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Bloating
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Bloating

Did You Know?

Bloating can be one of the adverse side effects of hormone replacement therapy (HRT).

While not typically thought of as being associated with menopause, bloating is one of the most frequently experienced symptoms. This is closely related to an increase in intestinal gas and fluid retention caused by fluctuating hormones, and may also be associated with weight gain. A symptom commonly associated with the menstrual cycle, women who have dealt with bloating in the past during PMS will likely recognize this symptom as a part of menopause.

Read on to learn more about bloating, its causes, and the treatment options available for managing symptoms.

About Bloating

Definition

Bloating – defined as a feeling of fullness or tightness in the abdominal area that can lead to a certain degree of discomfort or pain – is mainly experienced during the menopausal transition as a result of either water retention, increased intestinal gas, or a combination of both.

The duration and intensity will vary for each woman, with some women experiencing bloating for a few days and then not again for a year, or possibly for several months at a time. A woman can wake up with a flat stomach and then have her stomach distend progressively throughout the day, or the bloating may appear within a matter of minutes and be aggravated by eating.

Symptoms of bloating

Symptoms of Bloating

As bloating can vary in duration and intensity, so too can the symptoms vary among menopausal women. The image to the right shows which are the most commonly experienced symptoms of bloating.

It is important to understand why bloating happens so frequently among women of menopausal age in order to better understand this symptom. Keep reading to learn more about the causes of bloating.

5 Best Tips for Relieving Bloating

Bloating is often uncomfortable, distracting, and can lead to burping and gas. Bloating is caused when a person swallows air and by certain foods that release gas when they are digested. You can relieve bloating by adjusting how you eat and what you eat. Click here to read more.

5 Daily Habits to get Rid of Bloating and Wind

Bloating is one of the most common symptoms of the menopausal transition. However, there are a variety of dialy habits that you can change which can get rid of your bloating. Click on the following link to learn more about the various causes and treatments for bloating during the menopausal transition.

Causes of Bloating

Hormonal causes

While bloating can occur as a result of such factors as diet or stress, the most likely cause for menopausal women is a fluctuation in hormone levels, particularly estrogen. Estrogen is important for two reasons. First, it has an effect on the retention of water that occurs naturally as part of a woman's menstrual cycle. Women tend to retain more in the days leading up to menstruation as a result of the rising estrogen levels. When estrogen levels become erratic during perimenopause, so does the incidence of water retention, leading to bloating.

In addition, estrogen influences the production of bile, a substance produced in the liver and stored in the gallbladder that aids in the digestion of fats. When fats are not as thoroughly digested, bloating can result.

In addition to the important role of estrogen in abdominal bloating, there are other causes that may influence digestion.

Other causes

Aside from water retention and decreased bile production, the other most common cause of bloating is the prominence of intestinal gas. Anywhere from 30 - 60% of menopausal women report an increase in gas during this time period, leading researchers to believe that hormonal fluctuations also play a role in the production of gas.

Common foods that cause bloating and gas

Intestinal gas can also be caused by changes in diet, irritable bowel syndrome, swallowing air, carbonated beverages, or lactose intolerance.

Other factors that less commonly induce bloating in women include abdominal surgery, obesity, weakened abdominal muscles due to pregnancy, or other rarer medical conditions including gallstones, diabetes, or kidney disease.

To learn more about the treatment options available to relieve bloating, read below.

Tips to Avoid Bloating during Menopause

Bloating is a common symptom of the menopausal transition. It can be caused by a number of things, including excess water retention, high salt intake, stress, and dietary choices. Click on the following link to learn more about the causes and ways to treat bloating during menopause.

Dietary Tips to Beat Bloating

Bloating is one of the most common symptoms of the menopausal transition. However, there are ways to alleviate this symptom through dietary changes. Click on the following link for more information about the causes and various types of treatments of bloating during the menopausal transition.

Bloating Treatments

Did You Know?

Bananas, grapes, eggs, rice, peanut butter, fruit juices, herbal teas, yogurt, and hard cheese can help reduce gas and fight bloating.

