5 reasons why you may have a bloated stomach in menopause.Feb 08, 2023
I'm not sure I like the term 'Menopause Belly'.
It feels such a derogatory thing to say about ourself, and yet it's the term many women use to describe their tummy since they hit menopause.
But what if I told you that there may be some simple reasons why you might get a bloated stomach in menopause? And even better
If you are frustrated by the fact that your tummy isn't what it used to be, that by the end of the day your waistbands feel tight and that your clothes don't hang like they used to.....read on!
Rather than berate yourself know that this happens to most of us - yep, me too!
Whilst there is no doubt that stuffing ourselves with too many cheese biscuits on the sofa every evening or buying convenience foods because there is never enough time to cook from scratch, will exacerbate this issue, there are other things which are highly likely to be contributing to your tummy.
So in this blog I'm going to share 5 things you can change TODAY which, over time, will help you feel more confident and comfortable with your gorgeous midlife body!
And before I start - trust me on these, even if they seem somewhat whacky, I promise there is science behind each one if, like me, you are a nerd who needs proof!
The decline in Oestrogen causes changes to your gut and how easily ( or not) it can digest your food. Rather than being efficient, now it takes some time to process your food and as a result your tummy often looks bigger at the end of the day.
How to stop menopausal bloating
Try drinking peppermint tea or ginger tea to alleviate this. In the summer months I grow mint in a pot outside and use 1-2 leave in boiling water, and 3 thin slices of fresh ginger in boiling water makes a warming drink too. Both are much cheaper that using expensive tea bags!
Of course I'm going to say that walking and other exercise will also help keep things moving too.
As before, the decline in Oestrogen often causes the bowel to be a bit sluggish resulting in a harder, drier stool. This can lead to a feeling of fullness in the tummy if it goes on for too long.
Menopause Constipation relief
Make sure you are drinking 2L of water each day, cold, warm or hot, and this will keep things moving. Add some flax seeds to your breakfast, if you have them whole they are high fibre, if you grind them up they are a great phyto-oestrogen so it's a win win!
And you guessed it - walking in particular, will ease up constipation too!
Lack of sleep in menopause!
Yep, you read that correctly! There are many reasons why women in midlife don't sleep - stress, night sweats, snoring bed partners, needing to pee, I could go on and on. But the result of this lack of sleep means your hunger hormones are all out of whack and as a result you don't make the best choices.
How to sleep better in menopause
Solution - make bedtime a priority. Switch off screens, turn down the lights and head for bed by 10pm with the aim of reading a book to send you off to sleep. But if you'd like to know more head to this sleep blog I wrote.
The WRONG type of Oestrogen produced from fat cells
Bear with me on this because not many people talk about it. When your ovaries are no longer able to produce Oestrogen your body goes into 'panic' mode and tries to find other ways it can produce it. One way to do this is by laying down fat on your tummy and midsection, this is because these fat cells can produce an alternative type of oestrogen. The problem is that this type doesn't protect us in the same way as the type we produce in our ovaries so we don't want to let it go unchecked for too long.
And the solution to this problem?
Oh dear, you are seeing a familiar pattern here. Daily walking and several 'menopause appropriate' workouts each week will help to burn off that extra fat, as will keeping an eye on portion sizes and eating a diet high in plants.
Menopause Stress and Anxiety
And who doesn't have this?!
The link between stress and weight gain is well documented, but it's rare that I come across a client who has really addressed this and is now stress free. It often takes someone else to help you change your lifestyle routines to get on top of it.
This stress isn't always the huge things, it's the day to day niggles that mean your brain is constantly on red alert.
When we are stressed we produce high amounts of cortisol, the stress hormone. The result of this is that we don't digest our food well ( think churning tummy or frequent trips to the toilet) and this can lead to a fuller tummy than we'd like.
How to reduce cortisol in menopause
Even though I'm constantly advocating the importance of exercise and movement in menopause, it is important to get the right balance of this. Excessive exercise can in fact, that can make it worse. Adding in restorative exercise such as yoga, walking, fitball and gentle swimming are all good options.
Breathing exercises can play a big part in bringing cortisol levels down, try breathing in for a count of 6, hold for 3 and out for 7. Do this three or four times and see how you feel.
But really it's more important to see what you can take off your 'stress list', I suggest one thing each month over a period of 6 months to my clients - what would you start with?
Menopause and HRT
I haven't mentioned HRT as a solution, not everyone can or wants to take it and my speciality is in helping you find lifestyle solutions FIRST - they work alone or alongside HRT. Of course I'm always happy to talk about it and I work with other professionals who can prescribe it via private clinics.
If you'd like to explore this subject in more detail then sign up for my next FREE online masterclass on October 2nd at 7.30 pm. To bag your spot just click HERE
I hope you found this useful - if you'd like to chat to me about anything midlife you are welcome to book a 1.2.1 with me, just click the link below.