Everyone has experienced bloating at one point or another in their lives. Though frequently experienced, it is one of the most uncomfortable and at other times painful experiences one could ever have. Women mostly experience bloating that is related to Menopause or menstrual cycle. Whereas the condition is not funny-you do not have to endure the embarrassment and the pain. In this article we look at what bloating is, the symptoms, causes, treatments and prevention.
Definition of Menopause Bloating
Menopause bloating is the feeling of fullness and/or tightness that tends to be uncomfortable or even painful. For menopausal women, this feeling is often attributed to water retention and/or intestinal gas that increase in the body especially during the menopause transition period.
Menopause Bloating Symptoms
Menopause bloating symptoms vary from one menopausal woman to another. In addition, the duration for the bloating feeling may also vary from one person to another. One may have a full and tight stomach of varying intensity as well as varying duration.
The major symptoms include:
- A feeling of fullness in the stomach
- A felling of tightness in the stomach
Causes of Menopause Bloating
There are many causes of menopausal bloating; key among the causes is the fluctuation in hormones. Other causes include diet and stress.
- Hormonal Fluctuations: During menopause, the estrogen hormone, among other hormones in the body, keep on fluctuating. During the periods leading up to the menstrual cycle or those leading up to menopause, there is a rise in estrogen levels in the body. With this rise, the resultant effect is retention of more water in the woman’s body. Therefore, during periods leading to menses and leading to menopause, this excess retention of water in the body accounts for the bloated feeling. This process is natural and the woman does not have particular control over it.
The opposite effect happens when there is a decrease in estrogen levels in the body. Apart from decreased retention of water in the body, estrogen plays a critical role in secretion of bile. Bile is produced by the liver and later stored in the gall bladder. This secretion helps in digestion as well lubrication of the small intestines. When there is a decrease in the amount of estrogen levels in the body, there is a resultant decrease in the amount of bile secreted as well as water retained in the body. This results to an accumulation of hard and dry stool in the small intestines. The effect is felt as a bloated and tight stomach.
Therefore, whichever way estrogen fluctuates in the body, there is bound to be a feeling of a bloated and tight stomach that could be accompanied with hiccups and gasses.
Many women have reported an increase in gases in their bodies during menopause. There is still research going on to establish if there is any hormonal control over the increase in gases in a woman’s body.
There are some foods which when included in the diet take time to be digested and lead up to more gases in the stomach. Such foods include; cabbages, onions, broccoli, beans, milk, potatoes, apples, cauliflower, corn, cheese, pears, fluffy wheat, and peaches among others.
Another aspect of diet is eating too much at ago and in a rush. Digestion starts in the mouth. When you eat very fast, chances are that not all food will be broken down properly. And when it is much food that is not properly digested right from the mouth, there is bound to be more gases produced in the stomach.
Lack of Exercise
Lack of exercise plays a role in the buildup of gases in the stomach.
Treatments and Prevention
Lucky enough for this condition, it is easy to manage. Here are a few tips on how to manage boating in menopause.
Life Style Change
This is the easiest option which is recommended for the initial stages of bloating. There are two parts to this solution;
- Diet: If the menopausal bloating is caused by excess gasses in the body, then one may need to reconsider their dietary intake. Foods that take a while to be digested may need to be reduced and replaced by those foods which can easily be digested without leaving behind gases. Foods that reduce bloating include; bananas, fruit juices, grapes, peanut butter, rice, eggs, yoghurt, herbal tea and hard cheese.
Menopausal women are also advised to take smaller portions but increase the frequency of their eating to six times a day. In addition, it is important to take time and chew your food properly to enable for proper digestion from the mouth down to the stomach.
- Exercise: Exercise allows for relaxation of muscles that lead to the release of excess gas out of the body. 30-40 minutes of daily exercise will ensure an efficient body system that expels any hidden gasses.
With the busy schedules, some women suffering from bloating may find it difficult to implement lifestyle changes. Given the source of the bloating problem in menopausal women, the option of hormonal treatment may be suitable for some. There have been great medical advances within this area; natural remedies as well as alternative remedies that safe for women to use.
If all the above fail, then menopausal women are advised to seek medical intervention from their physicians.