How to combat menopausal bloating?

How to combat menopausal bloating?

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If you're going through menopause or know someone who is, you've probably come across the word 'bloating'. Hormonal bloating is something that many women experience during their reproductive years, and this doesn’t go away during perimenopause or menopause.

What is Menopause?

Menopause is a natural process that every woman goes through. It marks the end of her reproductive years and is medically confirmed when a woman hasn’t had a menstrual cycle (period) for 12 consecutive months.

Menopause typically occurs around the age of 45 to 55, but it can occur earlier or later in some women. During this process, the ovaries stop releasing eggs, and the body’s oestrogen and progesterone production decrease. 

This drop in reproductive hormones leads to a host of physical and psychological symptoms, one of which is menopausal bloating caused by water retention. A woman might also experience hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, vaginal dryness, and sleep disturbances during menopause. 

Let’s take a closer look at menopause, including what happens during menopause, its main symptoms, and what you can do to tackle hormonal bloating if this is something you’re experiencing during the menopause period.

When and Why Does Menopause Occur?

Centuries ago, the average lifespan clocked in much shorter- around 40 to 55 years. This prompted women to evolve in a way that aligned with their fertility, tailored to this timeframe.

Fast forward to today, with medical breakthroughs pushing the average lifespan closer to 80 years. Despite this, certain corners of the human brain seem a bit stuck in the past, adhering to a notion that we're capped at 55 years. Consequently, a woman's reproductive functions often call it quits around this age.

Physiologically, menopause occurs because of the decrease in oestrogen and progesterone production. As a result, no eggs get matured and released from the ovaries, and menstruation eventually ceases.

Exactly when menopause occurs in a woman’s life depends on a range of factors, including genetics, lifestyle, physical health, and underlying medical conditions. Those with a family history of early menopause are more likely to find themselves on this journey sooner. Lifestyle habits like smoking, carrying excess body fat, and excess alcohol consumption can also elevate the risk of early menopausal.

Regardless of their age, women who have had an oophorectomy (removal of the ovaries) will immediately enter menopause. They’ll also experience some or all of the associated symptoms, including menopausal bloating.

We can’t write an article on menopause without mentioning perimenopause, which refers to the transitional period leading up to menopause. During this time, a woman's body begins to produce less oestrogen and, as a result, will experience irregular periods (usually with longer cycles) and perimenopause bloating.

What Are the Symptoms of Menopause?

The symptoms of menopause will change from woman to woman, but there are some general symptoms that most women experience when going through this significant milestone in their lives. 

Here are some of the most common menopausal symptoms:

  • Hot flashes
  • Night sweats
  • Sensitivity to cold
  • Sleep problems
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Decreased libido
  • Mood changes
  • Slower metabolism and associated weight gain
  • Thinning of the hair
  • Dry skin
  • Loss of breast fullness
  • Bloating and water retention

What Causes Bloating During Menopause?

So, what's the scoop on what triggers bloating during menopause?

Bloating in perimenopause comes knocking thanks to the hefty hormonal shifts as your estrogen levels take a dip. Particularly, the decline in progesterone levels is the culprit behind menopause bloating. 

Progesterone is responsible for regulating the menstrual cycle and supporting pregnancy, but you enter menopause, your progesterone levels naturally begin to decline. This leads to an imbalance in the levels of other reproductive hormones, including oestrogen, which causes water retention and bloating.

But that's not all – menopausal bloating can also sneak in due to a drop in the production of digestive enzymes. With fewer of these digestive superheroes, your system becomes less efficient at breaking down the foods you eat. This can lead to abdominal bloating, sometimes creating some discomfort and even pain.

Additionally, there's a theory that shifts in the gut microbiome, the diverse community of bacteria, viruses, and fungi living naturally in your colon, can contribute to menopausal bloating. The gut microbiome plays a vital role in regulating digestion and immune function. As you step into menopause, your gut microbiome might undergo changes, potentially triggering digestive hiccups like bloating, gas, and constipation.

How Can You Prevent Menopausal Bloating?

Although menopause is inevitable for all women, there is plenty that you can do to decrease the severity of any associated symptoms. You can reduce menopausal bloating by making positive lifestyle changes and with medications.

Here are some top ways to reduce menopausal bloating and ease your symptoms as you go through this significant transitional period in your life:

1. Drink plenty of water

This will aid your digestive processes and minimise the risk of bloating caused by slow digestion.

2. Avoid trigger foods

Certain foods cause excessive gas production in the digestive tract, such as cruciferous vegetables, high-fat foods, high-sugar foods, and high-fructan fruits. Avoiding these foods will reduce gas production and hormonal bloating.
Eat smaller, more frequent meals - this gives your digestive tract time to properly digest all of the food you’re eating and prevents you from over-eating in one sitting.

3. Eat probiotic-containing foods or take a probiotic supplement

Probiotics help to balance your gut microbiome and aid digestion. Fermented foods, such as sauerkraut, yoghurt, tempeh, tofu, and kefir, are high in probiotics. You can also take a probiotic supplement to support your digestive system and reduce hormonal bloating.

4. Exercise regularly

Physical activity helps to move food through the digestive tract, reducing the risk of bloating. 

5. Quit smoking and minimise alcohol consumption

Both of these things are associated with worsening menopausal symptoms, so it’s best to avoid them wherever possible.

You can also ask your doctor for hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Using HRT involves wearing patches that slowly release reproductive hormones into your bloodstream, helping to reduce the symptoms associated with the natural drop in these hormones during menopause.

Note that HRT might not be suitable for all women and there are associated risks with this form of treatment. Your doctor will be able to explain HRT, including its benefits and drawbacks, in great detail so you can make an informed decision as to whether it’s right for you.

The Best Probiotics to Tackle Menopausal Bloating

A Dose For Bloating is formulated to beat bloating quickly and provide gas relief. With just two capsules daily taken before a meal, you can enjoy a bloat-free life, even if you’re in perimenopause or menopause.

Our supplement contains one billion probiotics, six digestive enzymes, and seven different plant extracts, including liquorice, ginger, and peppermint, all of which are known to aid digestion and reduce negative digestive symptoms.

Check out our supplement, A Dose For Bloating, on our website and get in touch with our expert team if you would like more information or have any questions.