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Friendly bacteria and the Menopause.

What we eat influences the type of bacteria we have in our gut. This can have a huge impact  on how a woman goes through the menopause. We have thousands of different kind of bacteria living in the gut. Scientists have now worked out that individual groups of bacteria have very specific duties to perform, including supporting the immune system, manufacturing  nutrients from the food we eat, the elimination of  waste matter, helping to balance hormones.

Bacteria in the gut can feed on substances called lignans, present in some foods. In doing so,  they manufacture phytoestrogens and these can be absorbed into the bloodstream to act like our body own oestrogen. Lignans are present in many natural foods, including vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts and seeds, legums, such as lentils and beans.

If we have healthy bacteria and eat healthy foods,  we are getting a regular dose of phytoestrogens  that help to support our own hormones and keep our oestrogen level balanced. But if we eat all the right food, but gut bacteria are absent, these foods will not help at all.

The friendly bacteria living inside prefer a specific gut environment. If this changes, even slightly, the good bacteria decrease in amount and the bad bacteria prevail, causing bloating, wind, constipation, candida and other digestive disorders. The gut is like a little garden. In order to grow beautiful flowers you need to weed and fertilise.

Friendly bacteria are not helped by:

  • Antibiotic use, even from years ago.
  •  Stress.
  • Digestive problems, such as IBS.
  • Smoking.
  • Alcohol.
  • Processed food.
  • Sugar.
  • Caffeine.

Research has shown that having good bacteria in the gut has a positive effect on mood, immunity and general health. Friendly bacteria are also really important for vaginal health in the menopause. An imbalance or lack of good bacteria can contribute to vaginal dryness, irritation and infection. A good probiotic is a starting point when trying to deal with  menopausal symptoms.