Causes of Bloating During Menopause

During perimenopause and menopause, it’s common to feel the effects of fluctuating hormones. Feeling a little bloated? You can take comfort in knowing that this normal phase will soon pass. After your ovaries stop producing estrogen and progesterone during menopause, hormone levels stabilize, which often leads to reduced bloating.

Perimenopause and menopause can bring with them uncomfortable symptoms, like bloating that causes fullness or tightness in the abdomen. To reduce this swelling, there are lifestyle changes to try, as well as medications prescribed by a doctor if it’s severe enough – prolonged bloating could be an indication of another condition altogether.

Causes of bloating during perimenopause and menopause

Perimenopause is the launching pad for menopause – a journey through time most women begin around their early 50s. On this ride, estrogen and progesterone production from your ovaries gradually decline until finally…you cross that 12-month threshold into postmenopausal life; no more periods or chances of pregnancy.

During perimenopause, a time of intense hormonal flux, increased estrogen levels can cause your body to retain excess water – leaving you feeling uncomfortably bloated. It’s just another part of the unique journey that comes with this special phase in life!

Bloating isn’t the only symptom experienced by women going through perimenopause and menopause. Fluctuating hormones can also lead to:

  • Hot flashes
  • Problems with sleep
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Mood swings
  • Weight gain

You may also experience bloating during menopause because of built-up gas in your gastrointestinal system. This can be related to:

  • Diet
  • Exercise
  • Stress
  • Smoking
  • Swallowed air
  • Another health condition
It’s likely that bloating after menopause is related to one of these factors rather than hormones. That’s because after you go through menopause, your hormones don’t fluctuate as much as they did during perimenopause and menopause.

How can you stop bloating during menopause?

To prevent or stop bloating, you need to watch what you eat. As women transition into menopause, it’s natural to adopt a nutritious diet – but when adding legumes and cheese as new sources of protein, your body may need some time to adjust. Going easy on the gas-producing grains can help avoid unwelcome havoc in the bowel.
Here are a few tips:
  • Eat small meals regularly to effectively ease digestion and avoid bloating.
  • Avoid coffee, alcohol and soft drinks.
  • Cut down on salt.
  • Avoid onions, which can cause gas.
  • Say good-bye to sweet snacks.
  • Walk to promote peristalsis and avoid constipation.
  • Take up a sport: exercise reduces stress, a major contributor to digestive problems.
  • Drink a lot of water.
There are other ways to prevent and treat bloating that involve over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription medications:
Need a little help getting rid of that dreaded bloating? A trip to the pharmacy may be all you need. Over-the-counter medication can provide temporary relief, but if you’re looking for something more long term, consider seeing your doctor. They might suggest water-reduction pills as they are specially formulated to reduce excess fluids in your body and keep pesky bloat away.
Hormonal birth control pillsBirth control pills may help you with bloating and other premenstrual syndrome symptoms, if you’re still having periods, because they can stabilize your hormones. You’ll have to discuss what works for your body with your doctor.
Menopausal hormone therapy: Speak to your doctor about hormone replacement therapy: an all-natural approach that helps you strike a healthy balance between progesterone and estrogen. But be aware – effects can vary, so discuss any potential downsides before jumping in!

How to Prevent Menopause Bloating

Move Your Body to Reduce Bloating. During menopause, exercising regularly is not only a best practice for overall health and cardiovascular function, but it also can help reduce the frequency and severity of bloating episodes.  Moving your body can promote intestinal movement, helping to break up gas bubbles that may be contributing to bloat. Ideally, after a 30-minute brisk walk or cycling workout, try some yoga, such as the cat-cow exercise or torso twists, which can help battle the bloat and keep it away.15 
Try Adding Probiotics. Incorporating probiotics into your daily menu of foods, or as a dietary supplement, may also help to cut down bloating during menopause. Healthy probiotic containing foods include yogurt, kefir, kimchi and sauerkraut; you can even choose to “wash” your food down with probiotic-containing kombucha drinks.
There are many probiotic supplements that can help prevent bloating and support gut and digestive health. These often include Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus acidophilus, and Bifidobacterium longum,16 among others. Be sure to check with your healthcare provider before adding any supplements into your routine, as they know your medical history best.  
Just because bloating is a common symptom experienced during menopause doesn’t mean you have to put up with it. Although it is bound to happen occasionally due to hormonal shifts, stressful episodes, indulging in scrumptious foods and celebratory cocktails, following these guidelines may help you better manage the bloat before it happens. 

In Summary

It’s very likely that you’ll experience bloating at some point during perimenopause and menopause, or after menopause. There are several causes of bloating. Hormones may be the main culprit if you’re still experiencing your period. Bloating should diminish after menopause, which may provide you some relief.

Remind yourself that bloating is temporary, and that your body will eventually settle. If you’re at all concerned it’s recommended that you speak with your general practitioner, or alternatively you can speak with us!

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