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Return to Articles about Stress

Menopause and Gastrointestinal Distress

by: Cathy Taylor
Numerous women report that menopause comes along with gastrointestinal distress causing uncomfortable symptoms such as indigestion, flatulence and sudden bloating. Not only are these annoying and embarrassing, they can also be quite painful.
During menopause, gastrointestinal bloating is caused when air fills the abdomen, creating a full feeling. Even though your stomach remains the same size, your pants probably feel tighter and your waistline just seems to keep expanding. Excess intestinal gas is produced by bacteria in the intestines. Sugar located foods often contribute to the growth of this bacterium.
Poor digestion, a lack of lactose - an enzyme that breaks down food and liquids, can cause gastrointestinal distress as well. Gas distress can also be rampant during menopause due to lack of estrogen. Medical studies have suggested that a menopausal woman's diet can be to blame - particularly too many high sugar foods including fruit, and certain vegetables such as cauliflower, onion and broccoli that create even more bacteria in already inflamed intestines.
Of course your hormones might also be the trigger for bloating. For example, progesterone in the right doses has a calming effect, but in too high doses can cause bloating and breast tenderness. A form of estrogen called Estradiol, on the other hand, is sometimes prescribed as a relief for bloating.
People who eat too much protein at once can cause bloating because the stomach can't digest it all. Enzymes that help digestion such as Beano aid in the consumption of products such as soy that can have numerous positive effects for menopausal women.
Herbs can be used to restore balance in menopause. You need to be clear on what stage of menopause you are in. Different hormone levels vary significantly from peri-menopause to menopause and post-menopause, and of course your doctor needs to help you with these decisions.
For bloating as well as headaches and breast tenderness, an herbal tea that provides minerals in a dissolved form can help. Minerals help your body handle waste loads as well as provide a good source of calcium. You can use a combination of raspberry, dandelion, lemon balm, nettles, and green oat straw tea. Drink one cup of tea per day. Don quai can increase the effectiveness of estrogen released from fat tissue and help soothe menopausal discomfort as well.
The information in this article is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice.


About the author:
Cathy writes frequently on mid-life issues for women and men particularly menopause, and a copy of her book can be found at http://www.howtoconquermenopause.com
To read a sample of this book go to http://www.everythingmenopause.com/currentissue.htm


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