How Does Menopause Affect Bloating
When women reach peri-menopause, estrogen levels can actually fluctuate quite a bit, at least initially. They tend to rise and fall before dropping off significantly at menopause. When estrogen levels are high women tend to retain more water. Bloating results.
During and after menopause, bloating can be related to slowed digestion and constipation related to hormonal imbalances.
Lower estrogen levels result in decreased levels of bile. Bile promotes bowel movements by softening your stool, lubricating your intestines, and speeding up how fast stool moves through your large intestine. Decreased bile levels associated with menopause can make stools harder and drier and more difficult to pass resulting in constipation, gas and bloating.
In order to avoid missed diagnoses, delayed care and poor outcomes ALL GI symptoms should always be evaluated promptly and aggressively by a trained gastroenterologist. Bloating can be a sign of a much more serious problem like certain cancers, ovarian cancer, pancreatic cancer, liver disease, inflammatory bowel disease, bowel obstruction, diverticulitis, infectious causes, amongst many other conditions.
Here Are 7 Surprising Signs That You May Be Perimenopausal
1. Ringing in the ears. Your ears might be ringing or maybe its more like a swishing sound in the ears in a pulsating rhythm. The sound may also be humming, buzzing or like waves crashing. A certain form of tinnitus is more likely for women in menopause. Research shows a womans hearing can be temporarily affected when progesterone levels are high, during the latter portion of monthly cycles.
2. Heart palpitations. Heart palpitations can be an early symptom of perimenopause caused by increasing follicle stimulating hormone as your body tries to stimulate ovulation. You may feel hot flashes or anxiety along with them or not. When it comes to an irregular heartbeat, I recommend that you talk with your healthcare provider to make sure theres no other reason youre experiencing it.
3. Tingling in the extremities. Getting all the nutrients we need is harder in menopause. And some nutrient deficiencies can lead to specific symptoms. Take vitamin B12, for example. Without enough of it, you might feel tingling or numbness in your hands and feet Although B12 deficiency is quite common, testing for it can be tricky , and as a result, it can go undiagnosed.
Increased clumsiness can make bruising another common symptom of perimenopause occur even more. You may even bruise so easily that you dont remember how the bruises got there. This can result from changes in hormones or from differences in the amount of nutrients youre getting in your diet.
Hormonal Imbalance Causes Perimenopause And Menopause Symptoms
As women, our hormone levels change throughout our lives, and for the most part, our bodies have the ability to adjust. But the shifts in your sex hormones may become too extreme or happen too quickly for your body to manage them, especially when youre in perimenopause and beyond.
You can then experience wide-ranging symptoms, from fatigue and moodiness to vaginal dryness and joint discomfort, to low libido and fuzzy thinking. You may just think these are signs of worsening PMS but in fact its the start of your menopause transition.
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Try Peppermint Or Ginger Tea With Meals
For many women suffering from perimenopausal bloating, the worst symptoms can occur after meals. Whether its slower digestion or increased food sensitivities, the tummy and digestive tract can get inflamed and bloated after meals. Try drinking peppermint or ginger tea after meals to see if that helps reduce the bloated feeling.
What Foods Cause Gas
Its more difficult for the body to absorb some fibers, sugars and starches, so the large intestine breaks those down into the gases that result in flatulence and/or bloating. Gas-causing foods include vegetables like beets, broccoli and Brussels sprouts legumes like black-eyed peas, lentils and a variety of beans grains cereals nuts and carbonated beverages like soda pop and beer. Rice is the only starch that doesnt cause gas.
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Other Physical Signs You May Notice
The following symptoms are less obvious and less common, but still are often signs of premature menopause:
Similar to the feeling you get just before your period, your breasts may feel swollen and tender to the touch.
This can last for days or weeks and unlike the normal breast tenderness from PMS, getting your period often doesnt help relieve this discomfort.
Gastrointestinal Distress and Nausea
Gas, indigestion, heartburn and a green feeling that comes and goes and often seems to have no relation to what youve eaten.
Tingling or Itchy Skin
This may feel like the creepy-crawlies as if bugs were walking all over you, a burning sensation like an insect sting, or just a heightened sensitivity.
Hair Loss or Thinning
This is connected to estrogen deficiency and the effect its scarcity has on the hair follicles.
Some women notice this before any other sign because it is so obvious you may have noticed hair in your brush and you may sense your hair getting drier and more brittle. Likewise you may notice a thinning or loss of pubic hair.
Dry Mouth and Other Oral Symptoms
This may be caused by drying of the mucous membranes due to low estrogen and it may bring about a bitter taste in your mouth and bad breath.
You also may notice drying in your eyes and nostrils.
A puffy bloated feeling that seems to come out of nowhere usually youll notice bouts of this youll be fine for a while, then bloated, then okay again.
