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Thu 8 Mar 2007 - 12:25 am UTC
I seem to always have a distended/bloated stomach. I'm not very overweight
(maybe 5 lbs); don't have fat rolls on the sides or front of my stomach.
But all the time, and worse after I eat even if it's just a little, my
stomach sticks out like I'm pregnant. It's easy to suck in if I'm going out
or wearing a dress or something but I'm getting sick of it. It's been that
way for as long as I can remember- couple of years maybe. I don't suffer
from gas or indigestion as far as I know, and I don't drink milk even
though I'm not lactose intolerant. I don't even know if it's actually my
stomach or my intestines... or- ?? What could this be and what can I do
Thu 8 Mar 2007 - 10:28 pm UTC
I've listed the most frequent triggers and causes of bloating, including food allergies, parasites, and digestive problems, as well as some suggestions on how to reduce bloating.
If none of these suggestions work, I strongly advise you to consult your doctor who may want to test you for serious medical problems that could be responsible for the bloating.
"* Eating too fast
* Air swallowing (a nervous habit)
Other possibilities noted at this site: too much fiber in your diet; over-production of acid, which "can break down the protective lining of the stomach"; "A bloated stomach can also be the result of an infection, caused by an organism called Helicobacter Pylori, which is sometimes found buried deep in the stomach. Such an infection needs medical attention and appropriate antibiotic treatment."
For more about Helicobacter Pylor, visit the "Helicobacter Pylor Foundation":
See their page on "Symptoms" which include swollen stomach:
From Weight Loss Resources (WLR):
"Bloating Causes and Cures," By WLR Dietitian Juliette Kellow BSc RD
Also cites too much fiber as a possible cause in bloating, and lists the foods that are the likeliest offenders, including carbonated drinks.
"It’s also worthwhile avoiding too many ‘diet,’‘sugar-free’ or ‘low-carb’ products that contain sorbitol, mannitol or maltitol."
"Simple things such as talking while eating, using a straw or sports bottle, chewing gum, eating when you're on the move, drinking from a water fountain and eating when you're upset are all common culprits so try and eliminate as many of these things as possible".
From "The Endurance Coach": Hyponatraemia may be the cause of your bloated stomach.
Scroll down to the subheader "What is Hyponatraemia?"
" . . .Salt is responsible for moving fluid across cell walls within the body. It attracts water towards it and this allows the flow of water to occur naturally between tissues.
"When you drink water, it enters your stomach and waits to be drawn across the stomach lining into the blood stream. The salt in your blood stream is responsible for this 'drawing' of water from the stomach. If your salt levels are low in the blood stream, this mechanism may not work and the water will stay in your stomach. Bloated stomach is one of the key signs of hyponatraemia."
For more, see the article "Hyponatraemia," by Mark Jennings in "Cool Running":
Bloating Accompanied by Pain:
You didn't mention pain, but in case you are experiencing discomfort with the bloating, see:
"Persistent bloating with pain could indicate a number of digestive diseases. These include obstructions in the bowel or kidney, diverticulitis, appendicitis, gallstones, ulcers or a tumor."
Celiac or Cystitis/"IC Belly"
Celiac disease, which is gluten intolerance. Symptoms include bloated stomach:
"Interstitial Cystitis Advice"
Under "Interstitial Cystitis symptoms" scroll down to "Bloated stomach, tender tummy? It could be IC belly," which is a hyperlink in blue font. Click that link to read the article"IC Belly" by Jessica Cangiano:
"Perhaps the best explanation for why IC belly occurs that I have encountered comes from Dr. Theoharides, a well-known and widely respected expert in the IC field. Essentially the good doctor surmises that IC belly results from an inflammation process.
"As inflammation occurs in the body, something called vascular permeability happens. Vascular permeability means that blood vessels dilate (widen/stretch) and begin to ooze or leak fluid, having no place to escape to this fluid seeps into the surrounding tissue areas."
One of the most common causes of bloated stomach is Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), yet you didn't mention problems with constipation or diarrhea, leaving me to think IBS is unlikely in your case.
Here's a roundup of IBS symptoms from Medline Plus:
From MedicineNet":"Irritable Bowel Syndrome or Something Else? - Take the quiz":
SUGGESTIONS FOR ALLEVIATING BLOATED STOMACH
See "There is only one way to identify food intolerance and that's by the process of elimination… one food at a time" and "What Foods Are the Worst Offenders?"
"Experience tells us that beans (all types), milk, and milk products may be the worst offenders in causing gas. Other troublesome foods include onions, celery, carrots, raisins, apricots, prune juice, wheat products, and brussel sprouts."
"Other hard-to-digest foods--such as beans, nuts, seeds, fruits, brussels sprouts, oats, barley, honey and yeast--can also cause gas and an inflated stomach".
