June 22, 2023

Perimenopause Food Sensitivity

More like this:

Join us

Members Get More

Join the It'sFetch community

Share this post

Written by Erin Dresser

perimenopause food sensitivity

How Perimenopause Causes Food Sensitivity

Perimenopause is the result of hormone fluctuations taking place in the body. The two main hormones that affect perimenopause are estrogen and progesterone. During perimenopause, estrogen levels may rise and fall and irregular periods, but progesterone levels commonly decline steadily during this shift. As a result, these hormonal changes have several effects on your body.

perimenopause hormonal changes and food sensitivity

One possible change could be new food sensitivities. Hormones, particularly estrogen, are in charge of regulating many of the body’s functions, including the immune system and gut health. The hormonal changes taking place during perimenopause can impact the sensitive balance of bacteria in the digestive system, impact nutrient absorption, decrease the gastrointestinal (GI) tract motility, and weaken the gut lining, potentially leading to the development of new food sensitivities, or worsening already established food sensitivities.

What is Food Sensitivity?

Food sensitivity, sometimes called food intolerance, is the adverse reaction to ingesting certain foods. This differs from food allergies because it does not involve the immune system and only causes reactions in the GI tract. Common symptoms of food sensitivities include skin issues (such as rashes, breakouts, or eczema), joint pain, mood changes, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, headaches/migraines, and fatigue. 

How to Manage It

Developing new food sensitivities can exacerbate other perimenopause symptoms, including mood swings, brain fog, hot flashes, and poor sleep. Additionally, the inflammation that results from food sensitivities can contribute to other perimenopause symptoms, including join pain, headaches/migraines, and skin issues. 

Because each of these symptoms can increase the strain women experience during this transitional phase, it is imperative that the triggering foods are avoided. The first step in this process is to identify the foods that trigger sensitivities and induce a reaction. Keeping a detailed food diary that notes what foods you ate and the corresponding symptoms can help depict patterns and identify the possible culprits. 

The next step is to eliminate the potentially problematic foods. Once the possible triggers have been removed from the diet and symptoms are alleviated, you can slowly reintroduce the removed foods one at a time to solidify which foods are causing the adverse reactions. 

Elimination diets are best when supervised by a healthcare professional or registered dietician. Consulting with one of these providers can increase success in managing food sensitivities and other symptoms during perimenopause. These professionals can also offer tailored recommendations, supplements, resources, and support throughout this transition.

Other Ways to Improve Symptoms

It is essential to ensure you are eating a balanced and nutritious diet. Consulting with a registered dietician or healthcare provider can help in this area, particularly if supplements may be recommended. Be sure to include a variety of whole grains and legumes for fiber and fresh fruits and vegetables for antioxidants and essential nutrients. Foods high in probiotics may also help maintain a healthy gut flora and improve overall gut health. Yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, some kombuchas, and kefir are all good sources of natural probiotics. Ensuring you have a well rounded diet with all of the essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals can help promote a healthy gut and decrease the risk of developing or exacerbating food sensitivities.

women's perimenopause community

Other factors to consider managing carefully include regular exercise, adequate sleep, stress management, and meditation or mindfulness practices. Regular physical activity is beneficial to overall health and can also help alleviate some perimenopause symptoms. Physical activity can reduce stress, improve digestion, and promote hormonal balance, which may reduce the severity of food sensitivities.

Additionally, regular and quality sleep can also help regulate hormone balance and is essential for overall health and well being. Chronic stress, which can negatively impact gut health and overall wellness, can be managed via adequate sleep, regular exercise, and mindfulness practices, including meditation, deep breathing, and yoga. These practices can also improve mood and improve sleep, which all contribute to reducing the severity of food sensitivity.

While you may not be able to avoid developing a food sensitivity, it is essential to recognize this transitional phase in perimenopause may disrupt gut health and cause a slew of other symptoms or exacerbate other symptoms in perimenopause. By identifying and eliminating triggering foods and taking steps to reduce symptoms or inflammation, you can increase your quality of life during this transitional phase and improve your overall health and well being. This can be further improved by adopting other lifestyle changes, such as better sleep, regular exercise, stress management, and a healthy diet. Registered dietitians or other healthcare providers can provide support, resources, and tailored recommendations through this phase.

It’s Fetch is a community that provides a safe space for members to discuss health and wellness topics. We provide access to archived health related content, note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content shared, regardless of date should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.

Comments +

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Category Menu