4 weeks ago
When To See A Doctor About Bloating
- you cant stop being sick
- youre vomiting and it looks like blood or coffee grounds, or its bright green
- you cant keep any fluids down
- you have very bad tummy pain
- you have very heavy vaginal bleeding that doesnt stop
- you have a lot of blood in your poo
- you havent peed all day, or you suddenly cant pee
- your poo looks very black, like tar
You should see your doctor as soon as possible if you have bloating and:
- its very bad or keeps coming back
- diarrhoea, or a change in your normal pooing habit that cant be explained, such as going to the toilet more often, with runny poo
- a high temperature
- difficulty swallowing food or fluids
- loss of appetite, or you feel full very quickly after eating
- yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes
- you need to pee more often, or you often have to pee urgently
- unusual bleeding from your vagina, including after the menopause
- a lump in your tummy
- youre over 50
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Vaginal Dryness And Atrophy
When your estrogen levels drop, your vaginal tissues start drying and become less elastic. Sex becomes uncomfortable you may be more prone to infections your vagina is frequently itchy and easily irritated, and, on the emotional side, you may feel older.
Your vagina is usually very elastic, able to easily stretch for sex and childbirth. But as estrogen levels go down, your vaginal walls get thinner and lose some of their elasticity. Your vagina becomes dryer and takes longer to become lubricated. Finally, it may atrophy becoming somewhat smaller in width and length.
If you experience a sudden drop in estrogen , these vaginal symptoms might appear more suddenly than if you go through a natural premature menopause. Either way, though, its a very unpleasant side effect of going through menopause and often very emotionally upsetting when youre in your 20s or 30s.
You may find it takes longer and longer to get sexually aroused. Sexual stimulation that you used to enjoy may become unpleasant. Intercourse can be very uncomfortable, even painful. In a worst case scenario, your vagina may even tear during intercourse.
All in all, sex may become less and less pleasurable making you feel even worse about being in premature menopause. I remember I began thinking that, at the not-so-ripe age of 38, my days of enjoying sex were over and was very glad when I learned that I was wrong.
How To Cope
Dealing With A Menopause Upset Stomach Look After Your Microbiome
All along the intestine, theres a multitude of bacterial activity collectively known as the microbiome. Getting the right type of friendly bacteria in your microbiome supports gut function and the maintenance of bowel regularity, thereby playing a key role in keeping a menopause upset stomach at bay.
These friendly bacteria even produce B-vitamins which get absorbed into the body, contributing to a normal energy-yielding metabolism required for all physiological functions and activities of the body, including exercise.
Importantly, some of the B-vitamins, such as B6 and B2, help to support hormone balance.
As any woman going through the menopause will be able to tell you, the sugar cravings can drive you to distraction. It can be challenging to get the right foods on board.
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Stomach Bloating: How A Swollen Belly May Be An Early Warning Symptom Of Menopause
Stomach bloating typically describes what happens when too much gas fills up the gastrointestinal tract. With no exit for expulsion, the tummy tends to stretch and swell. This may result in painful cramps that last for hours, diminishing a personâs overall quality of life. For woman, it could be an indicator of the menopause.
Hormonal changes during the menopause transition have been shown to affect a womanâs gastrointestinal functions with results such as bloating.
A new study suggests that a womanâs race/ethnicity and menopause status may partially determine the severity of these symptoms.
In the study, which was published in Menopause, how a bloated belly and its relation to the menopause was further investigated.
âThis study highlights significant associations between GI symptoms and menopause status, with postmenopausal women generally reporting a greater number of symptoms and more severe symptoms,â said Dr Stephanie Faubion, NAMS medical director.
She continued: âIt also shows important racial/ethnic differences in GI symptom reporting, similar to what has been shown with menopause symptoms.
âAdditional study is needed to confirm these findings and to determine optimal management strategies for midlife women with new, bothersome GI symptoms.â
Imbalances And Fluctuations Occur In Many Types Of Hormones
To address their patients menopause symptoms, many conventional practitioners look only at the changes to the hormones progesterone and estrogen. But finding real relief is not that simple. Your hormones behave more like a big orchestra than separate instruments. We know that specific fluctuations in estrogen, progesterone and testosterone can determine whether or not you develop symptoms. But its more a question of balance than of specific hormone levels.
Finally, its not just your sex hormones that can affect how you feel: insulin levels, thyroid function and adrenal health are all intertwined with your sex hormones too. Thats because all your bodys hormones affect one another. This explains why the conventional approach to menopause and symptom relief is often too simplistic to be safe and effective.
The best way to know if youre in menopause is to check in with how youre feeling and do it often, especially because theres no single test to confirm youre in perimenopause or menopause.
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Causes Of Menopause Gas
Research is still developing concerning the role of estrogen and progesterone in increased gastrointestinal symptoms around the time of early menopause.
Nevertheless, it is believed that drastic fluctuations of both as women are winding down their reproductive years are at least partly at fault for menopause gas and bloating.
Other causes of menopause gas could be:
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth
- Cancer of the stomach, colon, or pancreas
- And more
What Else Could Cause The Gas
Gas can be caused by other health concerns, so be sure to talk with your doctor if the development of gas is sudden, painful, extreme, comes with weight loss, diarrhea or constipation, and/or is disrupting your life.
