Episode 61: Banish Bloating for Good
Welcome to today’s episode of The Hormone Hub where we explore what’s going on with our digestive symptoms and why it’s important that we are absorbing the nutrients from our food properly, eliminating effectively (yep…we’re talking poo on the podcast!), and why it’s important to have a healthy gut microbiome to support our mental health.
Many women experience changes in their digestive health during peri and menopause, which can have a significant impact on their overall well-being.
Let’s face it… it’s never fun and no one feels their best when they are bloated and constipated… or when you have to pre-empt and plan for emergency toilet stops when you’re out!
We talk about some of the common symptoms and also what you can do about it.
1. Not absorbing nutrients
The natural decline in estrogen levels can lead to a decrease in the production of our digestive enzymes. These enzymes are necessary for breaking down and absorbing nutrients in the food we eat.
As a result, you may not be getting the necessary vitamins and minerals you need from your diet…. Assuming of course that you’re eating a perfect diet!
This can lead to deficiencies in important nutrients such as iron, zinc and calcium, which has a huge knock on effect that can impact our energy levels, our thyroid hormone production, mood and can also contribute to osteoporosis.
2. Not eliminating properly
Many women experience changes in their bowel movements, including constipation or diarrhoea. This can be caused by hormonal imbalances and also certain foods that just aren’t agreeing with us.
Constipation can lead to bloating, discomfort, and a buildup of toxins in the body, while diarrhoea can result in dehydration and nutrient loss.
Check out the Bristol stool chart… what number are you? Let me know! I love this shit…(pardon the pun!)
3. Gut Microbiome Health
Our gut microbiome plays a crucial role in overall health, including digestive and mental wellbeing. The gut contains trillions of microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses, and fungi, that work together to digest food, absorb nutrients, and regulate the immune system.
During peri and menopause menopause, changes in hormone levels can lead to changes in the gut microbiome, which can contribute to digestive issues such as bloating, gas, and abdominal pain.
Additionally, research has linked an imbalance in the gut microbiome to a decline in the production of neurotransmitters which directly impact mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression.
So as you can see, our digestive health plays a vital role in overall health and well-being, especially during the transition through menopause. By eating a balanced diet, staying hydrated, and exercising regularly, women can help promote optimal digestive health and enjoy a healthier, happier life.
Psssst… If you’d like to learn more about the Food Sensitivity test I do with ALL of my clients, with great success, you can check it out here.
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Hello my friends and welcome back to this episode of The Hormone Hub. I’m your host, Kylie Pinwill, and today we are talking about the importance of your digestive health, when it comes to menopause, when it comes to changing hormones, when it comes to weight loss, and all of those good things. So often, you know, we don’t necessarily connect what’s going on with our digestion to what is going on with our hormones. But many women experience changes in their digestive health during, you know, this, this hormone transition, and it has a significant impact on their overall wellbeing. So today we’re gonna have a look at why it’s important to, you know, absorb your nutrients properly, why it’s important to make sure that we’re eliminating effectively and what we can do to maintain, you know, a healthy digestive system. And we’re also gonna talk about, uh, gut health [00:01:00] as well. So maintaining a healthy gut microbiome, which is all our good gut bugs, you know, because there’s a big link there to mental health and our overall wellbeing as well. So sometimes, or you know, quite often I hear, you know, women who are feeling sluggish, tired, bloated, you know, and then when we sort of dig a bit deeper, their digestive system has changed.
Now when we have a sort of a disruption in our digestive system, you know, it can lead to a range of sort of uncomfortable symptoms. And while these are very common, you know, they’re not normal. So it’s definitely worth, you know, you don’t have to put up with this. So it’s definitely worth getting it checked out and finding the right path.
So things like bloating, constipation, diarrhea, IBS, reflux, heartburn, nausea, diverticulitis. I’m gonna talk about that too, you know, and other sort of symptoms as well. So [00:02:00] let’s start off like bloating. So bloating can be, you know, it’s a really common symptom that can be caused by a variety of different things.
So, you know, overeating can make us bloated, right? Hello, after Christmas lunch. If we eat too fast, if we eat certain foods, like maybe you can pinpoint it. A lot of women can pinpoint, you know, if they’ve had bread or if they’ve had pasta, but you know, they can’t kind of pinpoint exactly. But chronic bloating.
So when it’s ongoing, it can be a sign that something’s wrong. So IBS is definitely one, celiac, you know, even IBD or inflammatory bowel disease. So it’s worth getting checked out, but it’s also sort of worth playing with what type of foods or what foods might be triggering this.
Uh, next up really common constipation. So it may seem that when we hit sort of our forties, our fifties, everything slows down and this includes our bowel movements. [00:03:00] So constipations more when things are, you know, difficult to pass. When you know, like a good healthy poo, we should be able to sit on the toilet, pass. Easy to pass, well-formed.
