Bloating can be one of the unfortunate side effects of hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
One of the most unpopular yet nevertheless frequently experienced symptoms of menopause is bloating. 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 as it occurs with PMS will most likely recognize the symptom as a part of menopause.
Bloating is defined as a feeling of fullness or tightness in the abdominal area that can lead to a certain degree of discomfort or even pain. It 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 from woman to 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.
Causes of Bloating
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 hormones, particularly estrogen. Estrogen is important for a couple of reasons.
First of all, 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 digestion. Bile acts as a lubricant in the intestines. When estrogen levels decrease as a result of menopause, this in turn leads to a decrease in bile production. Stools in the small intestine can become dry, hard, and accumulate due to the lack of lubrication, leading to the sensation of constipation and bloating.
Not including the important role of estrogen in the phenomenon of bloating, there are other causes that will often have a hand in this.
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, more rare, medical conditions including gallstones, diabetes, or kidney disease.
Treatment for Bloating
Happily, bloating is not a symptom that needs to be permanent. There are ways to both manage and defeat it, in different stages. 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 have an impact on the incidence of bloating. Stress reduction techniques such as meditation can also help.
Many foods can be useful to eliminate the excess of water and intestinal gas, apart to improve health
Lifestyle changes can be difficult to implement all at once for a busy woman, however. The most effective approach, as bloating in menopausal women is primarily caused by fluctuating levels of estrogen, is to treat the problem directly at the hormonal source. A variety of natural and alternative remedies exist that are able to address this imbalance. Most of the time this is the safest, easiest, and most effective way to fight bloating.
As a reduction in estrogen levels are the major cause of bloating, we recommend taking the all-natural Manna Menopause Support supplement to help increase estrogen levels the natural way without any side effects.
If estrogen levels are not the cause of bloating, we recommend taking the Manna GUT Support to help reinstate healthy bacteria and digestive enzymes to help prevent bloating and also stimulate bowel movement.