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Are you struggling with constipation during menopause? If so, you’re not alone. Many women experience constipation during this time in their lives. Fortunately, there are some natural things you can do to help.
In this blog post, we’ll discuss some of the best ways to get relief from menopause constipation. Keep reading to learn more!
What are the symptoms of menopause constipation?
If you’re constipated you’ll be going to the toilet far less and when you do you’ll have difficulty passing stools.
The most common symptom of constipation during menopause is simply, hard bowel movements.
You may experience other symptoms as well, including bloating, gas, and stomach discomfort.
What causes menopause constipation?
To explain the relationship between menopause and constipation it is important to understand the hormonal changes that occur during this time.
These changes can cause your digestive system to slow down.
Estrogen levels fall during menopause. The lack of estrogen increases cortisol levels. This stress hormone can slow your digestion and cause constipation.
Hormone changes can also trigger a sluggish thyroid, which slows your metabolism and also disrupts the digestive process.
Additionally, progesterone levels also begin to decrease during menopause.
Progesterone is a hormone that stimulates the colon and strengthens your digestive muscles. As progesterone levels drop, it can be more difficult for food waste to move through the body. This leads to constipation.
To make matters worse often at this time your pelvic floor muscles are weakened due to age, childbirth, or menopause itself.
When these muscles are weak they don’t contract enough to push stools through the colon, which exacerbates constipation and makes proper bowel function difficult.
Stress and anxiety which many women in midlife go through will only add to the problem, compounding all of these effects.
Certain foods may also make your constipation worse. Processed food and beverages such as soda, coffee, alcohol, and energy drinks contain caffeine which is a known trigger for constipation.
It may seem that getting back to regular movements is a lost cause but it’s not all as bad as it may seem.
Irritable bowel syndrome is
another common cause of constipation related to menopause.
This condition can cause long-term digestive issues which you need to be aware of in case they continue for a longer period.
If you feel like your symptoms are linked to IBS, it would be good to learn more about the condition and how to treat it. To do that it would be best to consult with a doctor.
Pelvic floor muscles
Postmenopause these muscles which often become weakened as we age may struggle to eliminate the bowel.
It is worth getting a gynaecologist check-up to ensure there is no other reason why your bowel movements are so difficult.
They can recommend a good pelvic floor physiotherapist to work with you to tighten the muscles that have become weakened.
How can you relieve menopause constipation naturally and safely?
There are several steps you can take to help ease constipation during menopause that doesn’t require prescription medications.
Up your water intake
Your best bet for naturally relieving menopause constipation is to increase your water intake. Water helps with softening and bulking up stools making them easier to pass.
You should aim for at least eight glasses of water daily.
For a very healthy drink that will help move everything along try a chia Fresca.
Add Two tablespoons of chia seeds in a glass of cold water overnight, then add a cup of fresh cranberry juice. The added fibre from the chia seeds and high volume from all that water will leave you feeling empty every time!
Plus you get the added benefit of a boost of Omega 3 fatty acids and all that soluble fibre.
Add more fiber to your diet
Increasing your intake of fibre-rich foods is another way that you can naturally reduce the instances of constipation during menopause.
Dietary fibre essentially acts as a sponge in the digestive tract, binding to water and dragging waste with it through the colon.
It helps bulk up stools and makes them softer and easier to pass, as well as increases the frequency of bowel movements.
Be sure to include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and legumes. in your diet and avoid processed food whenever possible.
You could try sprinkling a tablespoon of ground flaxseed on your cereal, yoghurt, salads, and stir-fries every day. The omega 3s help to balance estrogen levels as well as lubricate the digestive tract.
A note of caution:
Be sure to add fibre gradually to your diet and drink lots of water.
If you add too much at once, it can cause bloating and gas which will only make constipation worse.
Increase your physical activity
Being sedentary can also contribute to constipation during menopause. Exercise helps keep everything moving through your system by stimulating both digestion and your colon muscles.
You should aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise daily to help relieve constipation during menopause. Even if it’s just a long walk around the block each day, it will make a huge difference.
Some yoga poses such as bird dog pose, child’s pose, and forward fold can be effective in stimulating the intestines to help move things through.
You should also include cardiovascular exercise such as jogging or rowing into your daily workout to increase blood flow through your intestinal tract.
Mindfulness activities such
as meditation, deep breathing, yoga, and journaling are also effective ways to reduce stress which can trigger constipation.
Chew slowly and mindfully
Another very easy way to naturally relieve menopause constipation is to chew your food slowly and mindfully.
When you eat quickly, you swallow a lot of air along with your food, which can lead to distention in the digestive system and constipation.
If you take time to break down what you are eating into small pieces before you even put it in your mouth it will be much easier to digest and move along.
A supplement to consider is probiotics. These can help balance your digestive system and keep things moving through.
Be sure to choose a high-quality probiotic with at least 10 billion active cultures and 30-35 different strains of healthy bacteria.
Are there any risks associated with relieving menopause constipation naturally and safely?
Always be sure to talk to your doctor before adding any supplements or making drastic changes to your diet.
You may also want to avoid laxatives because they can cause cramping, bloating, dehydration, and electrolyte imbalances which can be dangerous for people with certain conditions.
If you are experiencing severe constipation that is not relieved by dietary changes or exercise then you should talk to your doctor.
They may prescribe medication to help ease the symptoms, but be sure to ask for natural alternatives whenever possible.
Lose weight if needed
If you are significantly overweight, this can contribute to menopause constipation.
Losing some weight will also help reduce other symptoms related to menopause like hot flashes and night sweats that may be uncomfortable or even dangerous for you in the long run.
What are some tips to prevent menopause constipation in the future?
Once you have resolved your menopause constipation, there are some general tips to keep things moving regularly through your system.
Continue to drink lots of water throughout the day which will keep everything moving.
Eat regularly throughout the day to keep your digestion ticking over.
If you feel the need for a bowel movement, don’t put it off. This can cause things to dry out making it difficult when you finally get around to it.
Don’t suffer any longer than you have to
There are lots of suggestions within this post for small lifestyle changes you can make to keep your bowel function working well and regularly.
And the good news is that many of these tips help relieve the symptoms that go with menopause and constipation so maybe you’ll be killing two birds with one stone.
These are all simple, easy ways to relieve menopause constipation that won’t cost you anything.
If none of these work for you, then it would be good to talk to your doctor about other treatment options to help resolve this condition.
You shouldn’t have to suffer from this uncomfortable and sometimes embarrassing problem any longer.