The Interaction of Hormones and our Digestive System
It is rare that I discuss other body systems however in relation to the digestive system, all systems have a significant two-way interaction. This is due to the interconnecting nature of the gut with all other body systems including the reproductive system.
In consultation, I spend a lot of time discussing other body systems to understand the relationship between symptoms and systems and to be able to support you the best way I can.
The Female and Male Reproductive System and Links to Digestion
The reproductive system of both men and women can appear complex and confusing especially when looking at the links between other body systems. However it is not as confusing as it would seem and the digestive system can have significant impact in it’s functioning in particular in relation to hormones.
The digestive system is known for receiving the food, supplements and beverages we drink, nutrients are absorbed for the rest of the body and then the waste is eliminated. However when it comes to hormones, we not only need to receive and absorb the nutrients that are needed to produce hormones, but we then receive the excess hormones back into the digestive tract from the liver to be eliminated from the body.
Let’s breakdown oestrogen as an example:
Oestrogen is a hormone that has many uses in the body including: - improving insulin sensitivity - suppresses appetite - encourages weight loss - improves integrity of the gut lining - promotes growth and repair of nerve cells of the nervous system - enhances levels of serotonin and dopamine (our feel good neurotransmitters)
Path of Oestrogen Through the Body:
For majority of people (both men and women), oestrogen is produced via the ovaries, adrenal gland or testes, it is transported into the body via the bloodstream for it’s multiple purposes and then is detoxed by the liver before being passed into the digestive tract where most of it is eliminated and a small amount is recirculated.
However in an unhealthy microbiome (out of balance gut bacteria), oestrogen is produced via the ovaries, adrenal gland or testes, it is transported into the body via the bloodstream for it’s multiple purposes and then is detoxed by the liver before being passed into the digestive tract where some of it is eliminated and most is recirculated which goes on to cause a multitude of concerns.
Excess oestrogen can cause the following symptoms:
- pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms
- irregular menstrual cycles and heavy bleeds
- fibrocystic breast tissue
- gynecomastia (enlarged breast tissue) in men
- weight gain
- low libido
This is only one example, however all hormones are detoxified via the liver and elimination occurs via the digestive tract. If our digestion is not optimal, and our gut bacteria are not healthy, our body has the opportunity to recirculate hormones leading to hormonal imbalances.
Yet again, the importance of our gut microbiome has been identified. Not convinced? Check out how our Immune System and Gut Interact.
Are you worried about your hormonal health and wondering if your digestive health is playing a role?