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.