Menopause and bloating — two words we have to put together way too often. I mean how many times have you struggled with getting your pants buttoned? Or absolutely hated the way you look in the mirror from the side? I know I’ve personally been there more times than I can count.
If this is your struggle, take heart. There are so many things you can do to get that bloating, gas, and discomfort under control. So you can slip on your pants and have extra room in the waist.
Sound too good to be true? I promise it isn’t. I’ve helped thousands of women over the years put an end to their “menopause belly” and get their confidence and health back.
Let’s chat about why your stomach blows up like a balloon (especially during perimenopause and menopause) and what helps menopause bloating…with some real-life strategies you can start using today to stop that menopause bloating and weight gain, Girlfriend.
What Does Menopause Bloating Feel Like?
Sometimes, you may notice your stomach is distended and sticking out, but it’s not painful or hurting in any way. At other times, you may experience:
- Feelings of indigestion
All of these feelings can mimic other digestive disorders. In fact, by some estimates, 38% of postmenopausal women experience irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) type symptoms. (2)
Why Does Menopause Cause Bloating?
A lot of women start to see an increase in bloat during perimenopause, the years before you actually lose your period and you’re officially in menopause (which is the one-year anniversary of your period disappearing).
Perimenopause symptoms, including bloating, can start to show up for some women in their 30s.
Perimenopause is characterized by a sharp drop in the hormone progesterone. Estrogen also drops, but it can be erratic in its overall dropping pattern. This means that sometimes, you’ll have estrogen dominance, even though your estrogen levels are decreasing. Estrogen can cause your body to retain fluids, while progesterone can act as a diuretic, moving fluids out. (1)
So when progesterone is low and estrogen is a bit higher — this is one of the ways menopause leads to a bloated belly.
Getting older can also slow down your digestive system. And that can definitely contribute to the menopause and bloating and gas connection as well.
Your gut health also plays an outsized role in how flat your stomach lies. Your gut health also is crucial for just about every bodily function too — so it’s one of the key things to optimize in menopause.
Let’s take a closer look at why.
Estrogen And Your Gut Microbiome
Estrogen has a special relationship with many of the tissues and systems in your body, from your brain to your vagina. And your digestive system is no different.
In fact, researchers believe that menopause and the corresponding drop in estrogen it brings alters the gut microbiome, and not in a good way. (3-6)
We know that the gut microbiome influences so much of your health. And it could be these menopausal changes to your gut health that contribute to the many negative health outcomes we see in menopausal women, like heart disease and diabetes.
But just because your estrogen is playing hide and seek with your body and causing your gut health to decline — that doesn’t mean you’re doomed to poor gut health in menopause. There are so many ways to keep your gut microbiome diversified and strong through menopause and beyond.
Let’s take a look at a few of them.
7 Perimenopause And Menopause Bloating Remedies
Just because your hormones are going haywire, it doesn’t mean you have to feel like a large beach ball in your midsection all the time.
What helps menopause bloating? Here are some simple strategies you can use to get your gut health optimized and cut down on menopause bloating.
1. Change Your Diet
At the top of the list of things you can do to cut down on bloating in menopause are dietary changes. Sugar is the ultimate culprit here. You’ll find that if you cut back on processed foods and sugar your stomach can flatten right out.
It’s important to also include plenty of fresh, whole foods, especially fiber-rich vegetables in your diet during this time. Fiber helps everything move through your digestive tract so much easier and this alone can help bloat subside.
It’s important to note here that fermented foods, like sauerkraut and kimchi, can also help improve your gut health and digestion.
I’m an advocate of eating a high-fat, moderate protein, low-carb diet that focuses on an abundance of green vegetables to aid in supporting your gut health. I call this way of eating Keto-Green® and it’s helped thousands of women to lose weight, get a flatter stomach, and improve all sorts of biomarkers. Click here to learn more about this eating style.
2. Probiotics, Gut Health, And Menopause Bloating
Spoiler alert: simply taking a probiotic supplement without also changing your diet likely isn’t enough to meaningfully impact your gut health. Your gut is a complex colony of trillions of bacteria, and these bacteria need true diversity in the types of plant foods you eat, including prebiotic fibers (like those found in oats, spirulina, and maca powder) in order to thrive.
Vegetables, and lots of different kinds, can help contribute to your gut microbiome’s diversity. Microbiome diversity is associated with positive health outcomes of all kinds. (7)
My Mighty Maca® Plus drink mix combines dozens of different plants to make contributing to the diversity in your gut simple. It’s loaded with fiber, prebiotics, and hormone-balancing goodness to make building up your gut health easier — which makes buttoning your pants a whole lot easier too.
3. Drink More Water
It may seem counterintuitive, but when you drink more water, you will retain less water. So drink up, until your urine is almost clear.
Drinking more water can also help you boost your metabolism and lose weight. Some research suggests a relatively modest amount of water intake can increase your metabolic rate by 30%. (8)
4. Exercise And Move Your Body
Regular exercise can likely help you to improve your gut microbiome and reduce bloating. One study showed that moderate-intensity exercise for 8 weeks improved gut microbiota. (9)
Even light activities like walking can be beneficial for relieving bloat too. (10)
Exercise has been shown to help relieve gas, a hallmark symptom of bloating, as well. (11)
5. Manage Your Stress Levels
There’s no doubt stress can impact digestive health. If you’ve ever had to run to the bathroom because you were nervous about something, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
Incorporating mindfulness practices or meditation into your daily routine can significantly reduce stress levels. These techniques help in focusing on the present moment and aid in calming the mind.
And don’t forget to make time for people and hobbies you love. Setting time aside for self-care and connecting with your loved ones increases the hormone oxytocin in your body, which is a calming and powerful force.
6. Cut Out Carbonation
Carbonated drinks like soda can contribute to the menopause bloating problem. If you’re experiencing a bloated belly and you drink carbonated beverages regularly, try cutting them out and see how it affects your bloating and gut health.
It’s also important to note that artificial sweeteners, like those found in many diet sodas, can also wreak havoc on your gut health. (12) So that’s another reason to keep your consumption to a minimum.
7. Try Natural Remedies
Sometimes, the simplest remedies are also the best. Herbal teas, like peppermint and ginger, have a reputation for calming digestion and helping with bloating. (13,14) And there’s nothing more soothing than a nice cup of tea.
Another of my favorite gut health and bloating helpers is my Mighty Maca® Plus drink mix. Just one tiny scoop contains dozens of different kinds of fruits, vegetables, and fiber to make getting your gut microbiome in tip-top shape simple. Check it out here and see why women rave about how it makes them feel.
Menopause And Bloating: Key Takeaways
While bloating and digestive discomfort might be part of your menopause story now, they don’t always have to be.
I hope you’ve gotten several ideas here to help you start optimizing your gut health and tackling your bloating in the process. You deserve to feel sexy and confident throughout your menopause journey, Girlfriend.