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Old 04-14-2005, 10:42 AM   #1
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Smile Women Over 40: Perimenopause Causes Lots of Digestive Problems, Too!

After countless medical tests, seeing several types of specialists, plus naturopaths, an endocrinologist finally hit on what was the root cause of all the digestive problems I had been experiencing for over a year. Perimenopause, or the months/years leading up to ceasation of periods (menopause) was the culprit. Most doctors I'd seen didn't think of this, since I didn't have the "classic" symptoms of hot flashes, etc.
My list of symptoms? Reflux & esophagus "flutters" (I just take Pepcid AC once/day and a healthfood-store-type antiacid chewable tablet now for near-complete-relief), lots of gas, nausea in the a.m.'s especially, some diarrhea (I take over-the-counter Digestive Advantage IBS for these, and am hardly bothered at all now.), plus a weird post-meal fullness after only eating a little meal (I take Regimint gel capsules, twice a day for this & they work great-- a natural remedy comprised of enteric-coated peppermint oil & caraway-seed oil,available online). ANY or ALL of these are aggravated by the fluctuating hormone levels that occur during perimenopause. Unfortunately, books & articles about perimenopause rarely list these as symptoms. Putting two-and-two together, tests were run on me for FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone)levels. Mine were very high, indicating I was indeed in perimenopause.
When I found a message board online for women titled something like "Power Surge" I read a bunch of messages from other women over 40 who were experiencing the same digestive symptoms I was--even the too-full feeling after small meals! Amazing! Now that I know there is no Big Mystery surrounding my symptoms, my mind is more at ease, which I know helps my digestive system enormously. I hope this helps other women who can't figure ouut what's causing their symptoms. And for younger-than-40 women, remember that perimenopause can start occurring as early as 30+.
Hugs,
Maggie C.

 
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Old 04-14-2005, 11:51 AM   #2
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Re: Women Over 40: Perimenopause Causes Lots of Digestive Problems, Too!

Hi Maggie,

I just happened to see your note when I went to the main page and was scrolling down to the Menopause board. It caught my eye as YES perimenopause can defintely cause the things you are mentioning. On the healthboard menopause board here you will find lots of people who are going thru the same thing. I am one of them and have had different things like that off and on thru this process. Unfortunately we have all been told it is just hot flashes at this time with peri but I have not had a one (although I do have nightsweats on occassion) and others have not had flashes either, but do have a myriad of other symptoms that are caused by fluctuating hormones.

There is a great book also called The Pause that goes thru each symptom and it lists as one gastrointestinal disturbances that happen more frequently in some a this time.

My doctor and gyn both told me this and also that some women have more ibs problems at this time.

So anyway, wanted to say your post was a help and also you might want to check in at the menopause board too sometimes as it is not just for those in menopause but perimenopause, the time before. But it sounds like with what you are taking it is helping and that is good. And also it was helpful to read what you are taking.

The Digestive Advantage that you take for the gas ...is that over the counter or prescription?

Thanks for your post and just wanted to comment on it.

rmc

 
Old 04-14-2005, 08:05 PM   #3
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Re: Women Over 40: Perimenopause Causes Lots of Digestive Problems, Too!

Quote:
Originally Posted by rmc12
Hi Maggie,

The Digestive Advantage that you take for the gas ...is that over the counter or prescription?

Thanks for your post and just wanted to comment on it.

rmc
Thanks for your reply! I will check out the menopause board. Yes, the Digestive Advantage IBs is over-the-counter. It contains probiotic(s), an amino acid, and water-soluble fiber. It took about a month of taking 1 chewable daily until I saw real improvement in the gassiness & tendency to diarrhea. I am still taking it & stock up when it's on sale. I have heard ads for it on the radio & there are ads in women's magazines sometimes. Good stuff!
Take care,
Maggie C.

 
Old 04-19-2005, 07:18 PM   #4
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Re: Women Over 40: Perimenopause Causes Lots of Digestive Problems, Too!

I was so glad to read your posts as I wondered if that could be what's causing my digestive problems. I had an endoscopy and colonoscopy and all he could find was a hiatal hernia. I too have fullness after eating just a bit - but I'm not satisfied so I keep eating and then I am miserable because I've eaten too much! I have stomach aches and pains off and on too, mostly right below the sternum. I've tried all sorts of things - medicine and vitamins/herbs but nothing has seemed to help much. The funny thing is I'll feel pretty good one day and the next day I can feel awful.

Can you tell me what your esophagal flutters are? What do they feel like? Sometimes I get this weird fluttery feeling in my chest and wasn't sure if it was my heart or what it was but it's in that location.

I haven't had the hot flashes either but have been skipping periods and having other minor symptoms but nothing compared to the digestive problems.

