Tired of asking yourself, ‘Why am I bloated?’ Your hormones can be to blame. Forward World Digestive Health Day (May 2), Nutrition and Digestive Health Consultant Lila Moudden has some advice that can help
Hormonal effects Everyone Organs, systems and processes within the human body and the digestive tract are no exception.
It is not surprising that many women experience an increase and decrease in appetite and weight control as they walk through their menstrual cycle.
Hormonal effects Everyone Processes within organs, systems and the human body
The relationship between hormones and the digestive tract, or more specifically the hormones and the bacteria in our stomachs, is called astrobolum.
To help us explore the relationship between hormones and the stomach, Leila Mouden for Eczema Medicine, Naturopaths and Educationist sheds some light on why your digestive system is an important way to help hormonal balance.
The female hormonal cycle is the constant rise and fall of many hormones that affect the whole body.
Within the subject of digestion, the three hormones known as estrogen, progesterone and cortisol come into play that stimulate both the appetite and bowel changes and also our stress levels.
The world of stomach bacteria known as microbiome
As our appetite and bowel movements change, our detox organs create more work for the liver, which can lead to skin rashes, hair problems, and difficulties digesting protein and fat.
Inside our gut, the microbiome shifts in response to the world of bacteria in the gut, which changes our mood and appetite.
The ovarian cycle is the period of time a woman lays an egg, which may or may not be fertilized to form an embryo.
This process is also driven by the rise and fall of hormones, which have secondary effects on other parts of our body.
From the end of the week to the second week of our ovarian cycle, estrogen rises steadily.
At week three and week four, estrogen begins to decrease while progesterone and cortisol begin to rise for plant preparation.
When these hormonal changes occur, there are adjustments in the digestive tract.
All the symptoms that women experience during the hormonal cycle are related to their digestive system, but may not always be experienced as digestive distress.
All the symptoms that women experience during the hormonal cycle are related to their digestive system
These experiences may include skin rashes, smooth hair, mood swings, fatigue, bloating, constipation, loose intestines, and headaches.
All of these experiences involve changes in hormone levels that affect the digestive system, especially the liver and stomach.
During the ovarian cycle, the body typically goes through the rise and fall of two hormones, estrogen and progesterone. This instability can have a significant effect on how we feel, what we want to eat, and how we digest it.
Week 1: Our hormones are at their lowest levels
On average, a woman’s ovulation period / cycle is four weeks.
During one of our menstrual cycles a week, estrogen and progesterone are at their lowest levels.
Week 2: Increased estrogen, decreased cortisol
After one week, estrogen rises steadily until it approaches the end of two weeks.
Estrogen puts cortisol, our stress hormone, in check. Low cortisol levels mean we will relax, our appetite is stable, and we will free ourselves from cravings.
We will increase libido around this time, as our body prepares for pregnancy.
After reaching the climax at the end of two weeks of the uterine cycle, estrogen continues to decline and progesterone takes over.
As cortisol increases, our digestive capacity decreases
The stress hormone cortisol starts to rise, and we can feel the symptoms of what is called ‘PMS’.
As cortisol increases, our digestive capacity decreases and we produce less stomach acid, feel hungrier and start looking for a quick sugar fix to respond to the increase in cortisol. It can also translate into anxiety for carbohydrates.
A mixture of high carbohydrate cravings and low digestive capacity can cause many women to feel constipated, bloated and moody or cause very slow bowel movements.
When our digestion slows down in response to estrogen, fatigue can recur after eating and our need for digestive support increases.
A broad spectrum digestive enzyme for reducing feelings of bloating and food cravings Digest Gold Enzymedica from the UK can offset some digestive stress by helping to break down food more effectively.
Digestive enzymes are substances produced by our body that help us digest and destroy the food we eat.
As food travels through your digestive system, various enzymes break down certain types. For example, lipase (produced from the stomach) supports fat conversion into fatty acids and cholesterol, and amylase (also in the stomach) is used to convert carbohydrates into ordinary sugar.
The nutritional enhancing effects of digestive enzyme supplements and the use of foods that naturally contain these enzymes can help us provide the nutrients our bodies need to help and reduce negative experiences such as bloating, reflux and constipation with change. In the menstrual cycle.
Foods containing digestive enzymes:
Week to :: Progesterone peaks
When estrogen begins to decline, progesterone, the hormone responsible for maintaining pregnancy, begins to rise.
As it happens during pregnancy, progesterone works to relax the smooth muscles, and so we can cause constipation due to the relaxed abdominal muscles.
During this time, digestive enzymes help to reduce the severity of constipation to keep the feces away.
Digestive enzymes help reduce the severity of constipation
As the bowel becomes sluggish, our ability to detoxify our circulating hormones is reduced. This is the time when we need to drink plenty of fiber and plenty of water to facilitate the smooth movement of the intestines.
Progesterone also raises our basal body temperature, and our metabolism begins to accelerate. Our energy levels increase, and the swelling we feel during the estrogen phase begins to decrease – so we no longer need to wear stretchy trousers.
Perimenopause and menopause: Decreasing estrogen levels
The journey to menopause is marked by a steady and steady decline in estrogen.
Now that we know that estrogen keeps our gut in motion and keeps our stress hormones in check, it’s easy to understand why a steady decline in estrogen increases the body’s search for balance, stress and bad moods.
The average age of menopause is between 45 and 55, a time when our digestive capacity and stomach acid secretion are also declining.
Good digestive enzymes are essential for this period of life
Around this time, the foods we normally handle with little problem begin to cause jealousy and constipation.
A good digestive enzyme is essential for this period of life, the two food groups needed for health to ease the healthy breakdown of protein and fat.
Nutrients and hormones
Nutrients play a large role in the overall hormonal balance, and this increase and decrease in digestive capacity reduces the level of nutrition a woman is getting at any stage of her cycle.
Once a woman starts menstruating, her nutritional needs become an important part of maintaining hormonal balance as her body goes through a continuous cycle of change and renewal.
As hormones rise and fall throughout life, a woman becomes pregnant, breastfeeding, and then in perimenopause then menopause and backwards – her nutritional status is a stabilizing factor that prevents her hormonal fluctuations from being negatively affected.
All nutrients come from adequate digestion of food, so it is important that women make sure they are digesting food effectively when they come to life.
In addition to supplementing with digestive enzymes, eating foods rich in natural enzymes such as pineapple and papaya is an easy way for women to ensure that the food they eat is nutritious.
The rise and fall of hormones is an inevitable fact of life for women, and imbalances can cause enough discomfort that we find ourselves googling ‘why am I bloated?’