Menopause is the time in a woman’s life that signals the end of her menstrual period and childbearing ability. A woman officially enters menopause after a full year without a period.
Perimenopause and menopause symptoms, including uncomfortable bloating, can begin up to 4 years before menopause as hormone levels drop. Fortunately, there are ways to relieve menopausal bloating and discomfort.
Contents of this article:
What is bloating?
Bloating is uncomfortable pressure in the abdominal area caused by extra air or fluid in the gastrointestinal tract. It can feel like fullness or tightness.
In some cases, bloating can cause a person’s stomach to swell. A person may also experience temporary weight gain from bloating.
Menopausal bloating normally has one of two main causes: water retention or gas retention. Both can cause bloating during menopause.
A woman’s hormone levels frequently fluctuate during perimenopause, which is the time leading up to menopause when a woman’s periods are decreasing. Increased estrogen levels can cause water retention, which can in turn cause bloating.
Unfortunately, estrogen is not the only cause of menopause-related bloating. During and after menopause, bloating can also be related to changes in the gastrointestinal tract. These changes can be caused by many things, including:
Any of the above may lead to bloating due to excessive gas.
Water retention vs. gas retention
Water retention and gas retention are two main causes of bloating in the stomach and midsection. It may be difficult to determine which of the two is causing the bloating.
Gas bloating is typically located in the stomach and is the result of trapped air. Often, gas bloating can be prevented by eating slower, not drinking carbonated beverages, and eating smaller meals.
Water retention can occur in more places than gas retention. A woman may notice swelling in her hands and feet, through her midsection, or all throughout her body. Water retention may cause painful bloating in the affected parts of the body.