Menopause Belly Is A Common Complaint
Digestive upset and resistant weight-loss are common complaints I see in my office. In fact, they are the most common complaints my patients make about their health challenges.
The symptom picture I often see in women over forty includes, an increase in belly fat (that does not change even with a rigerous exercise and dieting program), coupled with gas, bloating, acid reflux, and upset stomach.
Chronic digestive complaints in menopause are partly due to changes in hormones, but may also be caused by declining pancreatic function.
The pancreas is an organ that produces the digestive enzymes necessary for breaking down and absorbing our food. As pancreatic function declines, digestive health challenges are common.
Fluctuations in hormones, like estrogen and progesterone, may also have an impact on digestion, and play a role in some of the resistant weight-loss we see in women over the age of 40. This is why hormone restoration therapy is often helpful in treating digestive symptoms in menopause.
If you are suffering from gas, bloating, and upset stomach, first speak to your doctor in order to find the cause of your digestive health challenges.
Possible causes of poor digestion include, weak pancreatic function, infections, like H. pylori (the bacteria associated with stomach ulcers), food sensitivities, small intestinal bacterial over-growth, and parasite infections—just to name a few.
1. Start By Cleaning Up The Diet
While it has been said before, it needs to be stressed again; junk food, along with prepackaged and quick foods, are bad for you. They are loaded with chemicals, sugar, and far too much sodium and trans-fats.
While dietary fads come and go, hard science suggest that the best diet for the human body is mostly plant-based, with 7 to 9 servings of fresh fruits and veggies daily, along with nuts, seeds, and whole grains, (like quinoa and brown rice). If you consume animal products; it is advised that they be in moderate amounts. The best forms of animal protein forms for the human body include, cold-water fish, like salmon, sardines and anchovies. In addition to fish, egg whites and low fat dairy products may also be consumed in moderation.
Diets high in processed foods can lead to poor health, weight-gain and weak digestion. A cleaner diet is one of the best things you can do for your health.
2. Remove Gluten From Your Diet
Another food to consider removing from your diet is wheat products. This is because wheat products, especially in the form of white flour, are high in sugar. And while you may not have celiac disease, wheat is a common food sensitivity. Simply eliminating junk food and wheat containing foods from your diet may result in improved digestion and abdominal weight-loss.
3. Eat Smaller Meals
If part of your challenge is due to poor pancreatic function, you may want to eat smaller meals. Also make sure to chew your food well. Simply by slowing down and chewing your food you may see an improvement in your digestion. If you are still having symptoms, consider taking a strong digestive enzyme. In women over the age of 40, with poor pancreatic function, I usually prescribe Digest Gold by Enzymedica. This is a plant-based digestive enzyme that can dramatically improve digestion in people who suffer from poor pancreatic function.
4. Do Not Eat Late At Night
Eating late at night is a bad habit, and is associated with steady weight gain after the age of 40, and weakened digestion. Giving the digestion a break can help improve digestion and decrease feelings of gas and bloating. I usually advice people complete their last meal by 6:30, or around 4 hours prior to going to bed if you work late, in order to improve digestion.
5. Take a Good Quality Probiotic
A good quality probiotic can help relieve the symptoms of gas and bloating, and may improve your immune system as well. I would suggest that the best probiotic on the market is HLC Intensive by Pharmax. This is a professional line often prescribed by naturopathic doctors, because it is very high-quality and has been shown in independent testing, to have the highest viability of active cultures. I suggest taking one capsule daily after breakfast.
uliIf you have tried all the above recommendations and are still having symptoms, then I suggest schedng an appointment with a naturopathic doctor.
If you would like to find out more about my work, you can check out my website at DoctorWhimsy.com I am available for appointments in my office in Los Angeles, and online or by phone.
I look forward to helping
Dr. Whimsy Anderson, ND