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6 Ways to Relieve Perimenopause Bloating, Say Experts

March 18, 2024

Perimenopause and menopause, once considered taboo, are now hot topics of discussion among women in their 40s and 50s. And no wonder: By 2025, the number of postmenopausal women in the world is expected to hit more than 1.1 billion. During perimenopause, the time during which the body makes the natural transition to menopause, women experience a number of symptoms, one of which – perimenopause bloating – is especially upsetting and uncomfortable. 

Luckily, there are steps you can take every day to relieve perimenopause bloating – and it’s a good thing, since this stage can last up to 8 years (even longer for some). We tapped experts to get their best tips.

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1. Up Your Protein

According to Melissa Groves Azzaro, RDN, LD, increasing protein consumption can help combat perimenopause bloating. Plus, “Eating protein can help protect against muscle loss, keep metabolism humming, increase satiety, and decrease cravings for sweets as we age,” she adds. 

Although the recommended minimum amount of protein is 0.8 g/kg of body weight, for healthy aging, research indicates that more is beneficial, in the range of 1.4 to 1.75 g/kg per day. So, for a 130-pound woman, that translates to between 83 and 103 grams per day. (For reference, 3 ounces of cooked ground beef has about 22 grams of protein; 1 cup of black beans has about 15 grams.) “Aim for a variety of plant and animal protein foods, like meat, fish, dairy, soy, legumes, and nuts,” Azzaro notes.

2.    Eat more fruits and vegetables

Potassium and salt imbalances can lead to fluid retention and bloating, Azzaro says. “Eating more fruits and vegetables, especially those high in potassium like avocados, sweet potatoes, and bananas, and decreasing consumption of high-sodium processed foods, can help the body flush excess fluids that can cause bloating,” she says. 

Some foods also have diuretic properties as well, meaning they help rid the body of excess water by causing you to pee more. Many vegetables and fruits fall into this category, including watermelon, cucumbers, lemon, celery, and asparagus.

3.    Keep your gut healthy

“The gut microbiome becomes less diverse as we age, which can lead to GI-related bloating,” says Azzaro, who recommends focusing on gut health by eating ample fiber, prebiotics, and probiotics. Women up to age 50 should aim for at least 25 grams of fiber a day, and women over 50 should aim for at least 21 grams. 

“I also recommend all of my clients include at least 1 to 2 servings a day of fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, and sourdough bread,” she adds.

 4.    Limit refined carbohydrates

Eating too many simple carbs, in foods such as candy, cookies, and chips, can lead to water retention and bloating, says Elizabeth Ward, MS, RDN, nutrition consultant and co-author of The Menopause Diet Plan, A Natural Guide to Hormones, Health, and Happiness. She recommends limiting these foods to once in a while, if at all.

5.    Lift weights

Physical activity promotes blood flow to the digestive tract, which can reduce and ease bloating,” Ward says. 

In particular, “Lifting weights, or resistance training, is a smart strategy to add as we age,” explains Azzaro. “Not only does it help protect against muscle and bone loss, it helps boost mood, raises metabolism, and can help decrease visceral fat.” 

6.   Work on managing stress

Azzaro explains that “perimenopause and menopause is a time of drastic hormone changes, with drops in progesterone, erratic estrogen levels, and dysregulated cortisol for many.” In other words, you may find your stress levels increasing during perimenopause. Stress can cause several gastro issues, including bloating – so it’s especially important at this stage of life to be purposeful in managing stress.

Try implementing simple but proven stress management techniques, such as deep breathing, gentle yoga, walking outside, and meditation. Even just a few minutes a day can help reduce stress, which may ease perimenopause bloating and other GI symptoms.

Read next: How I Lost 40 Pounds in My 50s and Reclaimed My Health

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