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Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common digestive disorder that can affect people of all ages and genders, including those in perimenopause. Understanding how these conditions intersect is vital for effectively managing the unique challenges they present. Read this blog to explore the symptoms, causes, and strategies for navigating the complexities of untangling IBS and menopause to improve overall well-being and quality of life.

IBS affects the large intestine, causing symptoms such as abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, and diarrhoea. While the exact causes of IBS are still not fully understood, several factors are thought to contribute to the condition, including stress, poor sleep, diet, and physical inactivity.

One of the best ways to manage IBS symptoms during perimenopause is to cultivate healthy lifestyle habits. Experts suggest staying hydrated by drinking at least eight glasses of water a day to help flush the body and promote easy bowel movements.

Eating a well-balanced diet with plenty of fibre can also help promote healthy bowel movements and reduce symptoms like bloating and constipation

A photograph showing healthy foods to eat to help menopause symptoms

Psychotherapy has been found to be a helpful treatment for IBS patients, as it can reduce hypervigilance of symptoms, negative thinking, and improve both psychological and physical symptoms, focusing on the mind-body connection and providing patients with relaxation techniques.

 

While there is no cure for IBS, certain foods can be beneficial for those who suffer from this condition. Here are some foods that can be eaten with people who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome:

  1. Fibre-rich foods: Eating more fibre may improve constipation in IBS because it makes stool soft and easier to pass.
  2. Fatty cold-water fish: These are high in PUFAs known as omega-3 fatty acids that have robust anti-inflammatory effects. As gut inflammation is known to contribute to IBS symptoms, eating more omega-3-rich fish can help. These include fatty fish such as anchovies and black cod.
  3. Soluble fibre foods: Soluble fibre is found in oats, barley, apples, oranges, flaxseeds, and Psyllium husk. Soluble fibre can help to bulk up stools, reduce inflammation, and ease bowel movements. Oats have a high soluble fibre content and are also a good source of protein.
  4. Low FODMAP diet: Some people with IBS benefit from following a low FODMAP diet, which involves avoiding foods high in fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols. These include onions, garlic, wheat, dairy, and some fruits.
  5. Probiotics: Fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, and miso contain probiotics that can help improve gut health and reduce IBS symptoms.

While there is no one-size-fits-all diet for IBS, individuals with this condition should experiment with different foods and note any triggers that may exacerbate their symptoms. Some people find that avoiding certain triggers like dairy, fried food, and gluten helps reduce their IBS symptoms, while others benefit from eating more fibre or following a low FODMAP diet. A balanced diet means eating a wide variety of nutrient-dense foods and avoiding highly processed or sugary foods.

Untangling IBS and menopause is crucial for understanding and managing the unique challenges that arise during this phase of life. By recognizing the interconnectedness of these conditions and seeking comprehensive care that addresses both gastrointestinal and hormonal aspects, individuals can effectively alleviate symptoms and improve their quality of life.

Remember, consulting with healthcare professionals for both untangling IBS and menopause can provide tailored strategies and support for a more comfortable and balanced journey. Visit Pause and Co Healthcare to take control of your menopause symptoms and receive personalized care tailored to your individual needs and concerns.

Nadira Awal

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