You know, it lands in the toilet in one piece. We shouldn’t be straining. It shouldn’t be exploding all over the toilet. We should be able to wipe ourselves clean. You know, there shouldn’t be, you know, we shouldn’t be using half a roll of toilet paper. So when we have chronic constipation, you know, this means that we are not eliminating our waste.
And those toxins that our body’s just broken down for us, packaged it up, ready to get rid of it, it just means that that’s reabsorbed back into our body. So when we are sort of like looking at, you know, weight loss, you know, general health and wellbeing, we need to be, you know, the unsexy side of weight loss that no one ever tells us is our liver breaks down our body fat, it goes through our digestive system [00:04:00] and we poop it out.
You know, that’s how we get rid of our fat. So if that whole system is sluggish, then our weight loss is gonna be sluggish. Okay? If we are feeling constipated, you know, it’s not a good feeling, we’re not gonna be feeling good about ourselves. So it’s important to address, you know, what’s causing that. Now at the opposite end we’ve got diarrhea.
So this is characterized by sort of loose or watery stools. And again, it can be caused by a variety of things. So we wanna rule out, you know, any infections, we might have picked up a bug. We might have picked up, you know, like a parasite or something like that. It can be caused by food intolerances.
So it’s really important that we check out that as well. Certain medications can cause diarrhea. Now, when we have chronic diarrhea, this means, you know, that a, we are losing, you know, fluids, so it can lead to dehydration. And also we are not absorbing our nutrients [00:05:00] properly. So, you know, things literally are going straight through us.
Heartburn and reflux or, you know, is where our stomach acid backs up into our esophagus and it causes a burning sensation in our chest. Chronic reflux can sort of lead to a more serious condition. So, you know, we really wanna make sure that we get on top of that before we get sort of inflamed esophagus and things like that.
You know, giving yourself a couple of hours after dinner before you go to bed can really help. Staying upright after eating. Chewing your food properly and eating slowly. So the whole idea of digestion is we smell our food. You know, that gets our digestive juices going. You know, we chew our food well, it goes down our esophagus into our stomach.
We’ve got lots of beautiful stomach acids and digestive enzymes that break down our food. We absorb the nutrients from our food. It [00:06:00] passes through our intestines, it gets packaged up and we poop it out. Like that’s the way it should work. So when things are, you know, when we’re constipated, when we’ve got reflux, you know, when we’ve got heartburn, it, it’s a good sign that something’s wrong.
And you know, I do a food sensitivity test with every single client that I work with Now I’ve been doing this test for five years or longer actually. And the reason I started doing it, I didn’t do it with everyone in the beginning. I just did it with certain clients, but we were just getting such amazing results. And the reason that I do this particular food test, food sensitivity test is it doesn’t take out whole food groups unnecessarily. So anyone who has ever been put on a FODMAP diet or an elimination diet will understand how hard that is to follow, because he’d given this great big, long list of foods not to eat.
Okay, but you, no, no one ever tells you what you can eat, [00:07:00] and you’re also not told that you shouldn’t be on that forever. You should only be on it for, you know, like four to eight weeks. So anyone who’s still trying to follow a FODMAP diet after a year, okay, it’s okay. You can stop. And if you wanna know more about the food sensitivity test, just let me know.
But you know, this particular food sensitivity test, a, it doesn’t take out whole food groups and B, it identifies foods that might otherwise be considered healthy that just aren’t right for you. So, you know, and when we’re eating these foods often on a day in, day out basis, it’s just triggering a low grade inflammation in our body.
And it’s stopping us absorbing those nutrients. It’s stopping us from losing weight. It’s stopping us, you know, it’s just that inflammation is just there, you know, humming along.
So, you know, so when we are sort of looking at something like IBS, you know, so this is sort of like a chronic digestive disorder and it affects our large intestine, so things like abdominal pain, [00:08:00] bloating, constipation, diarrhea.
So it’s that swinging in between. So we’re not, you know, a hundred percent sure of the exact cause of IBS, but definitely, you know, food sensitivities is a big one. Stress is also a big one. And when you are sort of suffering from IBS, if you’ve got it, you all know that it, it definitely 100% impacts your quality of life.
So definitely, you know, get on top top of it. It doesn’t need to be something that you have to push through.
And I’m just gonna mention diverticulitis because this has come up with a couple of clients recently and we sort of tend to think of it as a, an old person’s disease or something that happens to old people.
So what it is, it’s sort of an inflammation of our digestive systems. So we get a small little pouches that, you know, form in the lining of the colon and they become inflamed or infected. So this is where we see, you know, [00:09:00] abdominal pain, fever, nausea, you know, vomiting, changes in our bowel movements.
