I’m 52, and since hitting menopause, I’ve been constipated and bloated. I’ve been loading up on whole grains, water and veggies, but none of it has helped. Why is this happening and what can I do?
Half of postmenopausal women battle constipation and bloat. One reason: Estrogen plays a key role in digestive function—when estrogen drops, levels of bile, which is the body’s natural laxative, also decrease. This leads to gas, bloat and dry, difficult-to-pass stools.
Eating veggies and staying hydrated adds fiber and water to stool, so that is a smart step. But I’d avoid grains, which can bulk up waste to worsen constipation. Instead, try adding good fats from foods such as salmon, olive oil and nuts to your daily diet. They’re essential for bile secretion. And consider supplementing with 300 mg. to 350 mg. of magnesium citrate daily. The mineral combats constipation by pulling water into intestinal contents so they’re easier for the body to pass. Q I’m 46 and have no energy. My friend says it’s perimenopause, and that taking the herb maca really helped her.
Should I try it? A Supplementing with this Peruvian root can ease perimenopausal fatigue, plus the hot flashes, sleep problems and anxiety that worsen exhaustion. Research shows maca’s phytochemicals fight dips in estrogen and progesterone that cause these draining symptoms. And in studies published in The International Journal of Biomedical Science and elsewhere, perimenopausal women who took 2,000 mg. of maca daily had a 31% reduction in symptom severity after one month, and 62% after two months. (A studybacked product: Femenessence MacaLife, Amazon.com.)
I also advise taking 20-minute walks three times weekly since moderate exercise is shown to reduce fatigue by up to 65%. If your fatigue doesn’t lift within four to eight weeks, your doctor can suggest other strategies.