Digestive Issues and Probiotics: Constipation, Colitis, IBS
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Some women can notice that their digestive patterns change as they age. Because your hormones shift at different times in your life, such as during PMS or pregnancy, your gut health may vary too. In menopause, there is a significant hormonal shift that takes place. Due to this shift, you may experience digestive issues like bloating, gas, constipation, or even colitis or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). But, you might find natural relief from those problems thanks to studies on digestive issues and probiotics.
Then how do probiotics relate to your gut health? Your gut is home to a lot of bacteria, some of which are good, while others are bad for you. When your gut is healthy, there is at least 85% of good bacteria living there. But if this balance is broken, this is where you can start developing issues like constipation, colitis, or IBS. Probiotics help increase the number of good bacteria in your body, helping you deal with the side effects of these problems.
Natural Relief for Constipation
Menopause and perimenopause are the time when you can develop constipation issues faster because of the shift in your sex hormones. Apart from that, you may take certain meds for other health problems you may have. As a result, those could also impact our gut health. And while these issues should not come across as a surprise, you can do your best to find relief using natural remedies before turning to medications.
As people grow older, they find it more challenging to exercise, and as a result, they become less active overall. But lack of activity can be one of the reasons why your gut health suffers. Small changes in your exercise habits may help. Have a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise daily, for example, walking, dancing, running, cycling, swimming, or rowing are good options.
Eat More Fiber
Our usual diets lack fiber, but fiber is one of our best tools for aiding in our digestive system. If you make sure to eat more fiber, 25-50 grams per day, your bowel movements will be more regular. You can find fiber in such foods as whole grains, nuts and seeds, fruits, vegetables, and legumes. Make sure to also support your body by drinking plenty of water during the day.
Hydrate for Digestive Issues
You might not see it at first glance, but not drinking enough water can make you feel constipated. And sometimes sparkling water is an excellent way to find relief if you feel that way. Aim at eight glasses of water per day, apart from other drinks you may have like tea, coffee or juice. Avoid soda though, because it is terrible for your health in general, but it can also make your problems worse.
Drink More Coffee
Many people admit that coffee helps them go to the bathroom more easily. And it does so by stimulating muscles in your gut. There are studies on this aspect of coffee, which even show that coffee could be as helpful as eating a meal. In fact, it is more effective than water or drinks with no caffeine. Apart from that, coffee also could have a small amount of fiber, which is good for constipation relief.
Talk to Your Doctor
Do not be afraid to speak to your doctor if you have any symptoms that bother you. You might be taking certain meds for other health problems that impact your gut health. Or, you may need to add to your daily regimen meds for improving your bowel movements. Your doctor could suggest taking laxatives, stool softeners, or supplements with fiber.
How to Heal Digestive Issues with Probiotics
Constipation is common in menopause, but you could also have IBS or colitis. This would make your life much more difficult having to deal with other symptoms of menopause like hot flashes, mood swings, or vaginal health problems. A study (1) has explored the effects of using probiotics, fiber, prebiotics for managing inflammatory digestive disorders. It was found that probiotics, particularly Lactobacilli and Saccharomyces boulardii, are helpful for relieving symptoms of IBS.
Another study focused on chronic constipation (2) found that changing gut microflora to include more good bacteria helps find relief. Gut microflora plays an essential role in boosting your immune system, preventing the growth of harmful bacteria, and creating elements beneficial for your body. As a result, by using probiotics for constipation and other digestive issue relief, you will also receive additional benefits of a healthy balance in your gut.
When you take probiotics for different gut health issues, you might need different doses and different treatment lengths to see results (3). But they are the best option so far to find natural relief for the symptoms without side effects. Lactobacillus species, in particular, were shown to have been used by people for many years without any adverse side effects. It is good to know that probiotics are generally safe to use, so you can start applying them for healing your symptoms of menopause.
Where to Get Probiotics for Digestive Issues
If you want to try a natural approach to healing digestive issues without known side effects, probiotics offer a solution. You can find these friendly bacteria in rather common foods such as pickles, live yogurt, and sauerkraut. You can also try fermented soy products such as miso or tempeh. In any case, these foods will supply your gut microflora with good bacteria to help your digestive tract.
Of course, it is difficult to get enough probiotics from fermented foods only. That is why we at MenoLabs have created a line of probiotic supplements for digestive issues in menopause. We know the specific needs of women during this transition, which is why the supplement contains a sufficient dose of probiotics to help with constipation, colitis, IBS, and other digestive issues. Support your digestive health with 5-20 billion CFUs of good bacteria per dose.
(2) Ying Zhao and Yan-Bo Yu. “Intestinal microbiota and chronic constipation.”
(3) Elizabeth Verna. “Use of probiotics in gastrointestinal disorders: what to recommend?”