Did you know that women are more likely to develop IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) than men? It’s true, and many believe this is because of the different hormones that the female body produces throughout the monthly menstrual cycle. So what happens when menopause begins?
Once this period of life begins, the hormones that are produced by the body change, and so will the problems you have with IBS and the related symptoms. If you consider the way hormones work through a woman’s fertile years, you might understand how the hormonal changes of menopause affect IBS.
Irritable bowel affects up to fifteen percent of the population of the United States, and it is estimated that 70-75 percent of patients are female. Those with this condition suffer from bouts of cramping, bloating, and diarrhea or constipation. This is something that is usually diagnosed before age 50, and some go through life dealing with it, but not realizing that they have a medical condition. There is no real cure for IBS, but there are a number of lifestyle changes and medications that seem to help some patients.
The symptoms and flare ups of IBS tend to be worse for all women when they are having their period. Fluctuating hormones seem to be the culprit, with the rise in progesterone during this time being one of the more influential triggers. This means that a woman with IBS will have far more trouble symptoms and bouts of bloating, diarrhea, and cramping. Because of this, not only do more women get IBS than men, it also means that they are going to have a harder time dealing with it.
Pregnancy can bring about a whole new set of problems for those women with IBS as well. Pregnancy will do many things to a women’s body, and what will happen with IBS seems to be different for every women. Hormones start raging through the body, and many of these are the same or are much like the ones related to menses. For some women, their IBS is much more under control while they are expecting, and for others, the opposite is true.
The good news is that the hormones that are associated with IBS flare-ups will subside substantially when menopause happens. Women with IBS can expect they will begin to feel much better, and their symptoms will be more comparable to men with the condition. Women with IBS generally begin to feel better around age 50 to 55, depending on when they go through menopause. They may notice a sudden improvement when menopause begins, or it may take a while for symptoms to slow down. It is important to remember that while going through menopause, the fluctuations of hormones can be dramatic. This might make IBS worse for a time, but it should pass. Either way, this is a time when a woman can expect to gain some relief from her IBS symptoms at least.
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