Bloat & Menopause: Find Out How to Banish the Bloat

Bannish the bloat

Bloat.

Even the word’s got an ‘urgh’ feel right? Bloating is an unwelcome guest as when you’re bloated your stomach protrudes, you feel like you’ve put on 5kgs and nothing you wear looks good no matter what you do!

However, it’s highly likely you’ll experience bloating on your perimenopause / menopause journey as it’s one of the common signs. That said, you’re more likely to experience it in perimenopause – the lead up to menopause itself – rather than post-menopause. After menopause when your ovaries have stopped producing high levels of estrogen and progesterone it often settles down. 

What Is Bloating?

A feeling of tightness, distension, fullness or swelling in the tummy. It’s uncomfortable, may cause puffiness 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, retained water 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 caused by changes in the gastrointestinal tract and:

  • A change in diet or appetite
  • Digestion slowing down
  • Menopause-related stress

What Can You Do to Help Bloat?

There are a number of lifestyle changes you can employ to relieve the bloating.

  • Eat more slowly (so you don’t swallow air)
  • Drink lots of 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, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, onions, and wheat
  • We thrive on green veggies though so take a leaf from the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda and chew fennel seeds with or after your broccoli!
  • Other foods that can cause bloating are dairy products and foods high in fat, sugar and/or salt
  • Give up the gum
  • Sugar-free sweeteners like sorbitol and erythritol can be culprits
  • Reduce your intake of 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.
  • Use digestive enzymes such as those we have in VitaminKIWI®
 
 

Should You See Your Doctor About Bloating?

Bloating is one of the common signs brought about by the hormone fluctuations of perimenopause, but it shouldn’t hang around for a long time. It could be indicative of a medical condition. If you find it’s causing you undue discomfort or that it’s going on and on despite your lifestyle changes go and get checked out by your GP. 

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Post-menopause


This is the time when menstruation is well and truly over, the ovaries have stopped producing high levels of sex hormones and for many ladies, perimenopause symptoms subside.

Estrogen has protective qualities and the diminished levels mean organs such as your brain, heart and bones become more vulnerable. It’s also a key lubricant so your lips may become drier, your joints less supple and your vagina might be drier. In addition, your thyroid, digestion, insulin, cortisol and weight may alter.

At this juncture, a woman might experience an increase in the signs of reduced estrogen but she should have a decrease of perimenopause symptoms. That said, some women will experience symptoms like hot flushes for years or even the rest of their lives.

Perimenopause

Peri = ‘near’

Most females begin to experience the symptoms of perimenopause in their mid-forties. Your progesterone levels decline from your mid-30s but it’s generally from around 40 that the rest of your sex hormones begin to follow suit. 

Perimenopause is a different experience for every woman and some women may barely notice it. The first indicators are usually changes to the monthly cycle. This means that for some ladies, this can be accompanied by things like sore breasts, mood swings, weight gain around the belly, and fatigue as time goes on.

For those with symptoms it can be a challenging time physically, mentally and emotionally.

Importantly, perimenopause lasts – on average – four to 10 years. The transition is usually a gradual process and many women enter perimenopause without realising.