Women may notice abdominal bloating occurring throughout many stages of their life; however, during times of hormonal imbalance, such as menopause, it is not uncommon for the sensation to worsen. Many women might also experience an accompanying drastic shift in weight. Sometimes, it can be difficult to distinguish between bloating and real weight gain due to their similarity in appearance. This article attempts to illustrate four ways in which you can separate bloating from weight gain.
One crucial difference between the symptoms of bloating and weight gain is the time in which they take to surface. Because bloating is largely caused by water retention, the sensation often occurs suddenly and persists for no longer than two or three weeks. Weight gain, on the other hand, creeps up slowly and lingers for longer periods of time.
Women are at particular risk of bloating during times of hormonal imbalance. For example, when the production of estrogen - the hormone responsible for maintaining water levels - is interrupted, your body can start to retain more water than usual and become bloated in consequence. Bloating is most commonly experienced in the week prior to your period, and will usually decrease in the days that follow it.
Stress can be a factor in both bloating and weight gain. However, if there is a spike in stress levels and you experience simultaneous swelling in your stomach, it is likely that stress has caused your bloating. Conversely, continuously high stress levels suffered for an extended duration can also result in weight gain. It has also been well documented that overeating and cravings for sugary comfort foods are most likely to occur during times of stress. However, when a woman engages in regular exercise (about 30 minutes a day), she might find her stress levels decreasing and her risk of experiencing bloating and weight gain with it.
If you are struggling to differentiate between bloating and weight gain, keeping a food diary might be beneficial. If bloating is the cause of your problem, then a pattern should emerge highlighting the correlation between certain foods and the development of a wider abdominal girth. In the case of weight gain, keeping a food diary is an effective method of increasing your awareness of the correlation between the foods that go into your body and the effect they have on it.
Although bloating and weight gain produce similar effects, their causes are different. Being able to distinguish between a temporarily swollen abdomen or overall weight gain is key to effectively combating these two symptoms. Try using some of the methods explained here to differentiate between bloating and weight gain.
Read on and discover how to handle bloating effectively.
- National Health Service UK. (2012). Beat the bloat. Retrieved November 12, 2013, from http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/digestive-health/Pages/beat-the-bloat.aspx
- Office on Women&s Health. (2012). Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) fact sheet. Retrieved November 12, 2013, from http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/premenstrual-syndrome.html