Have you seen the cartoon of a shark telling another shark, “I told you not to eat that blowfish.”
Two fish are in a fish bowl. One says to the other, “Is it just me or are we retaining water?” Or maybe you’ve seen the cartoon of a shark telling another shark, “I told you not to eat that blowfish.”
We’ve talked about three of the seven menopausal dwarfs: itchy, bitchy, and sweaty, and as you’ve probably guessed by now, it time to tackle bloaty. Yup, time to talk about that menopausal symptom that makes us look pregnant – except we’re getting too old for that.
Instead of patting our tummies, people now give us puzzled looks while they discreetly try to figure out our age and determine if pregnancy is even a remote possibility. Oh, don’t you just love the many humiliations of menopause!
Actually, I can’t blame menopause totally for my own constant, lifelong belly bloat. My colonoscopy revealed I have a redundant colon which basically means I have a couple of kinks in my intestines that make digestion difficult. So, I have a kinky colon on top of menopause, which is wonderful, but since this article can’t be all about me-me-me, I’ll quit whining and we’ll move on.
Bloaty is actually caused by water retention or gas — a buildup of air in the intestines and stomach — which can leave us asking why in the world we dared to eat bean dip and running to find the closest pair of sweatpants.
Being bloated isn’t even the worst part. Now we have insane gas that we can’t even blame on the dog. Our gas with newfound super human powers would make a trucker blush and we’ve gained the masculine skill of clearing a room with silent-but-deadly toots. And don’t ask how often it happens, although the word constantly springs to mind.
In addition to our newly acquired breaking the wind skills, we’re also blessed with the awesome ability to burp like a frat boy.
Oh come on, girls! Don’t try and deny it. If you’re bloated, that gas has to come out some way.
Not that flatulence and burping is a bad thing. In fact, it’s a normal, natural part of life. Men – who as I mentioned in my itchy article, are perfectly free to scratch whatever itches in public – also get to let ‘em rip and burp with no embarrassment whatsoever. In fact, burps and farts are offered up with a sense of pride, joy, and blissful relief.
We women, on the other hand, are expected to try and hold back what feels like the Hindenburg ready to explode. When we understandably and inevitably fail at the attempt, etiquette dictates that we shamefully leave the room turning five shades of red, hoping desperately and unrealistically that somehow, someway anyone who happened to be nearby didn’t hear the deafening detonation.
Life isn’t fair, but you already knew that.
So what can we do about bloaty and its accompanying gas? Here are a few tips:
- You know how I mentioned in my simply sweaty article, that you should stay away from your treasured wine and coffee because they can bring on hot flashes? Don’t shoot the messenger, but if you want to beat the bloat, also add carbonated beverages such as soda and that beloved beer to the list of no-nos. What’s left to drink? Water, which may seem counterintuitive – hey, remember me – already bloated, water-logged menopausal woman here – but experts say it’s the better option.
- More good news, ladies. Avoid large meals which will inevitably distend the stomach and make you feel even puffier. Instead spread small meals and snacks throughout the day.
- Okay, you’re not going to like this one either. Salty foods cause water retention and can make that bloat worse. At a time when you crave bad-for-you foods, you should avoid salty snacks like chips and pretzels as well as deli means, bacon, and hot dogs. Also be careful of those frozen diet dinners you may be eating trying to shed those extra pounds. Add soy sauce, canned soup, bottled salad dressing, pickles, and ketchup to the list. Better to eat a banana, some yogurt, or unsalted nuts.
- If you’re trying to battle the bulge that comes with menopause, this tip also seems counterproductive. Those high fiber foods that are supposed to be good for us like bran cereals, beans, lentils, and high-fiber bars as well as gas producing foods like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, beans and cabbage are harder for your body to break down and digest and can bring on the bloat. You may also want to avoid sugar-free candy gum, diet drinks, and other foods that contain sorbitol and maltitol which can exacerbate gas in sensitive people.
Okay, there you have it. I’m going to take my menopausal body with the kinky colon and have a nice glass of water and some unsalted nuts.
Or maybe a beer and some chips are worth that bloat…
Baby boomers who want to learn more about finding their bliss, can visit Julie’s blog at www.babyboomerbliss.net.