Bloating is one of the most common problems experienced by women entering perimenopause and menopause. It is so common that it is often referred to as menopausal bloating, and women 50 and over are more prone to this problem.
It can cause discomfort and be uncomfortable and embarrassing. It will cause tightness around the abdominal area, which can last for hours or days and can lead to bouts of flatulence. Swelling in women who experienced these symptoms when they suffered PMS when they were younger are more likely to experience them after 50.
The reason for bloating in women 50 and over
During early menopause, you'll see a significant fluctuation in hormone levels, which can lead to a wide range of uncomfortable symptoms, such as hot flashes, sleep disturbances, weight gain, mood swings, and vaginal dryness.
One of the main changes you will experience is a drastic change in your estrogen levels. Estrogen is the hormone responsible for maintaining the correct levels of bile and water in the body.
When these levels start to fluctuate, your body will respond by storing more water which can lead to bloating. When estrogen affects bile production, your body digests fats differently, which can lead to higher levels of flatulence in the digestive tract.
There are other problems that can cause gas and bloating in women in their 50s that are not directly related to the level of hormones in your body.
· Fresh Broccoli Digestion: Gas and bloating can be the result of a slower digestive system that can come with age. This can also lead to constipation.
· Diet: To compensate for the menopausal weight gain, many women will make changes to their diet to keep the weight down, such as adding more fresh fruits and vegetables. As your body adjusts to dietary changes, you may see an increase in gas.
· Air - Swallowing more air can lead to increased gases in the body. This usually occurs when you drink soda or chew gum, which many women do when they reach menopause to combat dry mouth.
· Eating Habits: Your 50s can be one of the busiest times of your life, and as you run to take care of all your daily activities, you may be eating faster than you should. Eating too much or too fast can create a build-up of food that can cause problems with your digestive system.
· Gut flora: Changes that occur during menopause can change the good bacteria in your digestive system that are responsible for breaking down food. An imbalance of these bacteria can lead to problems with your body's food processing and lead to gas and constipation.
What can cause swelling after menopause
Unfortunately, bloating is not only a concern during the menopausal years, it can continue to get worse as you age, even after your hormones have had time to stabilize.
While diet and lifestyle can still cause bloating problems after menopause, other things can be to blame for your bloating.
Functional dyspepsia: It is a chronic disorder that affects the upper digestive tract and can cause bloating, gas, satiety, abdominal pain, and indigestion. While the exact causes of functional dyspepsia are unknown, it is sometimes associated with excess acid, food allergies, diet, medication side effects, and stomach inflammation.
Complications with NSAIDs: Throughout your life, you have likely taken a large amount of NSAIDs, either over the counter or by prescription. These are commonly used because they have few side effects.
Unfortunately, over time, they can start to cause damage to your upper digestive tract. When you reach your fifties, you may start to feel the side effects of these medications, such as an increased risk of ulcers, increased stomach acid, bloating, and digestive problems.
Diverticular disease: Another concern that can affect women 50 and over is diverticular disease. This can occur when small external pockets push through the outer wall of the colon into the lining of the colon.
They are often found in the small intestine and can get worse with age. It can lead to problems in the bathroom, as well as increased gas and bloating.
Other serious causes behind bloating and gas in women 50 and over
There may be other causes of gas that are related to more pressing concerns, so you should always discuss problems with bloating and gas with your doctor if they occur suddenly, if they are extreme or very painful, if they cause weight loss, cause severe diarrhea or constipation, or leads to a disruption in your daily activities.
Some more serious concerns behind bloating include:
· Irritable bowel syndrome
· Gastroesophageal reflux disease
· Celiac Disease
· Colon cancer
How to reduce gas and bloating
The good news is that there are several ways to reduce gas discomfort and bloating, as well as how often it occurs.
Chew Right - The act of chewing actually triggers your stomach to start producing enzymes, so by the time you get the food in your stomach, the digestion process can begin.
Stay hydrated: water can help the digestive process run more smoothly and prevent you from eating to the point of discomfort.
Get regular exercise - Exercise can reduce stress and keep things moving throughout your digestive tract.
Watch what you eat - Many people think that a healthy diet will ensure proper digestion. Unfortunately, many healthy foods can cause a build-up of gas and bloating, such as beans, broccoli, and whole wheat bread.
You may also have identified other food triggers, such as dairy, refined sugar, or gluten. Know the foods that trigger bloating and gas and try to eliminate them as much as possible from your diet.
Drink some peppermint tea: Peppermint tea is an excellent home remedy that can reduce gas and stabilize your digestive system.
Avoid alcohol and tobacco - both can lead to bloating and other digestive problems.
What are some ways you can treat bloating and gas?
While lifestyle changes are the best way to keep bloating and gas at bay, if you're still having trouble and your doctor has ruled out any other major health concerns that may be causing it, there are over-the-counter medications that can help reduce symptoms.
Of course, before acquiring them you should ask your doctor if it could be a good option for you and your health. Some of the over-the-counter treatments you can try include:
Diuretics - Diuretics work by preventing your body from retaining excess water. You should check with your doctor before taking diuretics to make sure they are safe for you to use.
Hormonal birth control pills: Hormonal birth control pills can help reduce bloating and other symptoms of PMS if you are still having periods. They work by stabilizing the hormones in your body.
Hormone replacement therapy: Many women choose menopausal hormone therapy when they go through menopause to relieve symptoms and discomfort that accompany the change in hormones. This type of treatment works by regulating progesterone and estrogen levels to keep them balanced. If you are considering hormone therapy, you should discuss your options and possible side effects with your doctor.
Bloating and gas can be one of the most uncomfortable and embarrassing symptoms of menopause and aging. Fortunately, with a few lifestyle changes, you can control it and lessen the symptoms in many cases. If your bloating or gas becomes severe or recurring frequently, you should speak with your doctor to rule out other possible medical concerns or discuss medication options that can help improve your comfort.
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