Constipation in Menopause

Are you blushing already?  Constipation is not something commonly talked about but it IS very common for women around the time of menopause.   You might have been happily going through life, regular as can be, until hormones started to fluctuate and then constipation becomes a daily issue.  If you’re like me, it can totally take you by surprise as you become bloated, have abdominal discomfort and lack of “transit” in your toilet habits.  Once I started drinking Shakeology 6 years ago, regularity was not a problem.  And then my estrogen hit rock bottom.  What happened??

As hormone levels become more erratic and estrogen decreases, movement in the colon slows, more water is absorbed out of the colon and stools end up hard and dry and not easily passed.  This leads to bloating, gas, water retention and upper and lower abdominal discomfort.

Menopausal symptoms can lead to stress eating, grabbing unhealthy foods, not exercising as much, grabbing more caffeine instead of water and using more sleep aides,  all of which exacerbate the  problem.   To prevent constipation in menopause, here’s what NOT to do:

Constipation in Menopause

  1. Don’t eat high fiber bars regularly.  These may contain harsh fibers which just “compact” the problem especially if you’re not getting enough water.
  2. Don’t fill your diet with refined carbohydrates –  they become like wall paper paste in your gut
  3. Don’t go on a crash or liquid diet.  The low calories and lack of fibrous foods just make it worse.
  4. Don’t overdo on alcohol or caffeine
  5. Don’t smoke

You don’t just want to treat the symptoms; you want to get your digestive system back to working effectively and that takes daily habits.  You can prevent constipation in menopause:

  1. DO eat 5 meals a day
  2. DO  increase fruits and vegetables.  If veggies give you more gas, gently steam them first.  A few prunes and dried fruit on a daily basis can help prevent constipation.
  3. DO eliminate dairy (just to see if it is a culprit to your GI issues.  Everyone is different but it could be causing constipation.)
  4. DO increase water intake.  Get at least half of your weight in ounces of water up to a gallon/day
  5. DO exercise regularly with cardio, weights and yoga (these can eliminate bloating and keep things “moving”).
  6. DO eat plenty of good fats.   Fats are a precursor in hormone production and help in the production of bile which helps lubricate the stool and aides in transit.  Include an egg, with yolk, daily, fatty fishes such as mackerel and Salmon 2x/week, coconut oil, olive oil, peanut butter, nuts,  avocado.
  7. DO eliminate table salt and use himalayan salt instead. Himalayan salt isn’t process, is full of natural minerals and doesn’t have the bleaching agents that table salt has.

If these behaviors don’t make elimination more regular and you’ve been constipated for several days, try the following:

A.  Take 1 Tablespoon of olive oil with a few drops of lemon juice first thing in the morning before breakfast.  Do this for several days up to a week.  When you start having normal, soft, bowel movements, just incorporate healthy fats liberally into your diet.

B.  Take 1/3 cup of prune juice in the morning.  If no results by lunch time, drink another in the afternoon.  Go slowly so you can control the results.

Increasing pure fiber or taking laxatives isn’t the best solution.  Helping your digestive system work naturally will help you feeling back to normal in no time.

If you’re in this phase of life, learning more about peri-menopause and menopause can help you maneuver through this time.  Knowledge is power!  To understand more, keep reading!

All You Need to Know About Menopause

For questions about lifestyle change or changes related to menopause, please message me and let’s talk.