Symptom Series: Bloating

I talk a lot about the 34 symptoms of menopause, and I make no apology for that, because we all need to understand the many ways menopause can affect us – even the very embarrassing symptoms that can make a mockery of even the most dignified women. So I feel no shame in just saying it: I have been very windy of late! I apologise to anyone who has been in my vicinity lately because I suspect it may not have been the most pleasant experienceI would especially like to apologise to my trainer at the gym because he may now need counselling given what I unleashed during my last round of sit ups. 

It’s quite strange really and I don’t know if other women get this too, but my feeling of bloating and gas can vary from week to week. One week, my stomach is completely flat and the next I have a little paunch to rival most men’s beer bellies. I was a bit baffled at first to be honest because I don’t eat sugar and for all intents and purposes, I have a very clean diet. Over time, I’ve tried to identify what helps me and what makes it worse, and you can find everything in more detail in my book The New Hot with tons of expert  advice.

I hope I can help some of you by sharing these top tips: 

Drink digestive teas

Too much water and liquids won’t help a bloated stomach, but a good cup of tea can! Many herbal teas have digestive properties, which can help keep your body moving and your stomach feeling a lot better. Look out for teas named “Stomach Ease” or “Digestion”.

Exercise

Slow movements and poses that stretch out your stomach are great for bloated bellies. In just 10 minutes, you can feel a lot lighter and leaner – perfect if you’re in the need for a quick fix. Just be sure to avoid poses like Downward Dog, which put a downward pressure on your stomach and can make you blow off like a rocket at Cape Canaveral. Trust me, I KNOW. (Bear in mind though that if trapped wind is causing discomfort, done in private, this exercise can provide some relief) 

Eat your fibre, carefully

A regular amount of fibre, found in fruits such as forest berries, plums, and apricots, and foods such as whole wheat, beans, and lentils, can help regulate your digestion. The better your digestive system works, the less bloated you’ll feel! That said… if you’re used to a low-fibre diet, take it slow. Increasing your fibre intake too quickly will make you more bloated because your stomach doesn’t have enough bacteria to deal with it. So start off slowly, and gradually increase the amount you eat  

Check your supplements

Supplements are GREAT if you’re missing some major nutrients, but a lot of them contain additives and fillers – such as lactose, wheat, and sugar alcohols (xylitol or mannitol) – which our systems are very slow to digest, causing bloating. Make sure that you check the ingredients in your supplements! 

Eat potassium rich foods 

When our potassium levels are low, our bodies retain extra sodium and water, causing us to bloat. So, a potassium-rich diet will help get rid of that extra sodium and water. That means bananas, sweet potato, and avocado are on the menu.  

Support your digestive system with probiotics 

Probiotics help the healthy bacteria in your gut stay at a good level and help digest your foodA specific bacteria called bifido bacteria can help reduce bloating. This bacteria can be found in Activia and Fage yoghurt (but you can also take a probiotic supplement if you’re lactose intolerant). Otherwise you can take supplements to improve your overall gut health such as Symprove or Revive from Microbz.