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Chronic and Constant Distention, Beyond Bloating!
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Chronic and Constant Distention, Beyond Bloating!

Thank you in advance for your help on this.  I hope that you have some insight.  About 9 months ago, my stomach changed.  I remember that my abdomen got very hard, and stayed this way for about one week. Then my stomach became bloated, and has remained this way every second of every day for the past nine months.  I have no stomach pain.  HOWEVER I do have a dull constant ache/pressure on my mid-right side, to the right of my navel just where my ribs end.  This diffuse pain is also felt in my back in the same place as the front side but in my back.   The distention reaches the point of 6-7 months pregnant.  It never ceases - it is there when I wake up but typically gets worse throughout the day.  The distention can get very bad then minimize without passing any gas.  I have noticed that I strain in bowel movements more often than I used to, but I still have a BM daily.  They are sometimes hard, sometimes not, but this has no effect on the distention.  I even did a colonscopy prep once and had nothing in me and was still distended.  I have a constant feeling of pressure in my entire mid/lower abdomen and in my back.  I think the bloating is in my intestines because it is so prominent under my navel, you could almost set a glass on where it starts.  I have tried to eliminate foods to pinpoint an allergy, to no avail.  Here is a list of tests that Ive had done:

1. Colonoscopy - normal. It took a long time for the prep to go through my system, I think 6 hrs before any BM
2. Ultrasound, Abdominal and Pelvic and Gall Bladder - Normal
3. CAT Scan Abdomen - normal
4. Basic Digestive Blood Workup- Normal
5. Sprue Test - Normal
6. Fluoroscopy, Upper GI Followthrough - "somewhat lenghty transit time, otherwise normal"
7.  Gastric Emptying Test - 90 minutes - normal?

My GI physician suspected slowed motility and put me on Reglan.  I had adverse reactions to this, and it seemed to help a little but not much.  I am now on erythomiacin with may or may not help. Bloating may be less, but still there all the time.  Conversations with my GI physician have led us suspect to a virus that caused the slowed motility.  However, I have these questions:

1.  What IS the dull right sided pain? I can "pop" something in and out all the time right where ribs end which makes bloating worse. Is this from the bloating?

2.  Bloating and pain get worse with activity,especially climbing stairs and hiking. Right side seems to bloat very slightly more than left.  
Could this bloating be structural and not digestive, in spite of normal tests?

3. Could this be IBS if I do not have any stomach pain or diarrhea? I took Zelnorm and the distention got so bad I thought I would split open.

4. If bloating is not fixed with Reglan and erythomiacin, is this not a motility problem?

I have made an appt (AGAIN) with a GI doc next week, and would appreciate input on what to ask for, look for, etc. Thank you SO MUCH for your thought and input.

Sincerely, Christine
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To answer your questions:
1) Bloating can cause the right-sided pain.  Typically we think about the liver or gallbladder on that side.  Irritable bowel syndrome as well.

2) With more normal tests, it is certainly possible that an anatomical reason can lead to the bloating.  

3) Although possible, IBS often leads to changes in bowel habits.  I would ensure there isn't any other issue going on before attributing it to IBS.

4) Reglan and e-mycin are typically used to treat gastroparesis.  Other, more invasive options, would include gastric pacing or surgery.

Other tests to consider would be an upper endoscopy (I did not see it mentioned) as well as esophageal motility/24-hr pH study.  The latter test is more specialized and can be discussed with your gastroenterologist.  

Followup with your personal physician is essential.

This answer is not intended as and does not substitute for medical advice - the information presented is for patient education only. Please see your personal physician for further evaluation of your individual case.

