Gut microbiome is essentially our digestive system’s ecosystem of bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Located in a pocket of the large intestine called the cecum, gut microbiomes are needed to fight off bad bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Gut microbiomes are crucial for our overall health, but digging deeper, how do they affect your menstrual cycle?
When our ovaries are producing estrogen, it will circulate through the bloodstream before it arrives at the liver. It is here that the estrogen is inactivated and travels to the digestive tract for elimination. The gut microbiomes will produce B-glucuronidase, an enzyme that will break down estrogen into its active form so that it can exit the body.
IF the microbiome is not functioning efficiently (could be due to stress, a diet high in sugar, certain autoimmune conditions, etc), the estrogen will recirculate back through your body, causing an excess amount, which could lead to a hormonal imbalance.
In addition to estrogen making us fertile, it also has an affect on our skin, weight, metabolism, the patterns of fat deposits, and positively effects the bone and heart. When estrogen levels are decreased, it presents a risk of obesity, cardiovascular disease, and osteoporosis in post-menopause. When estrogen levels are increased, PMS symptoms like heavy bleeding during your period, mood swings, bloating and fluid retention, acne, fatigue can occur. Because of fluctuations in the estrogen levels, this will impact the digestive tract causing spasms in the intestines that can cause diarrhea or when the digestive tract is slowed down, the opposite, constipations, will happen.
When there is too much estrogen and it is mixed with xenoestrogens, hormone-mimicking compounds, it can cause a much greater issue. Xenoestrogens are found in some of our everyday materials like plastic, cosmetics, skincare products, and fruits and veggies that are non-organic. When xenoestrogens builds up, it can trigger an estrogen dominance, and according to some studies this will have an increased long-term risk of Endometriosis, PCOS, and Breast Cancer.
To balance your gut microbiomes and reproductive health make sure to: