top of page
  • Writer's pictureMelanie

a healthy gut helps perimenopause symptoms-yes, really!

In my last blog, I looked at the range of conditions associated with an under-nourished gut microbiome. Today, I am specifically looking at the importance of improving gut health during perimenopause.

Hormonal imbalance can lead to symptoms such as weight gain, mood swings, insomnia, fatigue, dry skin, other skin problems, low libido and anxiety.

Hormonal balance starts with what we eat and how we digest it.

The gut is essential for hormonal balance.

For example, gut microbes secrete an enzyme called beta-glucuronidase which activates oestrogen. When the gut microbes are out of kilter (dysbiosis), beta-glucuronidase production can be too high, leading to excess activated oestrogen in the body, or it may be too low, leading to too little oestrogen. This is not ideal at any time, but especially when our hormones are already travelling on the hormonal rollercoaster of perimenopause.

Recent research has shown that gut permeability (‘leaky gut’) increases during perimenopause. This leads to a reduction in hormone clearance, which increases the symptoms associated with perimenopause and post-menopause, increased inflammation and a lowering of bone mineral density, leaving us vulnerable to osteoporosis. To avoid ‘leaky gut’, balance our hormones and help reduce the risk of osteoporosis, we have to keep our gut microbiome healthy, by supporting the good bacteria and reducing the bad guys.

Everything that we eat and drink effects the incredible microorganisms in our gut. There are many factors that influence our gut microbiome, including antibiotics, stress, smoking, alcohol, caffeine, genetics and our environment, many of which we can not change, but...

We can change our microbiome in as little as 24 hours by what we eat!

An American- or Western-style diet is not good for our gut microbiome, the more sugar-laden and processed foods we eat, the unhealthier it becomes, leading to lack of diversity, increased ‘leaky gut’ and a reduced capacity to regulate our hormones.

To improve the health of our microbiome, ditch the processed foods, eat a wide range of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, wholegrains and legumes, and fermented foods.

The bacteria in our gut can feed on substances called lignans, which are found in nuts, seeds, legumes, wholegrains, fruit and vegetables.

In doing this, the bacteria produce phytoestrogens, which are then absorbed into the bloodstream and act like a weaker version of our body’s own oestrogen. This can help to keep our hormones balanced.

A healthy diversity of gut bacteria can lead to improvements in body weight, blood sugar balance and tummy fat. A reduction in tummy fat not only makes us feel less ‘middle-aged’, but it is also important for keeping our oestrogen levels in check, as visceral adipose (stomach-fat) tissue produces some oestrogen, leading to increased hormonal imbalance. Blood sugar balancing reduces the risk of type-2 diabetes.

A diet full of fruit, vegetables, wholegrains and legumes reduces is also naturally high in fibre, which is excellent for helping to detoxify our bodies, including removing unwanted hormones, again, helping us to keep our hormone levels in check.

Eating fermented foods makes our gut microbiome particularly happy and reduces ‘leaky gut’.

Fermented foods include kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, kombucha, miso, tempeh and yoghurt. I recommend having a serving of natural/plain soya yoghurt a day with some fruit and seeds, and then adding a tablespoon of kimchi or sauerkraut once a day after a week or so. Alternatively, try a daily drink of kombucha or kefir. Go slowly when you start to introduce these products, as too much in one go can overload your system and leave you with bloating and a sore stomach. Be sure to buy unpasteurised versions of kimchi and sauerkraut, or make your own, as heat treatment kills off the helpful bacteria in these products. Ensure kefir, kombucha and yoghurts are natural and not filled with added sugars.

These foods can be expensive, and yet are easy to make, I make my own soya yoghurt and kimchi. I have made water kefir in the past and am planning on giving kombucha a go! If you’d like to try making your own; check out the links below for recipe ideas and advice: for kimchi, kefir and kombucha recipes

20 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page