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Severe Abdominal Distention
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Severe Abdominal Distention

3818236?1230628452
I am a 28 year old woman, who is very healthy and active. I am of normal weight and do not smoke, drink, or use drugs. I am also a Vegetarian and sometimes even Vegan.

Two months ago, I began experiencing dizziness, lightheadedness, nausea and night sweats. A few weeks ago, I started experiencing severe abdominal distention (about the size of a 6 month pregnancy) shortly after I ate and continuing for a few hours. It also keeps me up at night, because I also get severe stomach cramps, that mostly occur in the mid to upper right quadrant, but do "move around" to different areas. For example, I'll get a cramp on my right side, and then suddenly it's a stabbing pain on my left lower side, etc. I assume this is gas pain, because I get quite flatulant.

Anyway through a few "trials", I have realized that it occurs after I eat "junk food". I have a huge sweet tooth, but until recently (holiday's, you know) I have eaten pretty healthy. Several times, I have done experiments where I have eaten no sugar, or dairy, and then sugar one day, but no dairy and then the next day I will eat dairy, but no sugar. As long as I don't eat sugar, or dairy it isn't too bad, much milder - but even if I eat a small amount even early in the day, I get some distention and my symptoms still get progressively worse at night, causing insomnia because I am so uncomfortable. I feel fine eating any type of wheat product, so I don't think it's a gluten issue. This never bothered me until very recently. Previously, I could eat junk all day and feel just fine that night and the next day.

While my stomach is distended it it feels very hard, and my skin seems to stretch. I can even see veins like I did when I was pregnant with even my belly button poking out, like when you are pregnant. My back gets achy as well.

I do not have diarrhea, in fact I am prone to constipation - Although, I notice if I do binge on sugary treats my stools are much softer than usual and more frequent.

I am puzzled to what this is. I normally have very toned abs and now even when there is no distention, there is mild bloating. My flat stomach is completely gone. This has all occurred very recently.

My Internist just did a blood workup (waiting for results), but I am sure it will come back clean. I am planning on seeing a GI doc and was wondering what type of tests I should ask for. I have to find out the cause for this. I just don't think it's normal for someone my age to have such sudden symptoms.
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12 Comments Post a Comment
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483733_tn?1326802046
You may want to check out SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth).  It is diagnosed via a breath test.  You should be having a thorough ultrasound and perhaps a CT scan and colonoscopy.  Good luck.
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Avatar_m_tn
Oh my gosh. your stomach look exactly like mine. I always look pregnant and it gets worse at night.It hurts so much i end up rubbing it like im pregnant.
I blamed mine on depo injection (pill injection) and coming off it. but you need to have a ultrasound of that area to be sure. It could be kidneys problems, IBS or even a ovarian cyst. i just did an ultrasound and am waiting results, all they found was a cyst so i need to see if thats the cause.
if no answers from your tests look up salicylate sensitivity. I'll et ya know what mine is and may help you.
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Avatar_m_tn
I get distension too when I have gas. When you go to the GI doc ask whatever questions you can and insist that you really want to find out what the cause is. Sometimes you have too be a little pushy. At my next apointment I'll be asking about possible bacteria or any other possibilities and request breath and stool tests to be done. You should ask for those if they don't do it. Ultrasound as well so they can see if there's any obstruction or digestive system structural abnormalities or any kind of urinary system problems.

Good luck and come back.
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Avatar_f_tn
This is exactly how my stomach looks after I eat!!! I am 25 and have been actively testing for a year now. I have had a variety of test and they have all turned out normal. My doctor is referring me to Mayo clinic in MN (I'm in Texas), so I'm hoping to goodness that this will be resolved.
If you have received any type of answers since your post, please fill me in! Also, if you have any questions about the tests I've had (again, I've had many), feel free to ask. I promise that you are not alone with this.
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Avatar_f_tn
I hate saying this, but I actually started to cry when i saw this.  I too am going through the exact same symptoms.  Had a pelvic and abdomal CT done, noting on the abd, but a small cyst on the left ovary...not related, then they did a Abd sonogram and full blood work up yesterday...waiting to hear....I have to wear large shirts just to cover my belly...I am 45 and this is now going on for 4 months...no sleep at night...

