Hey Babes, as part of our famous Ask Me Anything questions, the stunning Marcy Crouch ( https://www.restorativepelvicphysicaltherapy.com/ ) answered all your 'down-there' concerns and questions regarding.
One of the most popular questions was all about menopause and constipation.
Can menopause cause constipation?
Is there a correlation between perimenopause and constipation?
Can perimenopause cause constipation and bloating?
So hey - what is constipation?
The typical definition is being unable of having more than three complete bowel movements a week.
It is considered chronic if it lasts for 3 months or longer.
When being constipated the complete void of your bowels can be difficult. Sometimes women seek extra support and medication to remove stool. Additional symptoms of constipation are having stools that are hard, lumpy and small or straining to void. In general you also might feel sluggish or overall uncomfortable. Occasional constipation is not unusual and can have several causes, menopause being one of them.
Menopause and Constipation - What the hell is the connection?
Through the drop of female hormones as estrogen and progesterone many areas can be affective, including your digestive tract. But is there a correlation between perimenopause and constipation? The answer is yes - changes in your bowel routine can already begin during your perimenopause. Estrogen among other wonderful things is also responsible for keeping your cortisol levels low. Cortisol is mainly a hormone which is associate with stress.
When estrogen fluctuates or declines, your cortisol level rise. This can have an impact on your digestive process, slowing it down and lengthening the time it takes for food to be broken down. It is more difficult for stool to pass. Which can lead to bloating and constipation during perimenopause and menopause.
Drier stool is another side effect, when your body has too little progesterone which is causing your colon to slow down. The longer food remains in your colon the drier it gets. Lower estrogen and progesterone levels can lead to stool being dryer.
Marcy's perspective on Menopause and Constipation
A few things! During menopause, we have a drop in estrogen and progesterone hormone levels, which can affect many things (as I’m sure everyone has experienced), but this can also affect the digestive tract. Lower progesterone levels causes digestion to slow down, which can make stool drier because it stays in the colon longer. Lower levels of estrogen also have an effect on another hormone, cortisol. Cortisol increases when estrogen decreases which also can slow down the passage of stool.
From a pelvic floor muscular standpoint, as we age the strength and/or function of the pelvic floor muscles can decline which can make the actual “pushing” or elimination of stool to become difficult.
The pelvic floor muscles need to be able to lengthen and relax in order to allow the passage of stool and urine, and sometimes the muscles can be too tight or short and won’t allow dry, hard tool to pass. There is also something called “dyssynergia” where the muscles contract or tighten when they should lengthen, and that can also make elimination difficult.
For all other answers from the Ask Me Anything with questions, like
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Disclaimer: these answers are not to be considered medical advice, and should not take the place of seeing a qualified medical professional. This is general information and my opinions, and of course, there are very different scenarios for every person, so please remember that what works for one person may not work for another! This is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any medical disease. Please see your medical professional for your specific needs