Most people in menopause (officially defined as the ceasing of menstruation) are familiar with the fact that this life stage is related to a change in hormone levels. Hot flashes, trouble sleeping, digestive issues, changes in mood, anxiety and depression…they’re all connected to changes in progesterone, estrogen, and testosterone levels. But what many don’t know is that a major key to managing many of the symptoms menopause creates lies in the gut. Here’s what people don’t talk about when they talk about menopause: the estrobolome, bacteria and fungi in the gut that influences the estrogen circulating in your system.
It’s such an important topic that two leading hormonal health experts, Mindy Pelz, DC, and Aviva Romm, MD, have devoted sections to the estrobolome in their respective new books, The Menopause Reset ($16) and Hormone Intelligence ($19). “We have trillions of organisms in our gut microbiome, and many of them have specific functions. One set of functions that a specific group [of gut bacteria] has is managing our estrogen metabolism,” Dr. Romm says. This group—of about 60 different types of gut bacteria and fungi—is collectively known as the estrobolome.