Gut and Hormones: Could your gut be the cause of your period problems?
Ever wonder why you might get really bloated during your menstrual cycle or diarrhea during the first day or two of your period?
The answer lies in your gut.
Meet your gut microbiome
Humans are a literal walking ecosystem. Our gastrointestinal tract is home to trillions of microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, parasites and yeast which is called the gut microbiome. The gut microbiome plays a major role in our overall health including our digestion, synthesis and absorption of vitamins, immune system, neurotransmitter synthesis and new evidence shows these microorganisms also regulate our estrogen levels in our body.
There is a special group of bacteria called the estrobolome that regulates estrogen metabolism in a major way. These bacteria produce an enzyme that metabolizes estrogen back into its active form.
What does this all mean?
Our gut bacteria may be responsible for our period problems because too much estrogen may be circulating throughout our bodies.
If the ecology of microbes in our intestines, also called our gut microbiota composition, is imbalanced women can suffer symptoms of having high levels of estrogen such as PMS and heavy periods and may also play a role in infertility, endometriosis, estrogen-related cancers and more.
What’s a girl to do?
1. The simplest answer is to poop often!
We eliminate excess estrogen in our poop so that it doesn’t go back into our circulation. In order to poop often you need to consume enough fiber from fruits, vegetables and whole grains, drink enough water daily and move your body regularly.
2. Be mindful of antibiotic use and alcohol consumption
Antibiotic use can wreak havoc on your gut microbiome wiping out most of the beneficial microbes that keep us healthy and our digestion balanced. Avoid taking unnecessary antibiotics for viral infections like colds which don’t work and only use them when absolutely necessary. Excessive alcohol use can also cause an imbalance in the gut microbiota composition.
3. Rethink your hormonal contraception
Hormonal contraception like the birth control pill has been shown to negatively affect the gut microbiota and also damages the lining of our intestines which allows undigested proteins to leak out into our bloodstream triggering an immune response like food sensitivities or even autoimmune diseases if left untreated.
Additionally, birth control negatively affects gallbladder function which slows down digestion and can lead to digestive distress like bloating and bloating. The imbalanced gut microbiota may also increase your chance of getting a vaginal yeast infection.
4. Consider supplements
Lastly, if your digestion is off, consider taking a probiotic with live strains and/or prebiotics, which are a type of fiber that feed healthy intestinal bacteria. Studies have also shown that broad spectrum Lactobacillus probiotics have been shown to positively affect the estrobolome and improve estrogen related health issues.
Another supplement that has shown to help is calcium-D-glucarate which regulates the estrobolome so that excess estrogen doesn’t go back into circulation so that it can be safely eliminated from our bodies. The typical dosage is 1500-3000 mg/ day, but it’s always recommended to work with a health practitioner before taking any supplements.
Next time you experience period problems, you may need to address your digestive health first.
Written by our fantastic expert,
gut microbiome researcher, nutritionist, energy healer.