Treatments for Digestive Problems

Fact checked Medically reviewed

Medically reviewed by Brenda G., MD | Written by Menopause Now Editorial Team | Updated: Feb 02, 2021


While digestive problems can have numerous presentations,their effects on women's health and everyday living are more or less equally debilitating. Fortunately, with an abundance of easy and effective treatment approaches, there is no need to struggle any longer!

Continue reading to discover how to treat gastrointestinal disease to finally break free from its incapacitating symptoms today!

Three Approaches to Treating Digestive Problems

To treat digestive issues, women can choose from among three approaches: (1) Lifestyle changes, (2) Alternative medicine, and (3) Conventional medicine, with a strong preference for natural options and proceeding to conventional ones only if necessary.


Lifestyle Changes for Digestive Problems Treatment

Lifestyle changes for digestive problems treatment

The first level of treatment, consisting of making simple lifestyle changes, carries the least amount of risk, but requires the most determination. Nevertheless, it can be a valuable tool in treating gastrointestinal problems.

Nutritious Diet

It comes as no surprise that how to treat digestive issues starts with the right meal plan. When creating a wholesome menopausal diet, women should opt for regular, moderately-sized meals with good sources of macronutrients - complex carbs, healthy fats, and lean protein - which are also packed with beneficial compounds, such as:

  • Phytoestrogens are plant-based compounds that act as weak estrogens in the body, thus helping to balance hormones, restore control over digestive processes, and alleviate unpleasant symptoms.
    • Soy, oats, mung beans, alfalfa

  • Probiotics are worth adding to one's diet as they help improve the absorption of key nutrients, restore healthy bacterial flora in the digestive tract, and relieve cramps and bloating.1
    • Yogurt, cheese, kombucha, sauerkraut

  • Fiber benefits digestive problems treatment by regulating the process of digestion: insoluble fiber adds bulk to the stool to speed up its passage out of the body, while soluble fiber draws in water to manage loose stools.2
    • Psyllium, oats, nuts, seeds, legumes

  • Water - consumed frequently throughout the day- is an indispensable component of a digestion problem treatment plan, especially for those struggling with constipation or diarrhea.

For women seeking gastrointestinal problems treatment, it is also important to keep a food journal to identify triggers and then promptly eliminate them from the diet.

Regular Exercise

Moving around often is key for smooth digestion and regular bowel movements, effectively relieving bloating and constipation. Mild to moderate exercise will also help control weight gain during menopause and eliminate stress, both of which contribute to treating digestive problems.3

  • Amount: Healthy adult women are recommended to get at least 150 minutes of moderate-level exercises or 75 minutes of vigorous workouts per week.4

  • Type: For optimal relief, women are recommended to alternate between aerobics workouts - like jogging, biking, and swimming - and muscle-strengthening routines, like yoga or Pilates.  

  • Useful tips: Even the smallest amount of exercise is better for the functioning of the digestive tract than a sedentary lifestyle. So, beginners are encouraged to start small and gradually build up.

  • Precautions: Women should avoid intense and strenuous workouts as they may negatively affect the gastrointestinal tract and lead to diarrhea, nausea, and acid reflux.3

Wholesome Habits

Once a woman optimizes her diet and keeps up with regular exercise, she can focus on improving other daily habits to complement her gastrointestinal problems treatment. Together, they will nourish the body from the inside out and expand the positive impact a healthy lifestyle can have on her digestive health.

  • Relieving stress via abdominal breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and visualization can bring relief from symptoms of digestive tract issues, like gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).5

  • Keeping up with a healthy sleep schedule can be challenging for those suffering from digestive issues, but poor sleep patterns can actually worsen the symptoms and delay their treatment.6

  • Giving herbal remedies - such as peppermint, ginger, or fennel tea - a try can bring gentle soothing and temporary relief from digestive ailments.

  • Quitting addictions to nicotine or alcohol can greatly contribute to treating digestive problems as both substances have been linked to the development of ulcers, heartburn, diarrhea, and other discomforts.7,8


Alternative Medicine for Digestive Problems Treatment

Alternative medicine for digestive problems treatment

Alternative interventions are the second level of treatment for digestive issues. The most common approach are herbal supplements, which are not only easy, but also directly tackle the underlying root of the symptoms, hormonal imbalance.

