One of the issues around menopause can be bloating, and for this reason many women do cut down on their fluid intake, but this is a mistake. Bloating is related to hormone balance and progesterone which acts as a natural diuretic is very helpful but that feeling of fullness and swelling, is uncomfortable and can be distressing.
While it might seem contradictory, you can usually fix fluid retention in your body by increasing your fluid intake, including drinking more water. As you drink more water, progesterone helps your body releases fluids, potentially leading to less bloating.
What is water retention?
Water retention occurs when your body holds onto fluids in your soft tissue, joints and body cavities. This leads to a swelling or bloated sensation in parts of your body, most commonly in the extremities, such as your fingers, face, feet, ankles and legs.
Mild water retention can be caused by fluctuating hormone levels, hot or humid weather, sunburns and standing for long periods of time. In these cases, drinking more fluids — such as water — can remedy or reduce bloat.
Symptoms of dehydration
You may have some, or all of these, and just put them down to menopause or just not feeling good. However they are all signs of dehydration so make sure you don’t confuse them with other menopause symptoms by checking your liquid intake.
– Tired or sleepy
– Decreased urine outputted and darker than normal
– Dry skin
So how much do you need?
To treat mild fluid retention, drinking a minimum of six to eight 8-ounce glasses of fluids per day is about right, around a large cupful. You should drink more if you’re exposed to hot weather or have been participating in sports or exercise.
As the fluids rehydrate your body, your body learns it is no longer at risk of dehydration, so it will release the retained fluids, leading to reduced swelling. Definitely water is the best for this but if you struggle to drink plain water then add some lemon juice, or drink 25% juice and the rest water.
Why water is essential
Water is essential for the proper functioning of our organs, muscles, and joints. It also helps your immune system fight off germs, cools you down when you’re hot and keeps your skin moist and dewier looking.
Drinking water can help you lose weight and lower your chances of kidney stones, too. If it’s not part of your daily routine, you can do a few things to change that.
Still not drinking enough?
1 Food is also a great source and most people get about 20% of the water they need each day from it and it gets into your system more slowly that way and can come along with nutrients you need.
Foods that have a lot of water include watermelon, cucumbers, courgettes and tomatoes.
2 Soup It’s mostly water and you can make broth from fish, chicken, beef bones, or vegetables. Add beans, greens, meats, grains, or vegetables.
If you’re under the weather, try some homemade chicken soup: You’ll get more H2O, and you might even shake your cold faster.
3 Lemon Just a little squeeze of lemon can make plain old water a bit more interesting, and it’s good for you, too. Lemons have antioxidants and potassium to help keep your cells healthy, and citric acid to help with digestion and prevent kidney stones.
4 Sparkling water If you’re looking for something with a little more zip, sparkling or fizzy water may do the trick. The bubbles can give your beverage a splash without adding sugar and other things that aren’t good for you, but they an also make you blow up so keep to a minimum and choose a water with a mild bubble to minimise the impact.
5 Salt can help if your normal snack is sweet. If you go for a small amount of lightly salted nuts or popcorn that might you reach for a glass of water. They contain both protein and fibre but keep it to a small handful, they are also high in calories.
6 Tea and coffee do contain caffeine, but they’re also full of water. Stick to two cups a day of regular tea or coffee or unlimited herbal teas.
Green tea is especially beneficial for your health generally an in summer can be iced with lemon and a dash of elderflower or other cordial to make a refreshing drink.
7 Carry water with you may seem obvious but it can really make a difference. If you have some nearby, you’re more likely to drink it, especially if you’re out and about.
If you like your water cold, then get a small stainless thermos type bottle and add some ice and keep it with you all day.
8 Habit is a powerful thing so make it part of your routine to have a tall glass of water before you sit down for a meal. It’s good for your body, and you’re likely to eat less, too.
In one study, people on a diet ate about 85 fewer calories per meal if they drank 16 ounces about a half-hour before each mealtime. Over 12 weeks, they lost 5 pounds — about 50% more than those who didn’t drink up before sitting down.
9 Drink when thirsty may seem obvious again but that’s your body’s way of letting you know you need more water. How much you need is different for everyone, depending on your health, how dry the air is where you live, and your daily activities.
But also pay attention when you go to the bathroom because the colour of your urine is a very good indicator of whether you are drinking enough. If it is dark yellow, your body might be holding onto water, and that can be a sign that you need to be drinking more.
>If you are very prone to bloating then check your hormone balance as you may be low in progesterone and dealing with symptoms of oestrogen dominance. Because it acts as a natural diuretic it helps reduce bloating and, as we have seen here, you need to be drinking plenty of water to help your body rid itself of the excess.