Fortunately, there are many treatment options that can target bloating. It is generally recommended that women begin with the least invasive option, which would be lifestyle changes. Particularly if the bloating is caused by excessive intestinal gas, some dietary changes can be extremely beneficial. Cutting out dairy products, sodium, and trigger foods such as onions, beans, and sugary snacks can negate instances of bloating. Stress reduction techniques such as yoga or meditation can also help.

Natural Remedies

While lifestyle changes can positively impact symptoms, they are the most difficult to implement. Also, because bloating in menopausal women is primarily caused by fluctuating estrogen levels, it is best to treat the problem directly at the source. Several natural and alternative remedies exist that can address this imbalance. Most of the time, this is the safest, easiest, and most effective way to fight bloating.

In the drastic case of bloating becoming prolonged or painful, or if a woman is experiencing other disturbing symptoms, consulting a trusted medical professional is recommended. While there are pharmaceutical options to curb bloating, these are serious potential side effects involved with these treatments.

Most experts recommend that women who suffer from bloating and wish to treat it begin with lifestyle changes, then move onto alternative medicine, and finally, look to medications if nothing else seems to work. Click on the following link to learn specific treatments for bloating in these three categories.

4 Home Remedies for Bloating

At one point or another, every woman will experience bloating in her lifetime, whether it be from being unaware of food intolerances, PMS, or digestion issues. Bottom line - bloating is common, and you aren't facing the struggle alone. Try incorporating these four home remedies daily, and you will revel in their magic.

5 Steps to Alleviate Constipation and Bloating

Constipation and bloating are some of the most common gastrointestinal problems in the United States, affecting around 42 million people, or around 15% of the population.Avoiding fizzy drinks and limiting consumption of beans, cabbage, and sprouts can also help prevent constipation and bloating.

Sources:
  • Heitkemper, M.M. & Chang, L. (2009). Do Fluctuations in Ovarian Hormones Affect Gastrointestinal Symptoms in Women With Irritable Bowel Syndrome? Gender Medicine, 6(Suppl 2), 152-167. doi: 10.1016/j.genm.2009.03.004
  • Office on Women's Health. (2012). Menopause and menopause treatments fact sheet. Retrieved April 26, 2016, from http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/menopause-treatment.html
  • Stachenfeld, N.S. (2008). Sex Hormone Effects on Body Fluid Regulation. Exercise and Sports Science Reviews, 36(3), 152-159. doi: 10.1097/JES.0b013e31817be928

General articles

Updated on Jun 03, 2016
How to Reduce Bloating Fast
Many people experience bloating after eating and are not sure of the best ways to deal with it. It can be uncomfortable, but avoiding foods that trigger bloating does not have to be a big sacrifice. This article lists some of the most effective ways to reduce bloating quickly and easily.
Updated on Apr 25, 2016
Abdominal Bloating After Hysterectomy
Abdominal bloating after a hysterectomy is one of the more common side effects and is highly undesirable. Gas buildup can occur as the result of certain foods and eating habits. This article discusses hysterectomies and abdominal bloating in more detail and gives advice on what to do about it.
Updated on Mar 14, 2016
How to Switch to an Anti-Bloating Diet
Bloating is an unpleasant sensation, and it can even be painful. By switching to an anti-bloating diet, you can reduce your chances of suffering from this problem. This article gives advice on how to switch to an anti-bloating diet and avoid the troublesome symptoms of bloating.
Updated on Jan 14, 2016
The Pros and Cons of Probiotics for Bloating
'Probiotics' has become a buzzword of late, and there is no end of companies wanting to jump on the bandwagon and tout the health benefits of their latest probiotic product, but are they really useful for bloating? This article looks at the evidence to answer this question in a little more detail.
Updated on Nov 09, 2015
Menstrual Periods and Bloating: Are They Linked?
Bloating is a common symptom of menstrual periods, but many people are not sure how exactly the two are connected. There are a vast number of reasons why it can happen. This article looks at bloating and menstrual periods, their causes and symptoms, and what the connection is between the two.