tolerate dairy) and fermented foods
- Take a probiotic and prebiotic supplement.
Check if you have any food intolerances
Identify if you have any food intolerances - the most common ones are wheat and dairy. Remember food intolerances cause inflammation in your microbiome and can trigger an immune response. Take a look at the checklist above 'Signs your Microbiome isn't Working Like it Should' to see if you're experiencing any symptoms on the list.Overall Lifestyle Changes to Make...
- Reduce stress - it can contribute to an unbalanced microbiome
- Get enough sleep - it helps support a healthy digestive system
- Exercise regularly - it can help improve your microbiome
- Eat slowly, to improve digestion.