Unveiling the Gut-Brain Connection: How Gut Changes in Menopause Impact Mood and Brain Function

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Menopause is a transformative phase in a woman's life, marked by numerous hormonal changes. While the physical symptoms of menopause are well-known, such as hot flashes and night sweats, there is another aspect that often goes unnoticed: the gut. Recent research has highlighted the profound connection between the gut and the brain, shedding light on how gut changes during menopause can affect mood, cognitive function, and overall well-being. In this article, we will explore the fascinating link between the gut and the brain, understand the effects of gut changes on mood and brain fog, and discover five strategies to improve gut health naturally.

Gut Microbiome Changes in Menopause:

During menopause, the composition of the gut bacteria undergoes significant shifts. Estrogen, an essential hormone that declines during menopause, plays a crucial role in maintaining a healthy gut environment. As estrogen levels decrease, it can lead to imbalances in the gut microbiota, affecting its diversity and overall health.

The Gut-Brain Connection: Vagus Nerve:

The gut and the brain communicate through a complex network called the gut-brain axis, with the vagus nerve as the primary communication channel. This pathway travels both directions and allows signals to travel between the gut and the brain and the brain and the gut, influencing various aspects of our health, including mood, cognition, and emotions.

Effects of Gut Changes on the Brain: Neuroinflammation:

Changes in the gut bacteria can trigger a state of chronic inflammation in the body, including muscles, joints and the brain. This neuroinflammation has been linked to mood changes, brain fog, and even cognitive decline. The inflammatory response in the gut can send signals to the brain, affecting neurotransmitter balance and contributing to emotional disturbances. 

Gut Changes and Their Impact on Mood, Energy, and Sleep:

The gut plays a pivotal role in the production and regulation of neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and dopamine, which are closely linked to mood, energy levels, and sleep. Imbalances in the gut microbiome can disrupt the production of these neurotransmitters, leading to mood swings, fatigue, and disturbances in sleep patterns.

The Factors that Negatively Affect Gut Health:

Several factors can contribute to negative changes in gut health during menopause. These include a diet high in processed foods and sugar, chronic stress, lack of physical activity, overuse of antibiotics, and certain medications. Recognizing and addressing these factors is essential for maintaining a healthy gut environment.


Five Strategies to Improve Gut Health:

  1. Incorporate Prebiotics through Food: Prebiotics are a type of fibre that feed and nourish our good bacteria. Include fibre-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes to nourish the beneficial bacteria in your gut.
  2. Embrace Probiotics through Food: Consume fermented foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, and kefir to introduce beneficial live bacteria into your gut.
  3. Prioritize Stress Management: Engage in stress-reducing activities like yoga, meditation, deep breathing exercises, or spending time in nature to support a healthy gut-brain connection.
  4. Adopt a Balanced and Nutrient-Rich Diet: Opt for a varied diet that includes olive oil, and a wide range of colourful fruits and vegetables to provide essential nutrients for gut health.
  5. Stay Active: Regular physical activity helps promote healthy digestion, reduces inflammation, and supports overall gut health. 


Understanding the complex relationship between gut changes in menopause and their impact on mood and brain function is a vital step toward holistic well-being. By prioritizing gut health through dietary and lifestyle choices, we can positively influence our mood, energy levels, and sleep quality. Remember, maintaining a healthy gut is a journey.



Peters, B. A., Santoro, N., Kaplan, R. C., & Qi, Q. (2022). Spotlight on the Gut Microbiome in Menopause: Current Insights. International Journal of Women's Health, 1059-1072.

Yang, M., Wen, S., Zhang, J., Peng, J., Shen, X., & Xu, L. (2022). Systematic Review and Meta-analysis: Changes of Gut Microbiota before and after Menopause. Disease Markers2022.

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