We've covered THREE parts already about what causes Bloating and NOW we're ready to discover how YOU can determine the CAUSE of YOUR bloating!
If you haven't read parts ONE-THREE, make sure you do that because this post will make a lot more sense, and THIS is a really important post for you to RID yourself of this nasty, annoying feeling!
So here is a little help to figure out the MAIN cause/causes of your bloating - whether it is something you MUST seek medical help for (even if it requires you pursue a second or third medical opinion) and/or whether it appears to be a hormone imbalance, and/or whether it appears to be something YOU might be causing yourself.
First I bet you won't be surprised to hear that as a midlife woman, Bloating is often MORE than one thing. RARELY is it ONLY a medical condition, or ONLY a lack of hormones, or ONLY something you are doing.
Usually it is a combination of at least 2 of the general categories discussed in this 4 part series that cause Bloating.
How do you know then if you have a MEDICAL problem, a HORMONE problem or a personal LIFESTYLE problem?
Let's start with Medical Problems first:
1. If Bloating is a medical issue that needs attention by a medical doctor there are some important signs and symptoms that you may be having. If you have any of these signs or symptoms, you need to be thinking that there is a MEDICAL condition that could be causing your bloating. So it's not the time to be trying different diets and even counting on Bioidentical hormones to fix the problem. You first need to have your share your concerns with a doctor. The symptoms are:
b. Nausea and/or Vomiting lasting longer than a week
c. Weight LOSS
d. Swelling in legs or abdomen
e. A CHANGE in Bowel Habits. For instance... from normal stools to constipation or normal stools to loose stools.
f. Ongoing Constipation or Diarrhea even after eating well and consuming enough water
g. Heartburn, Indigestion or excessive belching
h. Any INCREASE in symptoms
i. Abnormal Blood work (if you have your blood work done on your own and not ordered by a doctor)
j. Have a family history of any GI cancer such as bowel, stomach, gallbladder, liver or pancreatic cancer.
k. Have not had a colonoscopy before - DON'T Sweat them! They're easy!
If you have any of these symptoms or situations going on... talk with your doctor first and foremost.
2. Now how about Bloating that is strictly a HORMONE issue? When can you bank on thinking your symptoms are simply a Hormonal Issue? Here are the main things you will notice in this situation:
You will have OTHER hormone imbalance symptoms at the SAME time as dealing with bloating. You won't just have bloating ALONE as a hormone symptom. Here are some of the symptoms you may experience along with bloating that often point to a hormonal imbalance:
c. hot flashes
d. night sweats
e. hair loss
g. irritability, anxiety or depression
h. muscle aches and joint stiffness
i. dry skin, hair and/or vagina
AND, You will not have any of the symptoms associated with a MEDICAL condition causing bloating. (In other words, you won't have weight LOSS, Abdominal pain, heartburn, a change in Bowel habits for example). This is important to realize because if you DO have symptoms in both categories... you STILL need to seek medical help, even if you also note that you obviously have a hormone imbalance. (This is a situation where you have BOTH causes)
Also, if your bloating is strictly caused by hormonal changes, Your symptoms will improve significantly once you restore your hormones to more youthful levels. It's pretty much as simple as that.
So if your bloating is combined with other symptoms of hormone imbalance... look at balancing your hormones first. This is the easiest of ALL the causes to fix! And it is VERY, VERY common.
It is so easy to TEST first and then follow up the testing with simple hormone creams that are right for your particular hormone levels.
Usually it is either just Progesterone alone if you are still having nice regular periods, BiEST with Estriol and Estradiol and Progesterone if you are around menopause (and up to a decade after menopause), followed by just an Estriol with Progesterone after that.
3. Now how about all the things that YOU might be doing that is causing bloating. Remember Part 3 - the list of 15 things YOU could be doing?
Well... before we touch on this... let me give you a whopping SECRET that nobody talks about!
Did YOU KNOW that if your bloating is ONLY when you are standing erect... and completely resolves when you lie on your back... your bloating is NOT REAL bloating! It is simply WEAK ABDOMINAL muscles.
If your abdominal muscles are weak (especially if you have carried several babies in your younger years) your belly will poke out with just the smallest amount of gas or backed up stool - and this will make you feel fat and bloated.
So Keep this is mind! Next time you feel bloated... lie down on the bed and see if your belly relaxes completely and you no longer feel bloated... or if you actually still have a bloated belly sticking out into the air even when you are on your back! This will give you a big Ah Ha right away.
Now... what ABOUT that list of 15 different things (and there are probably a few more) that YOU could be doing that causes bloating?
Figuring this out is straight forward. If you don't have any of the concerning symptoms under the potential MEDICAL Condition causes... AND you've already balanced your hormones... then you need to go down that list of 15 things one by one.
It's LIKELY you ARE involved in your own suffering. We ALL tend to fall into these traps now and then, and MANY women do one (or more) of these 15 things every single day.
If you'd like some help in how to view and MASTER these 15 things - please ask.
Maybe I should add a Part 5 to this series and include the 10 highly irritable foods that cause bloating - and share more information on how to overcome your own mistakes - STEP by STEP.
I'll call Part FIVE:
HOW TO STOP SABOTAGING YOUR GUT (and get that cute little belly back!).
Would that be helpful?
Thank you for reading and sharing this 4 part series on Bloating! Should I write a Part FIVE for you?
Bloating Woes: 4 Part Series
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