Diana Wills guest post addresses menopause bloating and some easy fixes that are good practices for all of us.
Menopause Bloating and How to Reduce It
by Diana Wills
Menopause is the most natural thing, meaning that every woman will experience it at a certain point in her life. For some women, menopause can arrive as early as in their forties, while others don’t experience it until well into their fifties. Now, while this transition comes easy for some, meaning that they experience mild to no menopause-accompanying symptoms, most women experience a variety of them. According to Mayo Clinic, the set of symptoms includes hot flashes, weight gain, sleep issues, hair-thinning as well as some more serious health problems and complications, in which case it is paramount that you go to your physician as soon as possible. Some women even develop a condition called menopause-induced asthma, which is definitely no picnic, but then again, neither are the rest of the symptoms. While it’s true that menopause is generally caused by the natural decline in production of such hormones as estrogen and progesterone, there are also other factors that can ‘push’ you into menopause, such as undergoing hysterectomy or chemotherapy, and premature ovarian insufficiency.
Why does it happen?
Regardless of the reasons or causes, one of the symptoms almost every woman will experience at one point or another is menopause bloating. This condition is inextricably linked to the slowing down of the metabolism and subsequent weight gain. This is an unpleasant issue, to say the least, and it can affect premenopausal women as well, more frequently than those who are already going through menopause for that matter. Why does this happen? During the pre as well as menopausal period, there is a huge fluctuation of hormones, especially estrogen, and bloating usually occurs when estrogen levels spike. Luckily, this isn’t something that should cause you any worry or major concern, it’s just, so to say, the way the cookie crumbles. However, since it’s highly uncomfortable, not to mention utterly inconvenient, why not try to alleviate the symptoms and get rid of bloating if there are ways to do it? Therefore, today we will be discussing ways in which you can fend off this pesky issue, because menopause isn’t a walk in the park, so if you can at least get rid of some of the unwanted side effects, there is no reason to sit and suffer through them.
What (not) to eat
Foods that generally cause bloating will have a much stronger impact on you, so it’s paramount that you do your best to steer clear from these foods. For those who aren’t in the known, the main culprits of bloating are overly sugary foods, foods that are loaded with sodium, as well as processed foods. According to Healthline, aside from staying away from anything too salty and sugary, there are specific foods to avoid and these include beans, lentils, wheat, anything from the broccoli family, and even dairy products have made the list. Gum and carbonated drinks are a no-no as well, as they fill the stomach with air and the result – swollen and bloated tummy. Of course, as this reduces the number of groceries you are allowed to keep in your diet, there are tons of healthy substitutes, so make sure you pay attention to them and stock your pantry and fridge with the feel-good non-bloating foods instead. Now, aside from switching up your diet, it’s vital that your body is strong and healthy, which is why vitamins and suitable magnesium supplements should find their way onto your kitchen shelves. You need all the micronutrients you can get, and micronutrient-packed foods can only do so much, so always resort to a helping hand.
Say goodbye to vices
In case you are a smoker, we have bad, well, actually good news for you. Smoking is generally bad for you, you already know this, but if there was ever a really great reason to quit smoking, it’s now, as it doesn’t only cause dehydration, but subsequent bloating as well. In addition to that, since menopausal women are prone to developing asthma, smoking is the last thing you want to do, because bloating could be the least of your problems. Speaking of vices, alcohol is something you might want to give up as well. Aside from it being unhealthy, all forms of alcohol cause major dehydration, which again causes bloating, and on top of everything, alcohol dries the skin as well, and you will have enough troubles with that without alcohol adding to them. A glass of wine every now and then is fine, but try to avoid it as much as you can.
Speaking of hydration
As dehydration is one of the causes of bloating, it’s only natural that you need to do your best to keep hydrated at all times. The general rule of thumb is eight glasses a day, but this amount can vary depending on the weather conditions and perspiration – if you have hot flashes and sweat a lot, you need to make up for the lost water, and the water intake should be increased if you are physically active as during exercise you lose more water than a non-active person.
While on the subject…
You definitely should try to stay as active as you can. Anything from a brisk walk to light jogging to keep your cardiovascular health in check is fine, but make sure to incorporate strength building exercises as well. The best time to take that walk is after a meal – when we’re all most prone to bloating, as this will help stimulate the passage of gas through your digestive tract. There will be time for that afternoon nap, but do the legwork first, your entire body and your stomach will thank you.
There will be some adjustments, as this is no small transition. Still, once you get in the swing of things and get used to this new lifestyle and healthy routines, you will actually feel better than you have in a long time.
Diana Wills is a Biochemist and a Blogger based in Sydney. She is a science, health, food and fitness lover, with interests in beauty and fashion. Diana believes her love for all of these things to be contagious and she just had to start writing about them so she can share them even more. You can follow her at:
Editor’s Note: If bloating persists or becomes worse, see your healthcare practitioner. It can presage more serious conditions, such as ovarian cancer. For more info, read Karen Ingall’s guest post: https://www.menopausegoddessblog.com/2013/09/this-is-just-menopause-right/