Other possible causes include:
SIBO. A too-high concentration of bacteria in the small intestine can be the underlying cause for many digestive issues. A breath test can help you determine if this is causing your digestive issues.
IBS.Irritable bowel syndrome refers to a group of symptoms that generally cause abdominal pain and changes in bowel movements.
GERD or gastroesophageal reflux disease is a condition in which the stomach contents flow backward up the esophagus. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder in which the presence of gluten causes the body to attack its own small intestine. Subsequent damage to the villi, the lining of the small intestine, can keep nutrients from being absorbed correctly.
While a little extra intestinal gas may not be detrimental to your health, it can disrupt your working and social life. If you’re dealing with digestive issues, check with a doctor, consider keeping a food journal to help you track triggers, and try to maintain a sense of humor. And maybe get a dog. You can always blame it on the dog.
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Menopause And Your Energy Levels
Its really common for your energy levels to tank during menopause. Lack of sleep doesnt help, but fluctuating hormone levels can make you feel drained even if youre sleeping like a baby. Which brings us to:
What Causes Bloating Weight Gain And Other Gi Symptoms Around Menopause
While the association between menopause status and GI symptoms has been established, the cause is not generally agreed upon. The researchers attribute it to the decrease in estrogen hormone levels and an increase in cortisol hormone levels. But Dr. Burnett-Bowie points out that research published in the journal Womens Midlife Health in August 2019 found decreased abdominal pain with the menopause transition and increasing age, which is counter to the present study.
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Decrease The Size Of Your Meals
Instead of eating three big meals, consider 3 smaller meals and two or three snacks thoughout the day. The smaller amount of food going through your digestive tract may help reduce bloating after meals.
You may also want to incorporate a digestive enzyme with your meals to help with digestion. I like the Pure Encapsulations Digestive Enzymes.
Red Flags For Swollen Stomach And Back Pain
Bloating causes a distended stomach when the abdomen fills up with gas or air. This discomforting sensation can also cause pain that may be felt in the back. Together, a swollen stomach and back pain can make you feel not only distressed but perhaps a bit self-conscious as well.
The two symptoms are tied together because the back provides support and stabilizes the body. However, abdominal bloating causes pressure and pain in the area which can spread to the back. The pain may vary in severity and type from sensations of dull throbbing to sharp and pinching pain.
When the two symptoms are experienced separately they are fairly common and not usually a cause for concern. But in instances where a bloating stomach pain is also accompanied by back pain, they could be indicative of a more serious condition. These should not be taken lightly as they can include the following:
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Six: Drink Peppermint Tea
Peppermint is an effective, time-honored digestive aid. Plus it tastes really good. If youre prone to heartburn, go easy on the peppermint, however.
Tired of being bloated all of the time? A menopause-certified health coach can be helpful. Book 30 minutes for your personal consultation with a health coach.
Can Menopause Cause Nausea
During peri-menopause estrogen production by the ovaries can fluctuate greatly. When estrogen production is high, women may experience nausea associated with these hormonal fluctuations.
Nonetheless, in order to avoid missed diagnoses, delayed care, and poor outcomes ALL GI symptoms should be evaluated promptly and aggressively by a trained gastroenterologist. Nausea can be a sign of a much more serious problem such as certain cancers, ovarian cancer, pancreatic cancer, liver disease, inflammatory bowel disease, bowel obstruction, and other conditions.
If youre concerned about GI symptoms associated with menopause, please contact our office for a comprehensive medical evaluation.
*This information is only intended for educational purposes and the accuracy of this content is not guaranteed.
Why Women Over 50 Bloat And What To Do About It
- Why Women Over 50 Bloat And What to Do About It
- Prime Women
- Fri Aug 6
Bloating is one of the most frequently experienced problems by women entering perimenopause and menopause. It is so prevalent that it is often referred to as menopausal bloat. Bloating caused by gas can lead to discomfort and be awkward and embarrassing. It can also lead to tightness around your abdominal area, which can last for hours or days and can result in episodes of flatulence. Women who experienced these symptoms when suffering from PMS when they were younger are more likely to experience them after 50.
Essentials For Older Women
In older women, common causes of pelvic pain may be different because some disorders that cause pelvic pain become more common as women age, particularly after menopause. Obviously, disorders related to menstrual periods are no longer possible causes.
Common disorders in older women include
Bladder problems, including infections
Many cancers of the reproductive tract, including cancers of the lining of the uterus , fallopian tubes, ovaries, and vagina
After menopause, estrogen levels decrease, weakening many tissues, including bone, muscles , and tissues around the vagina and urethra. As a result, fractures and bladder infections become more common.
Also, this weakening may contribute to pelvic organ prolapse, which may cause symptoms as women become older. In these disorders, weakened or damaged tissues in the pelvis can no longer hold the uterus, vagina, or other organs in the pelvis in place. As a result, one or more of these organs may drop down .
Older women are more likely to take drugs that can cause painful constipation.
In older women, the lining of the vagina thins and dries after menopause. This condition may make sexual intercourse painful, and women may describe or experience this pain as pelvic pain.
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