There are two types of herbal supplements that can be used for digestive problems treatment: phytoestrogenic and hormone-regulating supplements.

Phytoestrogenic Supplements

Phytoestrogenic supplements, like red clover, contain compounds called phytoestrogens, which work like estrogen in the body. By that, they help regulate imbalanced levels of estrogen and other reproductive hormones to relieve stomach issues and other menopausal symptoms. While beneficial, phytoestrogenic supplements should not be used long-term as they can lead to dependency and further worsen the hormonal imbalance.

Hormone-Regulating Herbal Supplements

Hormone-regulating supplements, like Macafem, do not supply the body with outside hormones. Rather, they nourish the hormonal glands with ample nutrients that are necessary for balanced hormone production. Because they are one of the safest and most effective treatments for digestive problems, hormone-regulating supplements can be taken long-term for lasting hormonal balance and a symptom-free life.

From Nature and Health Magazine, Dr. Chacon says:

"Macafem's nutrients help restore natural hormones in women. Unlike hormone drugs, which are basically resumed in taking synthetic hormones, Macafem acts totally different in your body. It nourishes and stimulates your own natural hormone production by inducing the optimal functioning of the pituitary and endocrine glands." Click on the following link to learn more about Macafem.

A combination of lifestyle changes and herbal supplements is often the most effective and comprehensive gastrointestinal disorders treatment. However, women with severe symptoms may need medications or surgery to treat them.


Conventional Medicine for Digestive Problems Treatment

Conventional medicine for digestive problems treatment

The third level of digestive issues treatments involve the highest cost, and some may come with high risks of side effects. However, medications and surgery may be a necessary component of treatment for digestive issues.


Depending on experienced symptoms, women can choose from among the following medicines for digestion problems:

  • Laxatives - such as bulk-forming and osmotic laxatives - help empty the bowels to relieve constipation.

  • Antacids - like those containing aluminum hydroxide or sodium bicarbonate - can relieve symptoms of indigestion, stomach ulcers, gastritis, and acid reflux.

  • Antispasmodics - such as dicyclomine or hyoscyamine - can be prescribed for diarrhea-predominant irritable syndrome (IBS) to alleviate digestive tract spasms, nausea, or vomiting.

  • Antidepressants - such as serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or tricyclic antidepressants -may also be used as medicine for digestion problems to regulate bowel function and relieve pain, diarrhea, and constipation.

  • IBS-specific medications - like eluxadoline or linaclotide -can be prescribed for people with both constipation- and diarrhea-predominant IBS.

  • Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) - consisting of estrogen, progesterone, or their combination - was once the most widely prescribed treatment for digestive issues and other menopausal symptoms. While quick and highly effective, HRT has been found to increase the risk of serious side effects and put women's health at risk, as shown in the studies below. For this reason, its use is reserved for women with severe symptoms.

The 2002 results of the Women's Health Initiative (WHI), the largest clinical trial on HRT, linked the use of HRT to a higher risk of breast cancer, heart disease, and strokes.9 More than 15 years later, researchers from The Collaborative Group on Hormonal Factors in Breast Cancer conducted an extensive analysis of available data on HRT. Their 2019 publication in The Lancet showed that breast cancer risks may persist for more than 10 years after discontinuing HRT.10


Some types of digestive problems may require surgical interventions, including bowel incontinence or Crohn's disease, among others. Gastrointestinal surgery can be minimally invasive (laparoscopic) or may require opening the body. It may involve various parts of the gastrointestinal tract, from the esophagus to the rectum.

The above approaches can be applied in combination as necessary to best relieve the symptoms of digestive problems. A growing number of women are finding that a mix of lifestyle changes complemented by alternative medicine offers the most relief from digestion issues.

A Safe Way of Treating Digestive Problems

Implementing Lifestyle Changes:

  • Eating regular meals with fiber, probiotics, and phytoestrogens
  • Focusing on low to moderate exercises for 150 minutes weekly
  • Relieving stress through abdominal breathing and visualizations
  • Quitting addictions and maintaining a healthy sleep schedule

And Taking Herbal Supplements:

  • Phytoestrogenic herbal supplements, like red clover
  • Or natural hormone-regulating supplements, like Macafem

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