Hope we find out what it is...
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Avatar_f_tn
Had this problem as well and I am a petite person so I always look pregnant too.
I wake in the night every 1-2 hours tops often with a burning stomach, heart racing
numb bum etc.etc.etc. At the mo on an exclusion diet - NO WHEAT, NO SUGAR,
NO DAIRY - only veggies left basically. This has got rid of my bloat tho + 8lbs in weight
that I really don't need to lose.  Originally this started with a bout of constipation, then
the opposite and all sorts of weird looking stools. I also have the discomfort pains that
move around and my back aches so much in the day. Gas, gas and more gas. At certain times of day I feel so tired that I have to sleep, again only for an hour or so. Had whatever tests and the only thing that doc was interested in was the blood glucose was a bit on the high side.

I had a TV scan (for other problems) and was found to have a thick endometrium and fibroids.  My symptoms have been put down to the menopause but this is highly
unlikely for most of you who are much younger. Some of my symptoms are so weird
that I don't think they are all to do with the menopause either. It's just a convenient place
to put the problems as I am of the appropriate age.I am strongly beginning to suspect
CANDIDA and I have been found to have some intolerance to wheat and I don't play
well with sugar any more either. It's so hard when you have to try and diagnose yourself,
then go and ask for the appropriate test. KEEP ASKING til you get to the bottom of it.
It is NOT normal to be permanently bloated. Best of Luck to you all.
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Avatar_f_tn
I am 43 years old,, and have the occasional bloating/distention. However, over the past 3 months it remains consistent. I am 5'6 and 123 lbs and have always had a very flat stomach - until now.  I have seen 3 different gastro doctors all of which said IBS. The gastro I am seeing now is great (although still no diagnosis) he has ran a CT scan, Ultrasound of the abdomen, breath test and colonoscopy - all normal! He put me on cipro and flagyl as a last resort, even though breath test came back fine. Now he thinks that it could be abrasions from a hysterectomy and I am going to see a special ob doctor to possible do a test that looks inside to see if this is the cause. He said abrasions can spread like ivy and wrap around the colon (?).

The strange thing is that even though I am very much distended (looking 6 months pregnant) when I lie flat on my back the distention goes down 90% - still a small bit of bloating - but the distention is essentially gone.

I am uncomfortable and sometimes the pressure is soo bad, it's hard to breath. I know that it's something related to gas or my stomach - so I don't stress about having trouble breathing (heart attack). I am determined to  find the reason for this - I feel bad for everyone who suffers with this problem. It has effected my lifestyle  - I have to wear big t-shirts or shirts that don't tuck-in to hide my stomach and I am just miserable all the time! It is depressing!!!

I wonder if this has something to do with menopause or hormones? Please let me know if anyone finds a solution. At this point, a big needle in my stomach to relieve the pressure looks good.

Good luck
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1208572_tn?1276146143
This may or may not help, but this can also be related to having a weak transverse muscle. I too look like this when Im completely relaxed. But if I do a week worth of transverse and ab workouts, it tightens up a bit. I notice this is an issue with small people, but really it affects alot, its just only visible on smaller people like us.

Now, this has nothing to do with GI issues, but try doing some transverse exercises for a few months and notice the difference. Google transverse exercises, especially "vacuums" also, for small people it doesnt take much food to cause a bulge!
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Avatar_f_tn
I read where you were going to Mayo.  Did you find out anything?   I am desperate for answers.  thank you
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Avatar_m_tn
I am 21 and have now had distention like this for 4 years now. It is becoming more and more dibilatating. I have had every test done, and have been on every medication. I really hope we find something that helps!
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Avatar_f_tn
I can completely relate to your story, but as for my experience, now the bloated feeling was already gone when I got into the patented TRA weight management program. No bloated feeling while eating the right meal portions 3x a day! by Day 15 I"ve lost 4 kg without starving  myself to death. it has built a habit in me of eating the right portions of fruits and veggies and carbo and protein.This program has increased my muscle mass and replaced the excess fats in my body. It was really amazing! Of course I made sure it was free from stimulants, anorectics, diuretics and laxatives which may just dehydrate myself. ^_^ its a 90-day program.
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Avatar_m_tn
Hi there, These are my symptoms exactly and I'm the same age as you. Did you ever determine the cause? Currently I've had just the basic CBC labwork, all normal. It seems to me that "IBS" is a catch-all for "we don't know".
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