And, you know, it’s really important to, you know, get this checked out. It is necessary to get a medical diagnosis for this because you don’t want, you know, that infection to kind of lead to, you know, sepsis or anything like that. And what’s really important with diverticulitis is, you know, a diet high in fiber, you know, and this goes for all digestive conditions, okay?
So again, we need to find out what foods work for you, cause not all forms of fiber work for all people. But you know, on the whole increasing your hydration, remember water just flushes everything through. So we want, you know, lots of water. We want regular exercise because again, that keeps everything moving through your body. And a diet high in fiber. So, you know, aiming to have half your plate with plant foods, you know, in the form of [00:10:00] fruits, veggies, salads if you, you know, they work for you. So yeah, it’s getting that fiber up, which is really important.
Okay. So why we need to sort of, you know, have a look at our digestive system because what happens from a hormone perspective is during, you know, that transition through perimenopause to menopause.
We, you know, obviously experience a decline in estrogen, and this is also linked to a decrease in the production of our digestive enzymes. So if we think of digestive enzymes, they’re the little pacmen that, you know, sort of chomp around. They break down our protein, they break down our fat. They break down things like lactose in milk, you know, so they’re really important to break down and help us absorb the nutrients from the food that we eat.
So, you know, if you are not absorbing the food, the nutrients from the food that you’re eating, you may not be getting the necessary [00:11:00] vitamins and minerals you need from your diet. So this is where we tend to see, you know, fatigue and you know, you’re tired, you know, and when this goes on long term, this is where we can see, you know, deficiencies in iron, for instance.
Because you’re not absorbing that iron into your body. We might see, you know, low calcium absorption, which can mean, you know, that can affect our bone density. So it’s important to get on top of this and not just ignore it. Okay. So again, focusing on eating a balanced diet, rich in whole foods, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and avoiding our processed and sugary foods because this, again, can interfere with nutrient absorption as well.
Now why we need to eliminate properly. So you know, if we don’t want to feel sluggish, if we want to feel energetic, we [00:12:00] want to promote weight loss, you know, this is where getting, you know, that elimination right is important. So no one, like I said, no one feels good when they’re constipated cause this leads to bloating, discomfort. Again, those toxins get absorbed back into the body. If we’ve got diarrhea, this can result in dehydration and nutrient loss as well. So, yeah. So again, regular exercise. Plenty of water, high fiber foods, you know, your fruits, veggies, whole grains as well.
All right, so if you need some help with that, we do have the food sensitivity test. I can do this. I do it with every single lady who comes into our program, and it is a really integral part of, you know, the work that we do together.
All right, so I just. We wanna also just touch briefly on our gut microbiome.
So this is all of our beautiful, you know, trillions of microorganisms, our bacteria, viruses, fungi, [00:13:00] that all work together in our digestive system to help us absorb the nutrients from our food. They work together to help us digest and break down our food, and they also help regulate our immune system as well.
So certainly the hormone changes that we have during menopause can lead to changes in our gut microbiome. So this, you know, is a contributing factor to bloating, gas, abdominal pain, you know, constipation as well. So it’s really important, you know, that we work extra hard on, on looking after that digestive health and, you know, there’s so much research coming out with, you know, when there’s an imbalance in that gut microbiome to, you know, mental health conditions, so anxiety and depression. So all of our sort of happy hormones, if you like, are made in our gut, so all of our neurotransmitters. So it’s really important, again, to sort of stay on top of this, particularly if you are already [00:14:00] prone to, you know, low mood or anxiety or depression, you know, and it’s kind of a chicken and egg because certainly, you know, menopause can, can trigger that as well. So we need to do what we can to support the, the gut and you know, those underlying causes.
Okay, so what do we do to maintain a healthy gut microbiome? So this is, again, you know, it all links back to fiber rich foods. So things like, you know, our fruits, veggies, you know, rolled oats, brown rice, quinoa, so those beautiful, you know, whole grains.
And then we can also, so the, the fiber from our food is gonna feed our good gut bugs. And then, you know, if we consume, you know, fermented foods, things like yogurt, uh, kefir, sauerkraut, miso is another really good one. This can all help promote that growth of that beneficial gut bacteria. [00:15:00] Okay, so you go food first.
So before you sort of run off and go, oh, I need a probiotic now, you know, come back to the food like we talked about in last week’s episode, where we looked at supplements, come back to food, improve your diet first. So just to sort of wrap it up, digestive health plays a vital role in our overall health and wellbeing.
Okay. Especially during this transition through perimenopause and menopause. So we need to be really conscious of focusing on our nutrient absorption, effective elimination, maintaining a healthy gut microbiome. And this is gonna help support our mental health and our physical health. So, you know, definitely by eating a good balanced diet, staying hydrated, exercising regularly, you know, this will all help promote that optimal digestive health so you know, you can have a healthier, happy life.
So I hope today has been helpful. Let me know and I’ll see you in the next episode.[00:16:00]