You seem to have ruled out lactose intolerance, but even though you don't knowingly consume dairy products, be sure to read labels to ensure there aren't any dairy products in the foods you're consuming. Try eliminating the foods I've listed in the two previous citations --one by one -- to see if you can identify a specific food that causes your bloat to increase.
Scroll down the page at MotherNature.com:
to "Symptom Relief." Suggestions include talking a walk after eating, and avoiding caffeine and chocolate. Also avoid foods that are either very cold or very hot.
You may want to try an OTC like Gas-X, to see if that helps reduce swelling -- go easy until you see how such a medicine affects you. You may also want to follow the suggestion to keep a food and bloating diary, so that you and your doctor can see if bloating increases when you've eaten certain foods, and/or during PMS or your period.
"Interstitial Cystitis Advice"
Recommends that you wear loose-fitting pants and/or skirts, so that you don't put too much pressure on your waist. (I have g.i. tract problems, myself, and don't wear any slacks or skirts that have zippers; even the pressure from a zipper is painful to me.) This site also suggests you eat 5 small meals a day.
The "Interstitial Cystitis Association" lists helpful medications for this condition:
You didn't mention whether you exercise regularly. Any fitness expert will tell you that spot-reducing (as opposed to toning) is nearly impossible.
You may want to start a regular exercise routine (whether it's joining a gym, walking, or doing aerobics) at least 3 or 4 days a week; possibly adding strength training to your routine, including ab exercises, one to 3 times a week. A solid, all-around fitness routine *may* help reduce your tummy bloat, but exercise alone likely won't resolve your problem.
At "Steady Health.com," see suggestions for exercises to reduce bloated stomach at this discussion group:
Again, if exercise is going to have any effect, it will take more than just abdominal exercises; you need to burn fat via aerobic activity, but I remain doubtful that exercise will completely, or even significantly, resolve your bloating problem.
You may find it helpful to join this Biology-Online.org discussion group for people who suffer from bloated stomach:
You'll see that thyroid problems and the fairly rare Cushing's disease (your stomach swells, but the rest of your body doesn't swell or gain weight), are possible causes.
See this page on Cushing's from the National Institutes on Health:
So, you may first want to try eliminating certain foods from your diet, as suggested at Oleda. See if you can isolate one food or food group that seems to cause bloating.
Also be aware of how quickly you eat; if you're the first person at the table to finish your meal, you need to slow down. Instead of 3 meals a day, eat 5 or 6 very small meals during the day (eat them slowly), and try not to eat for the last 2 or 3 hours before your bedtime.
Do you smoke, chew gum, or tend to use a straw? If so, you're swallowing lots of air, which contributes to bloating. Don't wear clothing that binds you around the waist.
If none of those suggested steps help you isolate the problem, you really should see your doctor to be tested for parasites, celiac or cystitis, possible problems with your g.i. tract, thyroid problems, and Cushing's. Be sure to describe any other symptoms you're having, even if you don't think they're connected to your stomach problems.
As long as you're at your physician's office, you may also want to discuss starting up a regular exercise regimen or review your current fitness program. Your doctor is likely to be very encouraging, but may want to set some guidelines for you, especially if your doctor concludes you require medical testing to determine the cause of your bloated stomach.
Causes bloated stomach
exercise +bloated stomach
reduce OR flatten bloated stomach
bloated stomach +cystitis
I hope my research is of help to you.
Fri 9 Mar 2007 - 12:28 am UTC
One more possibility is a fibroid (non-cancerous) tumor on or around the uterus.
See this article "Treatment Options for Fibroids," at Health Square:
Scoll way down the page to the subheader "The Classic Symptoms."
"Though most fibroids do not produce any symptoms, when they do cause problems — as happens in about 25 percent of those with fibroids —women are most likely to complain of (1) excessive bleeding, (2) pain, and (3) a swollen abdomen. (Actually the stomach isn't any bigger—the problem is the uterus, which stretches as the fibroids grow, pushing the intestines upward.)"
A friend of mine was recently diagnosed with a fibroid tumor on her uterus. Her only symptoms were excessive flow during her periods, and her stomach became increasingly bloated, despite the fact she wasn't gaining weight on any other part of her body.
Hope this additional information helps,
Sun 11 Mar 2007 - 1:10 am UTC
I'm glad you found my suggestions helpful,but I strongly advise you to consult with your gp about your bloated stomach.
As I noted in my Answer, there are some serious medical conditions that can cause bloating, so you really should be examined by your doctor.
Your gp may well refer you to a gynecologist and/or an endocrinologist, or other specialist, for further examination and testing.
The problem may be an allergy or intolerance to a certain food, but you may have a medical condition that requires treatment and supervision.
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