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    As you go through menopause, there are many things to discuss with our women’s health care providers. You might be dealing with symptoms like hot flashes as well as changes to your body and health. One change that may have major impacts on your overall health is that your gut’s microbiome, also known as your gut flora, may change as you enter menopause. In this article, we’ll discuss why this is important to understand for your health as well as some ways our team may recommend maintaining your gut health after menopause.

    Talk to Our Women’s Health Care Providers About Keeping Your Gut Healthy

    Friends laughing after getting women's health care for menopause

    Talk to our women’s health care providers about what you can to do keep your gut healthy after menopause.

    Menopause comes with many changes, including different ways to manage your health going forward. Therefore, it helps to work closely with our women’s health care team to understand how to stay healthy. One thing to talk to our providers about is your gut health.

    The gut microbiome is a major part of your overall health. Your body is made up of trillions of good microorganisms, many of them helping your body with various processes. For instance, they help break down your food, assist with manufacturing certain vitamins (like vitamin K and some types of vitamin B), and even help maintain a healthy vaginal flora. Having a healthy gut is important for many different aspects of your health.

    Our team can look at your health as a whole and provide recommendations based on your specific circumstances. Our providers are a great resource for staying healthy before and after menopause. A few key things to know about your gut health is that menopause can change it and those changes can cause negative impacts on your health. However, there are ways to help improve your gut’s microbiome with guidance from our providers.

    Menopause May Reduce Diversity for Your Gut Flora

    Menopause causes many changes in your body, including changes to your gut. Several studies have found differences in women’s gut microbiome before and after menopause. Researchers believe this may be due to changes in your sex hormones, like estrogen and progesterone. Many good microorganisms in your gut’s microbiome help metabolize estrogen and progesterone, so as those decline, those bacteria and other microorganisms might also, leading to less diversity and potential imbalances in your gut.

    One recent study from this year looked at a large group of people to understand what kinds of changes happen to the gut microbiome during menopause. They looked at the microbiome of premenopausal women, post-menopausal women, as well as men to understand the changes. What they found is that post-menopausal women had significantly less diversity in their gut flora than premenopausal women. Instead, their microbiome more closely resembled men’s.

    In this study, they also found that these changes in gut flora also were associated with several health issues, specifically cardiometabolic risks. Cardiometabolic risks can include things like high cholesterol, weight gain, high blood sugar, and high blood pressure, all of which can cause serious health conditions. Therefore, it’s important to discuss menopause, your gut’s microbiome, and your general health with our women’s health care team.

    Why is a Healthy Gut Important for Women’s Health Care?

    When you think of the gut microbiome, you might immediately associate it with digestive health. This is certainly an important part of your overall health, and the gut microbiome does play a role in digestion and your gastrointestinal tract. However, many people don’t know about the other effects of your gut’s microbiome that can impact your health. Here are just some of the reasons it’s important to work with our women’s health clinic to learn how to keep your gut’s flora in check:

    Gut Changes Associated with Menopause are Associated with Higher Cardiometabolic Risks

    As we mentioned in an earlier section, an unhealthy gut can increase the risk for cardiovascular and metabolic conditions. For instance, changes in your gut microbiome during menopause may increase your risk for things like:

    • Heart disease
    • Obesity
    • Type 2 diabetes
    • Metabolic syndrome

    As you can see, maintaining a healthy gut during menopause may be critical for your health.

    Diversity in the Gut Microbiome May Help Keep Your Hormones in Check

    While you may not realize it, there’s a pretty strong relationship between your hormones and your gut’s microbiome. Hormones like estrogen and progesterone can affect your gut’s diversity, but your gut’s microbiome can also help regulate and metabolize your hormones. The estrobolome is a part of your gut’s flora that can help maintain hormonal balance, particularly for estrogen in your body. Declining and fluctuating estrogen is often the cause of menopause symptoms like vaginal dryness and mood changes, so keeping it in balance may reduce your risk for these symptoms.

    Your Gut Flora May Affect Your Weight

    Another reason to work with our women’s health care team to keep your gut microbiome healthy is because it can affect your weight. An unhealthy gut is associated with obesity and can make managing your weight more difficult. Some studies have even found that a healthy, diverse gut microbiome can assist with weight loss, which many women in menopause struggle with. The bacteria and other microorganisms in your gut help you digest food, absorb nutrients, and store energy properly. If your gut flora is out of balance, it may increase your risk for weight gain as well as difficulty losing weight.

    Keeping Your Gut Healthy May Help Keep Your Brain Healthy

    Additionally, having a well-balanced gut microbiome may even help your brain. A lot of neurotransmitters are actually controlled and produced by the bacteria in your gut. Serotonin is a major one, which is also known as the “happy chemical.” About 95% of your body’s serotonin is produced in the gut by the bacteria that live there. Therefore, working with our women’s health care providers to keep your gut healthy may also have a positive effect on your brain and mood.

    Ask Our Women’s Health Care Team How to Promote a Healthy Gut During Menopause

    There are many strategies for keeping your gut healthy after menopause. Our women’s health care providers can help you develop a strategy based on your specific concerns and your health history. Here are some things we may recommend for maintaining a balanced, healthy gut microbiome:

    Eat a Diet High in Probiotics

    What you eat can have a big impact on your gut’s health. There are several foods that are high in the good bacteria and microorganisms you need to keep your gut flora healthy. For instance, some common foods that contain probiotics include:

    • Yogurt
    • Kefir
    • Sauerkraut
    • Kimchi
    • Fermented veggies

    Prebiotics may also be important for your diet to maintain a balanced gut microbiome. Prebiotics are what feed the good microorganisms in your gut. Some prebiotic foods include foods that are high in fiber, such as:

    • Oats
    • Apples
    • Bananas
    • Asparagus

    It also helps to eat a diverse diet with a variety of different foods and limit artificial sweeteners to promote gut health.

    Consider Probiotic Supplements

    In some cases, you might need a probiotic supplement during menopause to keep your gut healthy. These are supplements that contain some of the microorganisms necessary for keeping your gut microbiome diverse and well balanced. If you can’t get all your probiotics from your diet, then our women’s health care professionals may recommend a supplement to help.

    Estrogen May Help You Maintain Some Gut Diversity After Menopause

    Estrogen replacement therapy is a common option for menopause treatment because it helps relieve many symptoms of menopause. Evidence suggests that it may also help you maintain a healthy gut microbiome after menopause. While menopause causes changes to the gut microbiome, studies have shown that estrogen therapy after menopause can correct some of these changes to your gut flora.

    Get Quality Women’s Health Care from HerKare

    Our team at HerKare is here to help you stay healthy at every stage of your life. We offer personalized women’s health care solutions to help you take care of yourself and feel your best. We take time to listen and understand you so we can help you feel better. Make an appointment now with our team to experience the HerKare difference.