If you’re in your 40s or 50s, you may be experiencing bloating more than usual. This time, it is often caused by changes in hormone levels, which can lead to gas and other uncomfortable symptoms. Bloating can make you feel uncomfortable and even unattractive.
An expected part of the process
A very common symptom that women, as they get into their forties and definitely under their fifties as the hormones start to transition, is bloating. There is a reason for this. Women often experience bloating in their 40’s and 50’s because of hormone imbalance. As estrogen levels fall, along with that of progesterone. This is a common occurrence during these periods when we’re going through menopause or “the changeover” as some call it.
This starts to change our metabolism a little bit. Our bowels might be slowing down and cause us to feel generally more uncomfortable. Some women report that they feel bloated after eating and it’s directly associated with food. Others say they’re just feeling generally puffing up, icky, and weighed down in the abdominal area. They might experience any or all of these symptoms with bloating as well.
Most women will say that they just don’t know why this happens. They think they’re eating a fairly regular diet and drinking enough water. Despite this, they still just have this generalized bloat.
As estrogen levels lower, the motility process just doesn’t act as efficiently as it used to. This is part of the process, unfortunately, of our hormones changing. Although, it doesn’t necessarily mean that we have to suffer from this and continuously do so. There are ways to understand how to get the balance back.
Disturbances in Gut Bacteria
If you have had these symptoms, you’ve most probably tried different things. You’ve maybe even been taking over-the-counter antacids or anything that might help you with the bloating symptoms and the discomfort that comes with it. And maybe, it hasn’t worked.
There is a way to learn and understand the true root cause of where the bloating is coming from. Most commonly, as mentioned, it partly has to do with estrogen levels lowering. But there are other causes as well. Very commonly, there are imbalances in our gut bacteria which is one of the main contributors.
For a long time, the causes of bloating and discomfort in women over the age of 40 were shrouded in mystery. However, recent research has shed new light on this issue, and it appears that gut bacteria imbalances may be to blame.
Studies have shown that gut bacteria play a crucial role in digestion and immune function, and imbalances can lead to a wide range of problems. In addition to bloating and discomfort, imbalances have been linked to fatigue, weight gain, skin issues, and even mood disorders.
The good news is that these imbalances can be corrected with lifestyle changes and probiotic supplements. However, for us to fully understand the root cause of your symptoms, we need to do some detailed lab testing. By taking a closer look at your gut flora, we can develop a treatment plan that will help you feel your best.
Helping the Gut
Before we go deeper into that, there are some ways and quick tips that you can do. Start with learning how to get that balance back from a lifestyle perspective.
Eat enough fiber
We must be eating enough fiber. This will help feed the good bacteria in our gut. It helps our bowels and our motility to move better in general, as long as you’re drinking enough water. Fruits and vegetables are the number one source of fiber, for sure. You can get this from nuts and seeds as well. Make sure that you are including enough amount of this in your daily eating habits.
Many people are somehow underdoing it when it comes to fiber. When you eat more (than the recommended amount of) fiber, the negative effect it can have is, ironically, bloating. This happens if you’re not drinking enough fluids throughout the day.
Drink your water
So another quick tip is to make sure that you are drinking at least eight cups of water a day. If you are active and sweating through exercise, or you’re just out in the heat most of the time during the day, you need to make sure that you increase the amount of your water intake. Depending on your activities for the day, you may need even up to 15 cups.
Start eating more fermented foods. Things like kimchi or sauerkraut are ideal. The fermentation process breaks down the sugars in the vegetables, making them easier to digest and helping to prevent bloating. In addition, fermented foods are a great source of probiotics, which can help to rebalance the gut bacteria and reduce inflammation.
Have you heard of kefir? Kefir is a drink made from milk, dairy or non-dairy sources, that has been fermented. There are different types of kefir- one made with cow milk, one with goat milk, and one with sheep milk. Another type of kefir, called water kefir, is made with water instead of milk.
These are also great ways to start rebalancing the bacteria in your gut and at the same time do wonders for bloating as well.
Consistent, Intentional Exercise
You should move your body every day. Moving your body helps food move through your system. When the estrogen level is lower, you need to move more to help the food move. Exercise is essential. And it doesn’t necessarily have to be vigorous or fast-paced or intense exercise. You can walk or hike for at least 20 or 30 minutes each day.
If you’re experiencing bloating as part of the process involved in your transition into menopause, know that you are not alone. Bloating is a common symptom for many women during this time. There are some things you can do to help manage it, like implementing some quick and easy lifestyle changes, and if needed, working with a functional medicine practitioner to get to the root of the hormonal imbalance causing your symptoms. We hope these tips have been helpful. For more advice on how to manage menopausal health issues, please schedule a discovery call with us today. We would be happy to chat with you about our services and see how we might be able to help. Thank you for reading!
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DISCLAIMER: The information in this email is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content is for general informational purposes only and does not replace a consultation with your own doctor/health professional