Menopause is the phase in life when a woman’s menstrual cycle ends, and a new phase begins.
Some women welcome “the change.” No more ups and downs – and bother with a monthly cycle. For others, the mental and physical side effects – from weight gain to hot flashes and mood swings to bloating – can rock her world to the core.
If you’re in the latter group, here’s some good news…
There’s excellent evidence that taking a daily probiotic supplement can help relieve your symptoms. More and more women use probiotics to help with almost every unpleasant side of menopause.
To understand how probiotics may help, let’s first explore the relationship between your microbiome and menopause.
Microbiome & Menopause
In recent years, it’s become abundantly clear that a healthy microbiome is essential for good health and helps address various health concerns. (1)
Your microbiome is the collective population of microorganisms that live within and on your body. These organisms number well over 10 trillion microbial cells, residing primarily in your gut and mouth. For women, the urogenital area also houses a unique community of microbes.
When harmful bacteria flourish in your microbiome, various health issues can ensue, including irregular digestion, low mood, weight gain, vaginal infections, and more.
According to research, the female hormone estrogen and your microbiome are interconnected. (2) During menopause, estrogen levels drop, affecting the makeup of your microbiome and causing negative menopausal symptoms to increase. (3)
The general understanding is that your microbiome has added importance during menopause and beyond. And one tool that helps keep your microbiome healthy and balanced is probiotics.
Furthermore, certain strains of probiotics have been shown to have beneficial effects on women in menopause. (4)
The Weight Gain Dilemma
One of the most disheartening changes that women experience during menopause is how fat gathers around the middle, and the body reshapes itself from an hourglass to an apple.
Along with changing fat distribution, obesity affects 6 in 10 menopausal women. The relationship between the gut microbiome and a lack of estrogen is likely to blame for menopausal weight gain and shifting fat deposits. For this, the Lactobacillus family of bacteria may help rescue your figure.
In one study, the probiotic strain L. rhamnosus helped women lose 50% more weight than those taking a placebo. (5)
In another study, women consuming foods with the probiotic strains L. fermentum had reduced body fat by 3-4% over six weeks. (6)
And finally, in a randomized, double-blind study, taking probiotic strain L. gasseri reduced belly fat by as much as 8.5% in some participants – although participants were not exclusively menopausal women. (7)
Dropping estrogen levels are not the only reason women experience weight gain during menopause. Another theory is that systematic inflammation, a known contributor to weight gain, is a side effect of menopause. (8)
The Lactobacillus family of probiotics helps reduce inflammation and reduces the risk of weight and body fat gain. Taking probiotics in the Lactobacillus family addresses potential weight gain causes – lack of estrogen and systematic inflammation.
The Mood Rollercoaster
A woman’s emotions regarding the close of her childbearing years range from relief to bittersweet to painful. These feelings contribute to the rollercoaster nature of a woman’s mood during menopause. The other contributing factor to a swinging mood could be the gut microbiome.
The gut is often called the “second brain” for two reasons. First, your gut and brain are directly linked through the vagus nerve. This connection is why you often feel anxious and fear in your stomach. The second reason is that the feel-good chemical serotonin originates in the gut. Serotonin helps stabilize your mood and contributes to your sense of wellbeing.
Research suggests that establishing a good balance of probiotic bacteria in your gut facilitates positive communication between your gut and your brain, helping stabilize mood and reducing feelings of sadness and anxiety.
One significant study has shown that a probiotic mixture of L. fermentum, L. rhamnosus, L. plantarum, and Bifidobacterium longum— taken over six weeks — significantly improved mood and sleep quality while reducing anger and fatigue. (9)
Summarizing a comprehensive review of existing studies on probiotics and their effect on mood, all demonstrate significant improvements compared to placebo or no treatment. (10)
Hot flashes are the most reported symptom of menopause. They can last from a few months to years and happen any time of the day or night, regardless of the ambient temperature. They make it nearly impossible to sleep when they occur at night. Hot flashes happen due to changes in estrogen levels which affect your body’s ability to control temperature.
Research shows that supplementing with the bacteria strain L. acidophilus alleviated hot flashes and improved quality of life. Interestingly, studies show that L. acidophilus helped women with vaginal dryness, fatigue, and anxiety — all commonly-reported menopause side effects. (11)
Find Your Peace of Mind
You’ve probably noticed numerous probiotic supplements that say “for women only.” Regardless of the label, a probiotic supplement can’t effectively address the symptoms of menopause unless it contains the proven strains within the Lactobillicus and Bifidobacterium probiotic bacteria families.
A quality probiotic like Dynamic Biotics™ with 16 unique strains, including all menopause supporting strains including L. gasseri, L. fermentum, L. rhamnosus, L. plantarum, L. acidophilus along, and Bifidobacterium longum.
If you’re looking for a powerful probiotic supplement that takes a holistic approach to feminine health by encouraging good microflora while discouraging harmful bacteria build-up, consider what’s in the bottle and not just the marketing hype on the front of the label. Stonehenge Health’s Dynamic Biotics™ is an excellent choice for helping menopausal women cope.
1. “The gut microbiome in health and in disease” – PubMed – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4290017/
2. “Menopause, the gut microbiome, and weight gain: correlation or causation?” – The Journal of The North American Menopause Society – journals.lww.com/menopausejournal/Abstract/2021/03000/Menopause,_the_gut_microbiome,_and_weight_gain_.14.aspx
3. “ Estrogen Deficiency and the Origin of Obesity during Menopause” Hindawi BioMedical Research International – hindawi.com/journals/bmri/2014/757461/
5. Effect of Lactobacillus rhamnosus CGMCC1.3724 supplementation on weight loss and maintenance in obese men and women | British Journal of Nutrition | Cambridge Core – cambridge.org/core/journals/british-journal-of-nutrition/article/effect-of-lactobacillus-rhamnosus-cgmcc13724-supplementation-on-weight-loss-and-maintenance-in-obese-men-and-women/7C9810D79528C4ADC77A22EE45F9CA8E
6. L. fermentum – A common probiotic strain – Humarian – humarian.com/l-fermentum/
7. Best Bacteria for Losing Weight – Probiotics Council – probioticscouncil.org/best-bacteria-for-losing-weight/
8. Effect of probiotics Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium on gut-derived lipopolysaccharides and inflammatory cytokines: an in vitro study using a human colonic microbiota model – PubMed – pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23568206/
9. “Food & mood: a review of supplementary prebiotic and probiotic interventions in the treatment of anxiety and depression in adults” BMJ Nutrition, Prevention & Health – nutrition.bmj.com/content/early/2020/06/09/bmjnph-2019-000053
10. Frontiers | Influence of Oral and Gut Microbiota in the Health of Menopausal Women | Microbiology – frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmicb.2017.01884/full
11. “Effects of Probiotics on Cognitive Reactivity, Mood, and Sleep Quality” PubMed – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6445894/