Bloating is one of symptoms most frequently experienced by women in perimenopause.
Bloating is uncomfortable pressure in the abdominal area caused by either fluid or extra air in the gastrointestinal tract. The stomach swells and causes tightness or fullness, and can cause temporary weight gain.
A woman’s fluctuating hormone levels, especially estrogen, are the main reason for water retention and menopausal bloating. Hormone replacement therapy can also be a culprit.
– changes in diet or appetite
– stress related to menopauses
– lowed digestion
– swallowing air
How to prevent bloating
- Eat smaller more frequent meals. Larger meals can be hard to digest, as metabolism slows down during menopause.
- Eat healthy snacks in between meals
- Probiotics supplements and/or foods include: sauerkraut, kefir, yoghurt (best a non-dairy yoghurt), tamari (fermented soy sauce), kimchi (Japanese fermented vegetables).
- Reduce salt intake. Too much salt in the diet can cause water retention. Avoid processed foods, as they usually contain high amounts of salt.
- Avoid carbonated beverages – they lead to increased gas in the stomach.
- Avoid trigger foods – cabbage, broccoli, onion, beans, as well as fatty, fried foods can be difficult to digest and can increase gas in the stomach.
- Stay well hydrated. Water flushes out toxins that may cause bloating. Drink at least 8 glasses of water throughout the day to keep the gastrointestinal tract moving smoothly.
- Get regular exercise. Studies showed that exercising for 30 minutes daily can help reduce water buildup. Try swimming, jogging, cycling, or aerobics.
BEST REMEDIES FOR GAS AND BLOATING
THE MORNING ELIXIR
One of the best things you can do not only to prevent bloating but also for your overall well being, is to start your day with a small glass of lukewarm or room temperature water with 1 teaspoon of raw apple vinegar (with the mother) and a bit of lemon juice. This elixir will hydrate you immediately which is essential upon waking in order to flush your lymphatic system and get it started. Besides, the apple cider vinegar acts as a probiotic and aids in digestion. The highly alkaline lemon juice will help balance your body’s pH level stimulating digestion and reducing bloating.
This delicious little spice should be a staple in your home at any time. Ginger is known to speed up digestion. Add a slice of fresh ginger root to a cup of hot water for 10 minutes and drink before and after meals. Alternatively, you can add ginger to your meals, smoothies or juices or take a ginger supplement.
The fennel seeds are known for their high content in volatile oils with anti inflammatory, anti spasmodic and antibacterial properties. They are well known to get rid of gas and bloating and increase digestion. Chew on a few fennel seeds or sip on hot fennel tea. For the tea, crush one teaspoon of fennel seeds and boil in a pot with one cup of water. Steep for 10 minutes, cool, strain and drink up to 3 cups daily.
Peppermint has been shown to reduce bloating. It’s thought to increase transit time by relaxing the stomach muscles and increasing the flow of bile. Steep fresh peppermint leaves for tea or use tea bags.
Probiotics also help aid digestion and reduce excessive gas. Probiotics are live microorganisms (good bacteria) similar to good bacteria found in the gut. They are available as supplements, but the best sources are:
Slow your eating
Eating too fast isn’t doing your digestive system any favors. Be mindful and enjoy your meals.
Stress can also cause increased bloating. Stress-reducing techniques can help improve your digestion. Try meditating or deep breathing. Studies have shown that 5 minutes of deep belly breathing can bring immediate relief from severe bloating.
Prevention is key. First, avoid foods that are known gas producers. Try not to overeat, consume sugar alcohols or swallow air. Eating mindfully and reducing stress can also help.
If none of these remedies alleviate symptoms, you may have a food intolerance. See your doctor or other trusted medical professional to rule out a serious and/or chronic condition. Food allergy tests can identify specific culprits.
Why not try my Peppermint Mocha Creamer recipe here.
LAURA PEISCHL, BA, INHC
Laura is a Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, Holistic Menopause Health Specialist and Certified Hormone Health and Wellness Practitioner. She is the founder and owner of Feel Good Menopause.