Thanks for sharing your experiences.

Venezia

 
Old 04-20-2005, 09:27 AM   #5
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Re: Women Over 40: Perimenopause Causes Lots of Digestive Problems, Too!

Venezia,

I personally do not have the flutters you mentioned. The other poster mentioned that so perhaps she will elaborate. But I was going to suggest also that you post on the Menopause board as most of the people there are going thru perimenopause as I know there have been posts on the fluttering issue you describe.

Unfortunately as I said all we ever hear about this time is "hot flashes" and there are so many other symptoms that women deal with at this time. The good news from reading that particular board, is that those that are now in menopause find symptoms do go away so that is encouraging. But getting to that point is very frustrating!!

You said you can feel great one day and then the next awful...and this too is what a lot of people on the board talk about (myself included). My gyn says that perimenopause is like one long pms for some people and that includes digestive aggravations.

I know I couldn't answer the fluttering question but just wanted to also suggest you mention it if you want on the Menopause healthboard as I know others have talked about it there.

rmc

 
Old 04-20-2005, 09:41 AM   #6
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Re: Women Over 40: Perimenopause Causes Lots of Digestive Problems, Too!

I have also had GI/digestive symptoms. I am going through perimenopausal symptoms, too. I am not having hot flashes or night sweats, just dysfunctional uterine bleeding and a a lot of digestive problems - diarrhea, constipation, and a pain below the sternum on the right-hand side. The feeling feels like something is moving about - almost like when I was pregnant and you could feel the baby moving. My doctor said a lot of women experience digestive problems during these years. I thought I was the only one. I was glad to read other people's experiences. I know exactly how you feel.

 
Old 04-20-2005, 11:33 AM   #7
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Re: Women Over 40: Perimenopause Causes Lots of Digestive Problems, Too!

Nell,

What you wrote about the aching below the sternum and also sometimes lower and it being almost like when you were pregnant and you could feel the baby moving is exactly what others on the menopause healthboard have said in different posts too this past year or so that I have been visiting there on and off. Also the other things you mention too. My doctor also has said and my gyn that women do experience more of these digestive situations at this time. It is always good to know one is not alone in all this!!

rmc

 
Old 04-20-2005, 05:50 PM   #8
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Re: Women Over 40: Perimenopause Causes Lots of Digestive Problems, Too!

Even though it doesn't ease the symptoms, Just knowing that others are experiencing the same symptoms eases my mind. I know I'm not crazy! It always helps to talk to someone who understands what you're going through. Thanks for the information!

Venezia

 
Old 04-21-2005, 10:20 AM   #9
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Re: Women Over 40: Perimenopause Causes Lots of Digestive Problems, Too!

Thanks so much for posting this!!! I am 47 years old, and have a history of IBS. A few months ago I was having nausea, off and on, which prompted my doctor to do a complete set of blood tests, abdominal and pelvic CT scans, and an endoscopic ultrasound - all which were normal. She has kind of said that it could just be my IBS, but some of the symptoms I experience are different than any IBS symptoms that I have ever had. Now, after reading this post, I think it's perimenopause! I have good and bad days. Not so much the nausea anymore, but I do have tremendous gurgling and gas in my stomach more days than not. My IBS is still acting up, too, and my doctor did say that hormones can wreak havoc with IBS. I have kept a journal of sorts, and it seems that the symptoms (gas, gurgling, cramps, frequent bowel movements) are worse 10 days after my period (ovulation?), lasting about 5 days, and then again 3-4 days before my period. So that doesn't leave many "good" days, does it?

Does anyone experience gas, and rumbling which is alleviated (for a while, at least) with eating? The only way I can describe it is the feeling I get when I haven't eaten for hours - except that I may have just eaten! I don't get that "full" feeling that others talk of - mine is more a feeling of "needing to eat".

Anyway, I want to thank you again for posting this. I really think I am experiencing symptoms of perimenopause, which is comforting to know, I guess

 
Old 04-21-2005, 12:25 PM   #10
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Re: Women Over 40: Perimenopause Causes Lots of Digestive Problems, Too!

Smvdelv,

What you describe about the symptoms (gas, gurgling, cramps, frequent bowel movements) as being worse 10 days after you period and then right before it seems to be very common in Perimenopause for some of us. I too have kept a chart of it when it first happened and it really correlates with the fluctuating hormones. You are right it doesn't leave many "good days" some months!! Then some months it is not like that for me. So it seems our hormones are all over the place at this time.

