Bloating is prompted by indigestion or gas in the stomach and is most often associated with a protruding stomach. Women may also say their faces show signs of being bloated or use the term bloated feet. 

“I have never had to deal with bloating, but now that I am entering the peri-menopause, no matter what I do, I can’t get rid of it!” shares Cathy.

Cathy is not alone, and she is a part of a growing number of women who are trying to make sense of the changes in their body as they enter menopause.

Estrogen Dominance

As you enter menopause, your levels of estrogen and progesterone start decreasing. Your levels of estrogen may be decreasing at a far lower rate than progesterone, thus causing estrogen dominance.

This increased estrogen can then become a major cause of water and salt retention, leading to bloating that is most noticeable in the fat tissues of the abdomen.

Tip:

A powerful combination of lemon juice, turmeric and ginger with a hint of black pepper is a great way to start your day.

Although lemon juice is acidic, mixing it up with water and ginger gives it an alkalizing effect on the body during digestion. I now add a touch of black pepper to my morning shot. Adding a pinch of black pepper helps to enhance absorption and boosts the powerful benefits of the turmeric.

When you begin the day with this shot, you are helping the metabolic enzymes do the job that they need to do. This includes removing excess estrogen and hence closing the gap on estrogen dominance.

Other benefits are: improved natural gut microbes, assistance with carbohydrate metabolism (though keep in mind you need to decrease the workload you place on your digestive system by limiting the amount of processed carbohydrates you consume each day) and better overall digestive health.

Gut Microbes

There is a specific subset of your gut bacteria that is primarily responsible for helping metabolise estrogen.

When these bacteria are out of balance, your body doesn’t process and eliminate excess estrogen efficiently, contributing to estrogen dominance and hence leading to more bloating and discomfort.

Tip:

Invest in a good quality pro-biotic and take one capsule a day.

Carbohydrate Intolerance

Metabolic disorders that surface around the same time as menopause – including elevated fats in the bloodstream, as well as inadequate carbohydrate metabolism – lead to impaired glucose tolerance and increase the potential for developing diabetes or even metabolic syndrome.

As a result, you are no longer able to eat as many highly processed carbohydrate meals as before. A good way to measure this would be to cut out all carbohydrate foods for three days and then see how your body reacts when you have a bowl of pasta, or a slice or two of pizza.

Tip:

Next time you have a pasta meal, replace the pasta with rocket or zucchini noodles (arugula) and place the pasta sauce on top.

Decreased Digestive Enzymes

Digestive enzymes include gastric juices and enzymes released from the intestinal lining and pancreas. As you grow in age, your digestive enzymes decrease. Gastric juices that help in the initial digestion phase also decrease with stress.

Digestive juices released by the intestinal lining may be damaged by hormones or drugs, and food allergies can also render digestive enzymes less effective.

So, you may be eating a healthy diet, but if your gut microbiome is not as healthy as it should be, you may not be absorbing the nutrients from the foods you eat. These partially digested foods also play a role in bloating.

Tip:

Add 1-2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar to a glass of water and sip away at lunch time, dinner time or both.

What symptoms did menopause bring into your life? Is one of them bloating? How do you manage it? Please share any tips you have found helpful!

Jule-DarganJulie Dargan (RN, ND, BHSc) is the Menopause Whisperer. She assists women going through hormonal changes and want to live each day with confidence and enthusiasm. Her website was created to help women understand the menopause and how to halt the middle age spread.

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