Kevin, M.D.
Medical Weblog:
kevinmd_b
15 Comments
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did they check you for severe fungal infection??
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Thanks for the input!  No, they did not test for that...what does that involve?
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are you sure you are not pregnant??
have you been on antibiotics??
have you been overseas??
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You may want to increase your fiber intake - at first, it may feel like you are bloating, but then it gets better.  20 minutes or so after meals, take some probiotics to help your digestive enzymes. You may want to take Gas-X as well.  Drink ALOT of water during this. Good luck!
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Thanks, Biskie2 and yoshi.  I am not pregnant, I DID got to Hawaii the week that this started, but my stomach got hard about 3 days before I went, I think.  Though that is something to think about.  I have not been on antibiotics, I did try Flagyl but quit after a week because it did not help at all.  Biskie2 -I try to eat ALOT of fiber, thinking the same thing.  BUT the bloating continues so now I am thinking of cutting fiber out to see if that helps lessen the bloating.  I have always eaten whole grains, lots of fruits and veggies, etc.  This week, I have cut out most fruits, raw veggies and some veggies altogether, and no bread - just brown rice.  We shall see! Thanks for your help.  It will be nice if, someday, I figure this out..or better yet it goes away!
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flagyl is an antibiotics.
try eating yogurt with live culture if that makes you feel less bloated!!
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I take probiotics and prebiotics daily in a liquid supplement.  JUST AN FYI - I think that this stuff is great for regularity and digestion in general.  Product: Simply Digestion 2000 Plus available at www.herbalremedies.com.  It contains enzymes, fiber, pre/probiotics, aloe vera...and it is not that pricey. I recommend it for constipation and general gut health.  Not that mine is too healthy these days..:)
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are you still taking the simply digestion stuff??
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Yes but I just started that this month and the bloating has been going on for 9 months.  More bothersome than the bloating itself is the pain/tenderness in my right side.  If I barely touch the sensitive area to the right of my navel, it bothers me all the way into my back.  They cannot figure out what this pain is...and it seems to be more hard than the rest of the area, too...
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if you can search this forum,i think several people have posted complaining pain on one side of the stomach.
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How do I get tested for a fungal infection?
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First, let me say that I have just a suggestion.  I have no particular knowledge in this area, with the exception that my pancreas has enlarged after a mastectomy and chemo, so I am having cat scans every 6 months to see if it changes.  So far no change, and I have no pain there.
NOW, has any doctor considered your pancreas?   One can have Pancreitis>  I think  the pancreas may have something to do with digestion of food.
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i just found out something interesting-exercise and acid reflux.
so called jarring exercise such as running,jogging could cause acid reflux,i think climbing stairs can be classified as jarring.
I used to do stairmaster every day ,then i started to have acid reflux at nite,these days i found out running on the ecliplizer (sorry for bad spelling) make my acid reflux situation worse at nite.
It could weaken my LES-lower esophagus sphcinter.
i dont know what is causing your stomach distention,if it were acid reflux ,did you try to get rid of the gas with alka selzer,extra strength gas x??
did your doc prescribe acid reflux medication such as prilosev,prevacid or nexium??
i dont know how doctor go about testing for fungal infection??
usually fungal /yeast infection is caused by antibiotics medication,or if you have been in another country and ate something which is loaded with fungus/yeast and your system is not strong enough to fight it off.
I know in some country,they will leave a large pot of rice on the stove for serving and thru out the day in a hot kitchen it just start to get stale.
i know in asia,stale tofu(beancurd) turns sour cause yeast infection,anything strachy,carbohydrates can harbor yeast which will multiply in hot climate,also mushroom.
Do you have any sign of fungal infection such as on your toes and feet??
you also mention what you take contain enzyme,may be you should stop taking enzyme,just a plain diet of potato,meat and fresh veggie and stay away from white bread,cake,cheese .
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i just checked the content of simply digestion 2000-
Organically grown Papaya Puree, Organic Aloe Vera Juice (Certified in accordance with the Texas Organic Commision), Milled Flax Seeds, Psyllium Husks, Fructooligosaccharides, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Lactobacillus Acidophilus, Amylase, Lipase, & Citric acid (Oxidation Inhibitor).
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how long have you been on it??
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I understand what you are going through. I have many of the same symtems, and very confused doctors. I was wondering if you have any trouble with feeling like something actually gets caught under your ribs if you bend forward. I can't do any stretching, and it happens everytime I shave my legs. I have to push on my right side and push in or it feels like something is getting pulled out of place.
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A related discussion, stomach distention was started.
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A related discussion, My husband is SICK was started.
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A related discussion, bloating was started.
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I have had a fungal infection for nearly two years, it is now severe. I found doctors resistant to accepting the fact. I'm in pain at times that cuts thru 10mg oxy norm, get dizzy and have stiff jerky legs at times. The only treatment I've been given is fluconazole. My heart thumps and I'm weak. What is the medical treatment if any ?
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READ ABOVE
also..a morbid comment, In the UK a death caused through a fungal infection as far as I know is not noted on a death certificate, make your own conclusions.
Original question, what is the medical treatment if any ?
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tech info about a digestive fungus, again..may be wrong, check online, stick to .gov or .edu or your university domain, in the UK its .ac.uk
A fungus can alter living tissue by sharing its DNA altering living tissue to produce sugars, IMHO a fungus can cause cancer and spread if it gets in the bloodstream which it will if it changes tissue. For a severe fungal infection.....
Q. What is the medical treatment if any ?
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further info
A yeast fungas can realease alcohols and other chemicals into the body and mimic mental illness complicating diagnosis.
Q. What is the medical treatment, if any ?
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further info
Antibiotics will reduce "friendly" bacteria increasing or causing a fungal infection and I would think should be avoided where possible., a yeast is part of a normal digestive tract and will exploit any oportunity to populate.
Q, what is the medical treatment if any ?
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A related discussion, question to Paintmiller/Christine...? was started.
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