Much of the information relating to the onset of constipation among menopausal women is anecdotal.(1) Still, there is absolutely no doubt based on the 2011 testimony of various women in the throes of menopause that constipation can be caused or greatly worsened by the hormonal changes occurring in their bodies.
Among the natural remedies that are gaining traction with menopausal constipation sufferers is Salba.(2) (3) Salba seeds are related to chia seeds used for the famous Chia Pet fad. Grown for many centuries in Mexico and Guatemala, salba has burst into the mainstream in recent years, making its way as an ingredient into energy bars, salsa, and other products.
Salba seeds can also be purchased raw at health food stores and then sprinkled on breakfast cereals and other foods the same way that flax seed might be. The great advantage of salba is that its omega-3 fatty acid content is off the charts, higher than not just flax seeds but also salmon, blueberries, broccoli, and milk. This ingredient can help mitigate constipation as well as joint pain, another common symptom among menopausal women.
A recent study of just under 200 women taking either flaxseed or a wheat germ placebo found that the former helped reduce the severity of menopause symptoms.(4) However, constipation was very low on the list of remedied problems, barely rating a mention.
In some cases, women undergoing menopause confuse their symptoms with those brought on by the wholly separate condition of a thyroid problem.(5) It is thought that millions of women who believe they are struggling with lingering, post-menopausal symptoms are in fact actually beset by some sort of thyroid related difficulty. And these generally are much more likely to cause chronic constipation than menopause, on its own. As with most afflictions, a large part of solving the equation of constipation during menopause is a proper medical diagnosis.
(1) MedHelp.org – Menopause Community, Retrieved July 20, 2011 from http://www.medhelp.org/posts/Menopause/Help–Going-through-Menopause-and-am-having-severe-constipation/show/392
(2) Salba.com – Facts, Retrieved July 20, 2011 from http://www.salba.com/facts
(3) Salba.com – Health Magazine April 2010 Article, Retrieved July 20, 2011 from http://www.salba.com/news/40
(4) Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism – The Effects of Flaxseed Dietary Supplement on Lipid Profile, Bone Mineral Density, and Symptoms in Menopausal Women, Retrieved July 20, 2011 from http://jcem.endojournals.org/content/90/3/1397.full.pdf
(5) WebMD – Thyroid and Menopause: Confusing the Symptoms, Retrieved July 20, 2011 from http://www.webmd.com/menopause/guide/symptoms-thyroid-vs-menopause