Enter your email to get updates, tips and exercises to help you experience healing and transformation.

Perimenopause Bloating: Causes and Digestive Aids

Perimenopause bloating is quite common.  It was one of my first symptoms of perimenopause. Fortunately there are many natural digestive aids, from digestive enzymes to probiotics and an herbal extracts for digestion.  One of the things that happens during perimenopause is hormone fluctuation.  Your estrogen rises, and your progesterone falls.  It isn't until the year or so before menopause that estrogen levels begin to fall.

Some common causes of perimenopause bloating include: years of abuse of your digestive system, your thyroid slowing down as you age, and high estrogen levels as you go through perimenopause. Food sensitivities may surface now.  I used to be able to eat anything, but once I hit perimenopause, I couldn't tolerate pasta or bread anymore.  I used to drink raw milk, but I can't do that anymore either.

In my herbal medicine studies I met some other practitioners of alternative systems.  One was a doctor of Chinese Medicine (also known as TCM), and another was trained in Ayurveda.  Both of them had learned to prepare food so that it was easy on the digestion.  That is, the food was often pre-digested through the cooking or preparation process, thereby reducing the digestive enzymes needed to break it down and get the nutrients from it.  This process is known as fermentation.

I remember reading somewhere that you have a certain amount of enzymes when you're born, and when you run out, that's it.  One of the biggest users of energy in daily life is your digestive system. This is why people throughout the world for thousands of years prepared their food to make it easy to digest.  It was only when food became available through commercial enterprise that these processes were slowly done away with.  

Natural digestive aids include herbs that will get your digestive juices flowing, fermented foods, probiotics and prebioitcs, and a digestive enzymes supplement. None of these will work if you have new food sensitivities.  The only fix for that is to stop eating the food causing the problem and find out if you need to heal your gut.

An Herbal Digestion Supplement May Be Just What You Need

Bitters- Gentian, swertia, and Swedish Bitters are some herbal bitters.  The use of bitters goes back a long time.  If you take one of these herbs about 20 minutes before a meal, it will help stimulate digestion.  

Stomach Aids include ginger and chamomile. Both of these herbs can settle your stomach.  To find out about bitters and other digestive herbs, see menopause and digestion.

Stress Relief- Stress is extremely hard on your digestive system, especially when you eat during a time when you are acutely stressed.  Blue vervain, kava kava, motherwort, hops, scullcap, valerian, and oatstraw are herbs that can help with stress.  For more about these herbs, see herbs for stress.

Hormone balancing herbs include vitex and wild yam.

Bioidentical progesterone will also help balance estrogen excess, if you have it.

Fermented Foods

These are the kinds of foods people used to prepare and eat:  kimchi, kefir, cultured milk products, pickled vegetables.  I highly recommend you make these foods yourself.  You may be able to find them in stores, but the quality and taste will be much better made at home.  But I realize that is not always possible, so here are some high quality choices, along with a recipe book and some supplies if you do want to make your own.

A Digestive Enzymes Supplement, Probiotics

There are different enzymes to digest proteins, fats and carbohydrates.  Enzymes help you digest your food, and probiotics help balance the bacteria in your gut.  Here are two excellent products.

We have talked about herbs, vitamins and foods to help with digestion and hormone imbalance. There are also other reasons for perimenopause bloating:  one is low thyroid and the other is food sensitivities.  For thyroid information, see thyroid and menopause.

Food sensitivities can develop as we age, especially since we do not take care of our digestive health. I started becoming sensitive to wheat.  If you are sensitive to this or other foods, bloating will almost certainly be one of the symptoms.  I would suggest cutting out any foods you may feel are causing problems for you for at least ten days, and see how you feel.  If you are paying attention to your body, you will know which foods could be a problem.

So there you have it: several natural remedies to help with perimenopause bloating.  Try them out and see how well they work!  Of course, the more you take care of your digestion, the better you will feel.

> > Perimenopause Bloating