Spring into Menopause: the link between anxiety and your gut health

A woman standing with her arms up in a strong position

By Andrea Marsh from Cotswold Menopause

Over the next 3 months I'll be looking at some of the most common menopause symptoms and their link to your gut health.

I help women alleviate their worst symptoms naturally, and this stems from my learnings as a Shiatsu and Chinese Medicine Practitioner and my personal experience and that of my clients. 5 years ago, I wondered if I was depressed; I didn't feel depressed but if I listed my symptoms to a GP, I would have been told I was depressed.

So, what was I feeling?

Anxiety in my stomach every single day for no apparent reason, my emotions seemed flat, I found nothing enjoyable, and I cried at literally everything on the telly. I hadn't heard of the word perimenopause and I thought the menopause would happen in 10 years or so; and it was hot flushes and your periods stopped wasn't it? I was 45 and had my periods so that wasn't me.

I then found out a bit more about the perimenopause.

These are the years leading up to the menopause, when your changing hormones are really starting to alter how you feel. Most women are really unprepared for this stage. I'm one of the lucky ones. I happened to be at an event and heard a presentation about why a top ranking executive had to leave her job due to anxiety. I thought this was atrocious, she had built up a career of 25 years only to leave?

However the bells were ringing in my head as I heard her symptoms; it was because she was perimenopausal. Now I understand the root cause of my anxiety and my mission is to help other women with perimenopausal symptoms to manage and resolve their anxiety too.

I first picked up a bottle of Bio-Live Women at an event a few years ago. This probiotic is a game changer in women's health and can be especially good support during hormonal upheaval.

Anxiety affects your head and your gut, and it's a bit chicken and egg; which comes first? The underlying cause is a fatigue of your adrenal system which is responsible for creating hormones. This allows adrenalin and the stress hormone cortisol to be too easily released into your gut. I think of it as a chemical that is squirting too easily and leaves you with that feeling in your gut. The feeling you then attribute a negative emotion too, and the label is anxiety. Hanging onto this feeling, thinking about it, worrying about it, and remaining focused on it, keeps you in your caveman brain and you remain in a state of fight or flight allowing adrenalin and cortisol to be more readily released; a catch 22 situation.

So how can we escape this?

I've found that it helps to interrupt this thought pattern emotionally whilst resolving what is going on in your gut. This is where a probiotic comes in, and especially Bio-Live Women which is packed with herbs and minerals that are supportive to your system at this time of stressful hormonal upheaval. Excess cortisol munches up your spare nutrition so taking supplements at this time is vitally important for your physical and emotional wellbeing. The beneficial herbs in Bio-Live Women include stress adaptogens, these are herbs that interrupt the adrenal response and calm it down; Moringa, Schisandra and Korean Ginseng work together to do this. Then herbs such as Motherwort and Fennel are working to balance your hormones, whilst Lady's Mantle and Shepherd's Purse aim to regulate your periods making this a great probiotic for the perimenopause specifically.

The Bio-Live probiotic range contains a variety of bacteria which is so important for your gut health at this time. A lot of health issues are exacerbated when the bacteria of the microbiome are not flourishing well; a probiotic puts the bacteria back in.

To keep the bacteria alive and well you can also take a prebiotic, also known as vegetables, fruits, and some natural whole food, food for the bacteria! The reason why this is vitally important is that 90% of your brain chemicals are made in your gut. A healthy gut is a healthy mind, literally. In helping women relieve their anxiety I have to help them regain a flourishing gut, it's a major player in relieving all menopausal symptoms.

If you would like to know more about how I can help you, please go to cotswoldmenopause.co.uk and check out the Help is Here section. This is not only for menopausal women. You could be younger, older or male and if you have anxiety look to strengthening your gut health, shop the Bio-Live range here. ___

Andrea Marsh is a Shiatsu and Chinese Medicine Practitioner in Gloucestershire who specialises in helping women alleviate their menopause symptoms practically and successfully. Anxiety is a topic covered in her new book Understanding Your Menopause, a Tried and tested practical, natural solutions to alleviate your symptoms effectively Available now in ebook from cotswoldmenopause.co.uk and on Amazon.    

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