You really visit the menopause board here in Healthboards also and post your question regarding the gas, and rumbling being alleviated with eating as I know there are many there that have experienced this. I have also and I also notice it is more so in the morning when I am just getting up. Not at all bothered by it during the night. I do not have the full feeling either. All I know is that gas issues and other gastrointestinal complaints are talked about often on the menopause board and so it seems to be something that we are not alone in which helps. There is a book I mentioned in my earlier post in this thread called The Pause, that goes thru each symtpom and does discuss gastrointestinal discomfort so that may help also.

Take care,

rmc

 
Old 04-21-2005, 05:04 PM   #11
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Re: Women Over 40: Perimenopause Causes Lots of Digestive Problems, Too!

Quote:
Originally Posted by rmc12
Smvdelv,

What you describe about the symptoms (gas, gurgling, cramps, frequent bowel movements) as being worse 10 days after you period and then right before it seems to be very common in Perimenopause for some of us. I too have kept a chart of it when it first happened and it really correlates with the fluctuating hormones. You are right it doesn't leave many "good days" some months!! Then some months it is not like that for me. So it seems our hormones are all over the place at this time.

You really visit the menopause board here in Healthboards also and post your question regarding the gas, and rumbling being alleviated with eating as I know there are many there that have experienced this. I have also and I also notice it is more so in the morning when I am just getting up. Not at all bothered by it during the night. I do not have the full feeling either. All I know is that gas issues and other gastrointestinal complaints are talked about often on the menopause board and so it seems to be something that we are not alone in which helps. There is a book I mentioned in my earlier post in this thread called The Pause, that goes thru each symtpom and does discuss gastrointestinal discomfort so that may help also.

Take care,

rmc

RMC,

I can not tell you how relieved I am to have seen this post!!!! I am going to post on the Menopause boards and I am DEFINITELY going to read The Pause. Thanks so much for your information!!!! Stephanie

 
Old 04-21-2005, 07:48 PM   #12
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Re: Women Over 40: Perimenopause Causes Lots of Digestive Problems, Too!

Stephanie,

I am glad that you will post on the Menopause board because just given the fact that you are 47 you are in perimenopause (the time before menopause). It is always good to check with your doctors about symptoms you are having and from your previous post you have done that. So I hope when you go to the menopause board and do some searches on there (reading past posts about digestive issues and other symptoms on there) in addition to posting yourself that you will feel better in knowing you are not alone. I know I did and still do.

I am 50 and days are better than others with all this. Health anxiety in peri. is also very high for all of us which you will read. Hormones are just all over the place and cause all sorts of symptoms that are so frustrating and make us feel like something is terribly wrong even after testing tells us otherwise. So it is good to read up on it and see how the hormones correlate. I know the book helped me and others and I am sure on the board others will have suggestions for reading too and also for what works with them with what they are taking.

Although I know it is the hormones , it is still frurstrating and gets me down at times. One day I feel great , the next not so much. also since sometimes we just do not know now when we are ovulating or where we are in our cycle, symptoms can come here and there during the month rather than a definite pattern.

I have learned and continue to learn a lot from the Menopause Healthboard and other boards on here and I hope it will help you too.

Take care,

rmc

 
Old 04-22-2005, 01:11 PM   #13
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Re: Women Over 40: Perimenopause Causes Lots of Digestive Problems, Too!

Maggie,

WOW! You described ME! So, you were told told that your bloating was no big deal? What do you do about it? I get that way too, after the smallest meal too! It seems like it happens alot at night too and I try not to eat within 2 hours of going to bed, but I still have the bloating and I am 42. yrs.

 
Old 04-23-2005, 02:39 PM   #14
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Talking Re: Women Over 40: Perimenopause Causes Lots of Digestive Problems, Too!

Quote:
Originally Posted by singer1
Maggie,

WOW! You described ME! So, you were told told that your bloating was no big deal? What do you do about it? I get that way too, after the smallest meal too! It seems like it happens alot at night too and I try not to eat within 2 hours of going to bed, but I still have the bloating and I am 42. yrs.
Hi--For the bloating, I find that over-the-counter Digestive Advantage IBS ( 1 or 1 1/2 chewable tablets per day on an empty stomach) have helped tremendously. But it took a full month of taking it before I could tell I was way better in the gas, bloating and tendency-to-loose-stools areas. For the too-full-after-a-small-meal feeling, I take a peppermint oil-caraway seed oil gelcab (enteric coated) called Regimint. It is available online. Agai, it took about a month of taking 2 gelcaps a day between meals until I noticed definite improvement. But I like these "meds," cause they are natural.
Give 'em a try!
HUgs,
Maggie C.

 
Old 04-23-2005, 03:03 PM   #15
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Re: Women Over 40: Perimenopause Causes Lots of Digestive Problems, Too!

So what you're saying, is that diet, excercise, moderation won't help with the bloating?

 
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