The Estrobolome - why is gut health so important in menopause?

Gut Health, microbiome support, healthy hear about it all the time, and figure you should eat healthier meals and include more gut friendly nutrients to support your gut system. But do you really know why this is especially important in menopause, let alone for overall health?


Knowledge about how the gut-microbiome alters aspects of our immune, metabolic and nervous system health has increased massively over the past decade, and thankfully for those of us in the throes of menopause, some of this knowledge has also shed some light on why we experience certain symptoms during the hormonal transition.

For women going through menopause, the decline in oestrogen levels impacts on our gut health.

There is an entire world inside our guts: it’s called the gut microbiome, and it contains TRILLIONS of bacteria. Alongside our skin, the gut microbiome is one of the largest organs in the body and each person's microbiome is as unique as their own fingerprints. It's also incredibly powerful because it contains more microbes than we each have cells in our bodies! Most of these microbes reside in the gastrointestinal tract and help to:

  • break down foods

  • supply the gut with energy

  • make vitamins

  • break down toxins

  • protect against pathogens


We all know about gut instinct, butterflies in the stomach and how terror turns our tummies to liquid, but now there's emerging evidence of the gut microbiome being involved in disorders such as depression, anxiety and overall mental health. We always thought there was a gut-brain axis but couldn't quite figure out why. However, there is a powerful connection between your gut and your brain (which is why we get a 'gut feeling' and the gut is referenced as our ‘second brain’), therefore many symptoms that you may be experiencing in menopause, such as brain fog, depression, anxiety and mood swings can be indicative of the health of your gut microbiome.


There are about 60 different organisms affecting our oestrogen production and our feminine health. This group of fungi and bacteria is called the estrobolome! I know! Just as we got our heads around 'gut microbiome' - there's an estrobolome to take into consideration and it is slowly becoming the Holy Grail of researchers looking for ways to make menopause more bearable for women.

So what exactly is an Estrobolome?


The estrobolome is a biome within the gut microbiome, which regulates how our body processes oestrogen. This process occurs by oestrogen-metabolising enzymes called beta-glucuronidases, which convert oestrogens into their active forms so that they can enter the blood circulation and reach other tissues in the body. When the gut microbiome is healthy, the estrobolome produces just the right amount of beta-glucuronidase to keep oestrogen in balance.


However, when there is gut dysbiosis (i.e. bacterial imbalances), the beta-glucuronidase can increase, resulting in less oestrogen being excreted out of the body so that more remains within the body to be recirculated, bind to receptors, and impact on various physiologic processes, in effect reversing the normal detoxification process. Oestrogen plays many vital roles in the human body. It regulates body fat deposition, energy balance, female reproductive function, cardiovascular health, bone turnover, and cell replication. Gut dysbiosis has the potential to alter the estrobolome, disrupt oestrogen homeostasis, and impair these processes, leading to inflammation and if we're not careful, more serious chronic illnesses later on.


So, if we focus on improving our gut health, imagine what happens to our hot flushes, energy levels, sleep, brain function and moods! This immense community of bacteria regulates the production of oestrogen, the main female hormone, which drops drastically during menopause. This has an overarching impact on our health, contributing to the symptoms listed above, as well as dozens of other issues making many women feel miserable during menopause.