All women know what it is like to feel bloated. Almost as soon as you begin menstruating, your body begins to bloat slightly or retain water before and during each cycle. Usually it is felt in the stomach. When you're young, you may not notice it because it is just a slight bloat, and it tends to go away as soon as your cycle is over. Though some young girls do complain about very bad bloating.
When a woman gets older and enters the transition stage before menopause, she may notice that she is feeling bloated before, during, and after a menstrual cycle. This symptom, known as perimenopause bloating is one of the signs that a woman's body is starting to change and that hormone levels are dropping, specifically the hormone progesterone.
Perimenopause bloating is usually attributed to decreased levels of progesterone. As a result of the slight swell, women think they have gained weight, they think they look fat, and they feel heavier and “icky.” Usually, a woman will notice perimenopause bloating once it has reached the point that her clothes feel too tight, and even tighter as her cycle approaches. Many women, in fact mistake this bloating for weight gain when really it's just water retention.
Other times, women mistake their symptoms as perimenopause bloating when really they have a thyroid problem. If you notice that your bloating is very bad, have your thyroid tested and see a doctor. Also, some women report that perimenopause bloating is a side effect of some of the hormone replacement therapies they are taking for their other perimenopause symptoms. If this is the case and the bloating is making you feel uncomfortable, then ask your doctor for other treatment options.
So how can you identify perimenopause bloating? Simple, observe your body while you are not menstruating. Once your body begins bloating (or clothes are getting tighter), count how many days till you menstruate. Usually, perimenopause bloating signals the coming of a period, just like it did when you were younger. The difference is that in perimenopause, the bloating remains during and after the period has left. Sometimes this is due to the fact that period cycles can be very short (very few non-bleeding days.)
What can be done about perimenopause bloating?
Like most of the perimenopause symptoms, perimenopause bloating has no cure. It can only be managed. The first thing a woman should do is change her diet. If you have problems with bloating, stop drinking soda and eating sodium filled foods as these can contribute to the bloating. Also, switch to a low carb diet. This should be able to help you make sure you won't put on any extra weight. Some cases of perimenopause bloating are accompanied by weight gain, so you want to make sure you don't add to the problem by eating tons of carbohydrates.
Try drinking a lot of water everyday. This can help reduce the amounts retained by your body. Sometimes bodies store water because they aren't getting enough. Next, take an herbal diuretic during the time of you cycle, and for a few days after it has ended. This should help flush out the excess fluid. Some herbal remedies you can try include tincture of dandelion and peppermint tea.
Finally, be sure to get some exercise and work up a sweat. This can definitely help decrease the water retention. You can also try yoga poses that help relieve bloating. Many women claim to feel much better afterwards. Plus exercise pumps happy hormones through your body, something you need during perimenopause!
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