Learn more about hormonal balance and digestion
Many of us have noticed that, depending on the period of our cycle or certain key moments in our lives, our digestion is not quite the same: before menstruation, as well as during menopause or pregnancy, we may feel more bloated or have transit problems
On the other hand, we recommend taking care of our intestinal system, in particular our liver and microbiota, to relieve certain hormonal pathologies such as endometriosis and certain signs of premenstrual syndrome or pre-menopause. And this often alleviates some of the unpleasant symptoms.
So there is a link between our female hormones and our digestion. But what is it? How does it work? And how can we use this link to feel better and fight hormonal imbalances? Let’s go for a detailed tour of the digestion-female hormone connection (which can be dangerous!)!
The role of our digestive system in intestinal balance
2 organs have a key responsibility here: the liver and the intestine and its host, the microbiota.
The role of the liver in hormonal balance
On the one hand, the liver will produce cholesterol from which all our sexual hormones are synthesized. A tired liver, overloaded by alcohol, medication or a rich diet will produce poor quality cholesterol, or in inadequate quantities. The liver also allows us to assimilate, via the bile it secretes, the good fats from our food, those that are so beneficial to our intestinal balance and to our good health in general
On the other hand, it is the liver that is in charge of destroying our “used” or excess hormones, in particular estrogens, and sending them to the intestine for elimination in the stool and urine
The role of the intestines in hormonal balance
It is through the intestine that the nutrients that our body needs to produce good quality hormones are (or are not!) assimilated, as well as all the enzymes and co-factors that will allow them to function and be eliminated correctly. It must therefore be in good condition for the nutrients to pass through the barrier correctly, so that they are well assimilated.
On the other hand, if the intestine is porous, it will allow substances to pass through that are harmful to our body. The immune system will then go on alert at each meal, creating a chronic inflammatory state. This chronic inflammation consumes a lot of cholesterol, which is less available to produce progesterone. In addition, the immune system, busy, even exhausted, preventing certain substances resulting from digestion from entering the bloodstream, will be less able to fight, for example, against the proliferation of endometrial tissue outside the uterus and therefore against the development of endometriosis
Finally, a small intestine and/or colon that is poorly irrigated or not sufficiently toned can be a source of constipation. The stagnation of stools in the colon causes fermentation. If the intestinal barrier is porous, the toxins resulting from this fermentation can diffuse into the nearby ovaries and uterus. This can cause heavy and/or painful periods
The role of the microbiota in hormonal balance
Among the many families of bacteria that make up our microbiota, there is one that has a particularly important role in our hormonal balance: the estrobolome. These bacteria, when too numerous, are able, thanks to an enzyme that they secrete, to reconstitute the estrogens that the liver has destroyed and to put them back into circulation. This is all the more deleterious as the form of estrogen generated is much more active than a ‘natural’ estrogen
And let’s not forget the role of digestion in the secretion of insulin, which can itself be responsible for the proliferation of fatty tissues capable of secreting estrogens. The latter can then be in excess and generate a premenstrual syndrome or a complicated premenopause
We have seen how having a healthy digestive system is important for the balance of our female hormones. Now let’s look at the role of our female hormones on our digestion.
A good hormonal balance for a good digestion
Progesterone and transit
You may have noticed that when your period is approaching, your bowel movements may slow down. This is also a frequent phenomenon during pregnancy. The main culprit is progesterone. Progesterone is in fact a relaxing hormone. As such, it relaxes all the muscles of the body, including the muscles of our intestines. The latter then lose tone and function in a sub-regime. Constipation can set in with all the negative consequences mentioned above.
Estrogen and microbiota
Estrogen also plays a role in our digestive problems. They are the fuel for our good bacteria, especially those that live in our vagina. We know that the link between all our microbiota, whether oral, intestinal, respiratory or vaginal, is very close. A vaginal flora that is impoverished due to a drop in hormones can thus have a negative influence on the intestinal flora and cause the disorders we mentioned above
Pill and digestive system
Finally, let’s talk about the impact of taking hormonal contraceptives, in particular the pill, on digestion. Some studies have shown that taking the pill has a negative impact on the quality of our microbiota. There is also evidence that the pill “steals” or disrupts the assimilation of some of the nutrients that are essential to the proper functioning of our digestive system
As we have just seen, the interactions between the digestive system and hormonal balance are numerous and self-perpetuating, creating vicious circles. Here are some solutions to make our digestive system our best ally in the fight against hormonal imbalances, and vice versa:
- Favour a simple, digestible and nutritious diet by avoiding mixtures of several cereals or seeds, fried foods, dishes with sauce, industrial products and by favouring local and organic products
- Consume pro- and prebiotic foods (leeks, asparagus, lacti-fermented foods, artichokes…)
- Limit alcohol
- If you are taking antibiotics, get advice on probiotics
- Chew your meals well
- Avoid snacking
- Fight against hypochlorhydria
- Manage your stress with our food supplement [MY] Serenity Essentials
Thus, our hormonal imbalances may have their source in our digestion just as our female hormones may have to do with the functioning of our digestive system. By improving what, when and how we eat, we can improve our hormonal and overall health and well-being!