Bloating may be caused by high levels of the hormone oestrogen, which can occur during peri-menopause, which is the phase that leads up to menopause. When high oestrogen levels occur, this is called oestrogen dominance or overload. The symptoms of this are many, including sore breasts, premenstrual syndrome, irritability and, alas, bloating. Progesterone, the other female hormone, can also cause water retention, which can make you bloat. Unpredictable hormone fluctuations during peri-menopause may be the culprit behind your bloating, which generally resolves itself once you start your menstrual period. However, once you are fully in menopause and can no longer rely on the onset of your period to relieve bloating, there are other approaches you can take to try and prevent this problem.
Bloating can also be caused by anxiety, stress and poor nutrition, according to Menopauseinsight.com. If a woman is undergoing hormone therapy replacement (HRT) this, too, can cause bloating, which is uncomfortable and even painful.
Diet and Hormones
Bloating is a common complaint among menopausal women. Some doctors think it is due to decreasing hormone production whereas others believe that bloating is the result of a change in diet. Many menopausal women start eating more fruits and vegetables in an attempt to have better nutrition, which is good, but this can exacerbate bloating and gas. Menopausal women are encouraged by the North American Menopause Society to eat lots of vegetables, soy proteins, whole grains and dairy products because they are nutritious, but they are also gas-producing.
Menopause-symptoms.com notes that bile production decreases when oestrogen levels decline. Bile aids our digestion and serves to lubricate the intestines. When we don't have enough bile, our stools can get dry and hard and may not pass through our system as rapidly as they normally would. You can end up constipated as a result and bloated.
The body will search for new sources of oestrogen when oestrogen levels decline during peri-menopause. Oestrogen can be found in fat cells so the body converts calories into fat in an effort to make more oestrogen. When this happens, the result may be oestrogen overcorrection. Bloating will occur and insulin resistance may also result, according to Bodylogic.com.
Women complain of weight gain during menopause. This is caused by androgens, which are male hormones. When a menopausal woman gains weight, it will probably be in her abdomen. This makes the feeling of bloating even worse.
As we get older, we are likely to become lactose intolerant. Bloating, cramps, gas, diarrhoea, and nausea can occur shortly after ingesting milk products.
Considerations and Approaches
Everyone has gas, although some have it worse than others. Our bodies don't absorb and digest some starches, fibre and sugar, which are carbohydrates. These problematic carbohydrates, which are also called polysaccharides, include stachyose and raffinose. Undigested sugar leads to gas, bloating and flatulence, according to Menopauserx.com. On the other hand, proteins and fats don't cause much gas. However, if you are constantly bloating, discuss this with your physician. This could be a sign of colitis, ulcers, acid reflux, Crohn's disease or cancer.
Many women have successfully dealt with their bloating problems by using herbs. According to Herbalshopper.com, natural herbs that are especially effective when it comes to eliminating bloat include oregano, cardamom, fennel and peppermint. Peppermint, in particular, relaxes the intestines and you will be able to pass gas, which will make you feel better. Fennel also helps release trapped gas and improves digestion. Pancreatic enzymes, which you can get in a supplement, provide relief from bloating and an upset stomach and also assist in digestion. Talk to a qualified herbalist, as well as with your physician, and find a remedy that works well for you.