Even the word’s got an ‘urgh’ feel right? Bloating is an unwelcome guest as when we’re bloated our stomach protrudes, we feel like we’ve put on 5kgs and nothing we wear looks good no matter what we do!
However, it’s highly likely we’ll experience bloating on our perimenopause/menopause journey as it’s one of the common symptoms. That said, we’re more likely to experience it in perimenopause – as we lead up to menopause itself – rather than post-menopause. Here’s how it rolls.
What Is Bloating?
A feeling of distension, fullness or pressure in the tummy. It’s uncomfortable, may cause swelling and weight gain.
What Causes Bloating?
Bloating is caused by air or fluid getting trapped in the gastrointestinal tract causing water and/or gas retention. Gas is usually trapped in the stomach area only, water retention can be widespread and may lead to swelling in hands/feet/legs/belly.
Hormone fluctuations are often the root cause of bloating and the blame can be laid at the feet of our estrogen levels as they go through the highs and lows of perimenopause.
According to Medical News Today bloating can also be due to the changes in the gastrointestinal tract due to the changes of menopause.
- A change in diet or appetite
- Digestion slowing down
- Menopause-related stress
What Can You Do?
There are a number of lifestyle changes you can employ to relieve the bloating.
- Eat more slowly (so you don’t swallow air)
- Drink more water. It sounds counterintuitive but the more water you drink the less lightly you are to retain water
- Avoid fizzy drinks as carbonation is ‘gassy’
- Steer clear of foods notorious for causing gas such as beans, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, onions, wheat and lactose (the sugar found in dairy)
- You thrive on green veggies though so take a leaf from the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda and chew fennel seeds with or after your broccoli!
- Give up the gum
- Sugar-free sweeteners like sorbitol and erythritol can be culprits
- Reduce your intake of salty, fatty and processed foods
- Exercise frequently, nothing too over the top. It’s the regularity that’s key as it helps move food and drink through the system
- Add probiotics to your diet such as yoghurt, sauerkraut, kefir and/or a high-quality supplement.
Should You See Your Doctor?
Bloating is one of the common symptoms brought about by the hormone fluctuations of perimenopause, but it shouldn’t hang around for a long time. If you find it’s causing you undue discomfort or that it’s going on and on and on despite your lifestyle changes go and get checked out by your GP.