It's so nice ot have a board for women that have to deal with the frustration of menopause. My periods started to become erratic 4 years ago this August. I had 3 periods last year. My last period was jan. of this year. I am 56 years old, my sister and mother were both my age when they ended. In the beginning I had a few hot flashes, but the past yearit has been hot flashes and night sweats, last month, nothing at all, was great!!! This past week I have been constantly sweating at night. Another strange occurance is bowel issues. All my life I have been constipated. Within the past 5 years certain foods, especially spaghetti sauce, cause me to have soft or very soft stool. But usually by the next day I'm ok. Last Wed. night I had 2 big bowls of spaghetti, and of course went 3x the next morning very loose. Today is Monday, and it's been this way ever since, just not as bad. But not my norm. Saturday, I ate nothing but applesauce, plain pasta and dry cereal, the next day when I tried to go it was a small amount but formed. Yesterday I had a little steak, wax beans and a small baked potato, and again, soft stool (with a little straining). None of these are urgencies to have a bm. I have had more nigh sweats and some sweating during the day than I have ever had. Can my hormones be playing havoc with my intestines? This is so out of the norm for me and very frustrating, and it only happens in the morning. Otherwise, I feel fine. Thank you
Yes, alot of women on the board here have complained about stomach issues, IBS, etc. that seem to be brought on by peri/meno. I am not sure what the connection between the two are, maybe it is as we age are digestive tracts are not what they used to be. There are many women here who are certainly having the same difficulties, myself included.
Some of the women here have posted some relief by taking probiotics or digestive enzymes. So far, I haven't found anything to relieve it.
Hi Terry1209, welcome to the forum!
Yes, Multi-Enzymes with Probiotics is a good supplement one can take to regulate your digestive system. I highly recommend it, as I've used it for a year now with good results. I caution against using it with a laxative however, as this can cause loose stools. And of course doctor's will advise more fiber and ruffage such as lettuce, and perhaps eat more cheese, as these add bulk. Very good foods to stop loose stools.
And I whole-heartedly agree with Missy here, in that, our system(s) are and do change with aging. What once was is no longer. I think this is why so many of us freak out when the change of life starts, because we're so used to it being one way for so many years. The truth is that everything changes with menopause. Hoping you find relief, ~Karen
I always got diarreaha when my period was about to start, so bowel changes are nothing new to me, though I've noticed I have loose stools a little more often. I'm sure it's from nerves and not eating as I should. Peri has sent my nerves into a tailspin lately. Hopefully once I get back to eating more balanced meals and eating WHEN I should, I'll get back on track a bit.
I think that these digestive issues could very likely be related to peri. I have read in several places that fluctuating/declining estrogen levels can have a big impact on our neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine and especially norepinephrine.
For instance, norepinephrine levels in the brain are thought to be responsible for regulating our body temperatures, and when estrogen levels drop, brain norepinephrine levels go up, which can trigger hot flashes. Also, drugs that cause norepinephrine levels to rise tend to cause hot flashes, while those that cause levels to drop can prevent hot flashes.
Norepinephrine is also called the ‘fight-or-flight’ hormone, and high levels also trigger a rise in blood pressure and heart rate, nervousness, anxiety attacks, feelings of dread or ‘doom’, and stress in general.
Most people think of serotonin as being involved with moods, depression, etc, but there is actually more serotonin in our digestive tract than anywhere else in our bodies, and it is key to regulating intestinal movements. (This may also be why we get ‘that feeling’ in the pit of our stomach when we feel like something’s gone wrong).
Anyway, there seems to be little doubt that fluctuating estrogen levels affect the levels of these neurotransmitters in our brains, so to me it would seem plausible that the levels found in other parts of our bodies would be affected as well.
I have also read that antidepressants that affect serotonin often have gastro side effects that include nausea, diarrhea and constipation, so that would be consistent with my crazy theory.
Very interesting and good to know Lisa, thank you! You go girl! I didn't know estrogen levels affect serotonin levels. I don't doubt it a bit. I'll have to do some research there too, as this is important to me since I take a serotonin uptake inhibitor. Thanks again sweetheart, glad to see you back on the forum here! ~Karen
I pop in to read once in a while, but between the kids, the grandkids and beating the wolf away from the door, I haven’t had much free time lately.
I read an article on norepinephrine a couple of months ago that really piqued my curiosity, and since then I’ve been doing a lot of reading on how estrogen interacts with neurotransmitters, and it seems to me that they may be the ‘missing link’ that tie many of these seemingly unrelated menopause symptoms together.
Here is a link to a great article by Robert R. Freedman of the North American Menopause Society that goes into great detail on the role that norepinephrine plays in causing hot flashes (government website):
After I wrote the above, I found this article which gives more detail on the role that serotonin may play in IBS (also a government website)
I just skimmed it, but this is another avenue I’d like to pursue further.
Our bodies are so darned complicated that trying to piece it all together gets my head spinning. No wonder so many doctors seem so confused!
Thank you all for answering! I saw my dr. for depression yesterday and he put me on Lexapro, I already take an anxiety med. He thinks I may be dealing with IBS. This week I am constipated now!!!!! GRRRR! The good thing is, all last week I had night sweats, worse than ever, this week, nothing. Sooo frustrating all this is. We suffer with periods for 40 years, you would think that in itself would be enough! Terry
Hi Terry, everyone!
I agree wholeheartedly with you Terry, in that we do suffer! I've always thought it a curse, lol. But then menstruation is necessary for us to have children, so there's the blessing! However, then enters menopause, lol! Why is it that some women experience no symptoms or problems, while others like ourselves do? I find this very odd. A couple of my sisters had hysterectomies, and not one word about menopausal symptoms, none! Hm. Very curious.
On another note, wanted to say there's a good thread on IBS and digestive issues here called, "Anyone have digestive trouble with Perimenopause?" Check it out. And I hope you get to feeling better! I had to go off some meds & herbs for medical testing and my hot flashes came on like BOOM! On with the fan, off with the covers... let the waves begin! LOL.