Most menopausal women are all too familiar with bloating. The symptom, with its cramps, feelings of fullness, and acute discomfort, is a classic symptom of premenstrual syndrome (PMS), affecting women throughout their adult lives. Unfortunately, bloating can continue into menopause. If you're experiencing bloating during menopause, there are options for relief.
The Causes of Bloating Associated with Menopause
The root cause of bloating during menopause is thought to be hormonal imbalance. Hormones like estrogen, progesterone and testosterone are in constant flux during the menopause transition. These hormones play a key role in water retention. When estrogen levels rise and fall, water levels in your body fluctuate accordingly, leading to feelings of bloating. Factors like diet and stress can contribute to this effect.
In addition to water retention, many researchers believe an increase in intestinal gas in menopausal women may be partially due to hormonal imbalance. Many foods, including dairy products, beans, apples, onions and broccoli can contribute to this effect.
The Treatments for Bloating Associated with Menopause
The most effective treatments for bloating try to tackle the root cause of hormonal imbalance Below are some simple lifestyle changes to help you ease bloating.
Exercise. Regular exercise can help your body maintain overall health and regulate hormone levels.
- Eat the right food. There are two aspects to this
Eat healthy. Try and eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, complex carbohydrates, and other healthy foods to make sure you get all the necessary vitamins your body needs to balance its hormones.
Avoid foods that cause gas and bloating. There are a number of foods that can worsen bloating, such as beans, artificial sweeteners, and dairy products. While these may be healthy, they should be eaten in moderation.
Sometimes, something more than simple lifestyle changes is needed. Alternative medicines like estrogenic and non-estrogenic herbs may help you find relief. These herbs may be able to correct hormonal imbalance at the source, either by introducing compounds that mimic estrogen, or by stimulating your body's natural hormone production.
Talking to a Doctor
If your bloating is especially severe, seek the advice of a medical professional. Bloating may be caused by a number of other things, not just menopause, so it's always better to have it checked if you feel its impacting your life. A trusted doctor can help you better understand your symptoms, and help you find appropriate treatment options.
- Hutchinson, Susan M.D. "The Stages of a Woman's Life: Menstruation, Pregnancy, Nursing, Perimenopause, Menopause". November 2007.
- Love, Susan M.D. Menopause and Hormone Book. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2003.
- BMJ Group. "Menopause: What is it?" Patient Leaflet. 200