If you're a woman of a certain age, you may be prepared for the sudden hot flashes, mood swings, irritability and weight gain that come with the transition into menopause. These are the symptoms that women frequently complain about, and these are the symptoms depicted on TV. However, there are other symptoms that don't get as much attention. If you are starting to go through perimenopause or menopause, you may experience changes in your digestive system such as menopause diarrhea.
During the transition to menopause, you may experience symptoms that mimic irritable bowel syndrome, including constipation, bloating, gas, and diarrhea. Recent studies suggest that there is a link between the transition to menopause and gut function. If you are experiencing menopause diarrhea, you may experience sudden bouts of diarrhea after eating foods that never triggered a reaction previously. This is because the fluctuation of hormones affects muscle contractions in the digestive track. Many women also report an increase in gas and bloating. You may experience bouts of constipation that alternate with bouts of diarrhea.
Tips on How to Minimize Menopause Diarrhea
Menopause diarrhea can be very frustrating. You may find yourself altering your day around trips to the bathroom. There are some things you can do to minimize the discomfort caused by menopause diarrhea.
Tip 1: Increase your fiber intake slowly.
Fiber is important for keeping your bowels regulated. When adding fiber to your diet, it is tempting to increase your fiber intake quickly. Too much fiber added too quickly can lead to more gas and more problems with diarrhea.
Start increasing your fiber intake slowly. Add more green vegetables and fruit to your diet. As your body adjusts to the added fiber, you may want to add other natural sources of fiber that are excellent treatments for IBS symptoms. Look for psyllium husk or acacia bark fiber. Over-the-counter pills may help control diarrhea, but it won't take care of the source of the problem. Try to stick with food and natural sources to treat the problem.
Tip 2: Add probiotics and prebiotics to your diet.
Probiotics balance the bacteria in your gut. Overgrowth of certain bacteria can cause IBS symptoms including diarrhea. Adding the correct bacteria to your gut can help eliminate menopause diarrhea. Look for probiotics containing the bacteria Bifidobacterium infantis. Other probiotics also may be helpful in balancing bacteria. Look for probiotic drinks and yogurt to help adjust your body's levels of bacteria.
Prebiotics are helpful non-food sources that encourage growth of helpful bacteria. You can find prebiotics in fiber supplements and in some foods, such as artichokes and bananas.
Tip 3: Drink more water.
Diarrhea can lead to dehydration, particularly if the diarrhea is chronic. Increase your water intake to replace fluids lost during bouts of diarrhea. Water also has other beneficial effects for women going through menopause. Dehydration can be a trigger for hot flashes and headaches. Consistently drinking more water can minimize these symptoms. Evidence also suggests that increasing water intake can improve bladder function and reduce urinary tract infections. Water has so many benefits for menopausal women that it may be the single best thing you can ingest to help with your symptoms.