Women experience bloating for a variety of reasons, most of which should not raise an alarm. Occasionally, however, the root could be much more serious. While it is common knowledge that the level of bloating can vary, severe bloating in women is an unfortunate symptom of many physical processes.
Severe bloating is a common occurrence during pregnancy that can manifest itself weeks before the woman is visibly pregnant. In her early stages, a pregnancy hormone called progesterone is produced. This chemical makes the smooth muscle tissues more relaxed, which includes the digestive system. As a result, digestion slows down and causes gas, bloating and potentially nausea. Bloating is worsened later on in the pregnancy, because the baby pushes on the stomach and abdomen, increasing the sensation of bloating.
In pre-menopausal women, bloating can be a classic side effect of menstruation. Since menstruation increases hormonal activity, this causes gas and stool to pass more slowly. The end result is constipation and bloating. Post-menopausal women are affected as well. Some women undergo hormone replacement therapy, a treatment that is known to cause bloating.
Severe or persistent bloating can be the result of serious medical conditions in women. For example, ovarian cysts or a uterine fibroid can be the root cause. A uterine fibroid is a tumor in the muscle of the uterus. Although uncomfortable, it is usually benign and requires no treatment. Irritable Bowel Syndrome is another cause of severe bloating, among other things. Although IBS affects both sexes, it is more common in women. Women's Health Zone reports that as many as 75 percent of IBS patients are female.
Precautions and Treatments
Severe bloating is extremely uncomfortable. However, there are simple ways women can reduce the severity of this symptom. Liquids such as ginger tea and peppermint tea are effective. A teaspoon of boiled water mixed with ground cinnamon is also a known cure. Exercise has been known to relieve bloating. Simply lie on your back and bring one knee up to your chest for 20 seconds, leaving the other leg flat on the floor. Repeat with the next one. Additionally, do not skip meals, drink carbonated beverages or eat too many dairy products. Chew your food well and never chew with your mouth open. Stay away from seedless vegetables such as beans, corn, cabbage, onions and broccoli.