• Dr. Kate Ricciardi


Updated: May 20

The scale won't budge. You feel like you're gaining weight just being around food.

Add in skin changes, bloating, gas, aches and pains, reflux. Headaches. Fatigue. Brain fog. Hair loss. The list goes on and on, right?

Maybe you've even said, "EVER SINCE 40, MY BODY HAS REVOLTED AGAINST ME..."

The first thing we think about hitting this age milestone is hormones and menopause around the corner...but why aren't we talking about our GUT and digestion?

Our digestive health is a heavy hitter at this time in a woman's life and is like the secret key to managing symptoms, hormones and weight.

Digestive health can help to make this time in midlife miserable or marvelous.

So how exactly does our age affect our gut and digestion, health and weight?

Let's break it down in the digestive tract.

With age

  • the stomach’s lining can't defend itself against damage like it used to.

  • the elasticity decreases and it can’t hold as much food

  • our stomach is slower to empty food into the intestines.

Feel bloated and gassy after having ice cream / dairy?

It makes sense. In the small intestine, the enzyme that breaks down dairy decreases, leading to intolerance of dairy products by many older adults (lactose intolerance).

Excessive growth of some bacteria becomes more common with age and can lead to pain, and bloating. This bacterial overgrowth may also lead to decreased absorption of certain nutrients, like vitamin B12, iron, and calcium. And we know how important these things are for energy and our bone health...

Our liver and gallbladder changes and the liver can't take as much stress as it used to. Things like alcohol take a heavier toll on the liver as we age and repair of the cells is slower.

Gallstones are more likely with age because the production of bile and it's flow decreases...we need bile to help with digestion for breaking down fats.

Then in the large intestine, constipation becomes more common and can be caused by things like

  • slower movement of stool through the large intestine

  • less muscle contractions in the rectum

  • more frequent use of medications that can cause constipation

  • if you're already feeling less than fantastic, you might not be exercising as much and decreased physical activity impacts constipation

  • a low fiber diet

  • estrogen decreases during peri-menopause/menopause can can cause symptoms associated with low thyroid

  • underactive or (low) thyroid. Estrogen levels have an indirect effect on thyroid health. might affect thyroid function and lead to thyroid disorders.

Estrogen decreases during menopause and it is a hormone that helps to regulate metabolism and body weight. So, with lower levels of the main form of estrogen, it may lead to weight gain. Throughout their life, women may notice weight gain around their hips and thighs...here's a reason why.

So...what are we meant to just deal with this?

Our gut helps to regulate hormones. If there's inflammation in our gut it's going to have a hard time working as properly as it should.

Alot of symptoms of midlife, menopause and hormone changes are the same as in other conditions. Brain fog. Fatigue. Pain. Thinning hair. Hair loss. Cramping. Bloating, and more... Sounding familiar?

Knowing what foods are triggering this inflammation will do wonders for those symptoms.


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 All content contained within this website is for informational purposes only for the general public and is not to be interpreted as individualized medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, prevention, cure.   Always ask your licensed, qualified health care provider any questions you may have regarding medical diagnoses, conditions, or treatment before undertaking a new health care regimen independently. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay/refrain from seeking medical treatment because of content anywhere on this website

     Dr. Kate Ricciardi, DPT RDN CLT     919-797-9296       rdnutritionconsulting.com      info@rdnutritionconsulting.com

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