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Avatar universal

rapid bloating and shrinking

I have dealt with a problem that no medical doctor can determine the cause of.  My abdominal area goes from almost flat to 6 months pregnant looking in a matter of minutes.  It use to only happen once and a while with no known cause or effect.  Now it has become more regular and more painful.  I can wake up with my belly looking pregnant or I can go to bed with it like that and wake up with it normal.  This occurs no matter what I eat, how much or little I eat, or if the food is spicy.  I have dealt with chronic constipation for many years and they try to tell me I have IBS and yet they can not make sense of the distention.  No known cause!  Come on!  They tried to tell me it was all in my head until it actually happened right in front of there eyes on one visit.  Then all of a sudden it was very important to find out why and there must be something wrong.  Well after ct scans, upper gi's, small bowel follow through and normal labs, they are stumped and going back to it is all in my head and there may be some gas so walk it off.  I told them I am a waitress, all I do is walk and all the antacids they are giving me have done nothing to help.  I am being sent to a specialist in Nov and I have concerns about what they can do for me, if there are any tests left to do.  I have also had a negative endoscopy.  The only thing that showed was a little inflammation.  I have been diagnosed with fybromyalgia, endometriosis, colon polyps up to 5 cm ones have been removed.  I have had many surgeries to my abdominal area with one significant blood clot which was a very close call on me about 8 years ago.  Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
19 Responses
82861 tn?1333457511
I had the same problem and it turned out to be (ta da!) a rotten gallbladder.  The gb infection caused scar tissue to form on my small intestines.  Because small intestines are meant to just kind of roll around in your abdominal cavity, they don't appreciate being restricted by the adhesions.  Result?  Off and on small bowel obstruction, that became more "on" than "off" after a few weeks.

If you haven't had a colonoscopy, I'm sure one will be in your future assuming the specialist you've been referred to is a gastroenterologist.  You mention chronic constipation, so don't be surprised if the term "redundant colon" comes up on the report.  All that means is that the years of constipation have resulted in stretching your colon out farther than what is usual, and so you have a few extra twists and turns.  Makes the constipation problem even worse and is kind of a vicious circle to have a redundant colon.  It's nothing life threatening, but can be pretty darn uncomfortable unless you do everything possible to keep yourself regular.

I'm also wondering about your history of endometriosis.  Endo can cause adhesions to form down in the lower pelvis, and if this scar tissue forms on your colon, it can cause the symptoms you describe - basically intermittent bowel obstruction.  By the way, adhesions don't show up on x-rays, ct-scans, mri's or any other test.  Surgery is the only way to diagnose and treat them, but the vicious circle comes into play again as more surgery can cause more scar tissue to grow.  Fun, huh?

I assume you have had surgery for the endometriosis?  You may want to obtain a copy of the surgical report for the November appointment.  Matter of fact, get copies of everything you can get your hands on before that time.  Get them in your own hands and don't just rely on Dr. A to fax them to Dr. B.  You may need these records in the future if you aren't diagnosed for some time, or have continuing problems, and docs don't keep your records forever.

Are you taking narcotic meds for the fibromyalgia?  I'm sure you already know narcotics contribute greatly to your constipation problem, so I hope you're doing whatever you can to maintain regularity.

That's about all I, as a layperson, can come up with.  Hopefully someone else will come up with more ideas.  In the meantime, keep a diary to track what you eat and when symptoms occur, and include any meds you take during the day.  It may be useless, but it may end up being a big help for the new doc to figure out a diagnosis.  
Avatar universal
I want to thank you for getting back to me.  It is nice to have some support out there.  I went to see a different doctor yesterdays because the ones I have seen are getting no where and since the last distention was continuous for 2 days and no help from those doctors I wanted to go somewhere to see someone who would care.  She was in the room with me for one and a half hours.  I have never had a doctor sit that long with me ever and I have seen a lot of them over the years.  She wanted to know all of my medical history which is extensive.  She did a rectal exam-fun haha!  she said all was fine there.  No hemriods that could be the cause of the blood now in my stool.  She is setting up the colonoscopy for next wed.  I have had them many times.  The last one removed a 5 cm polyp which a week later resulted in very serious bleeding.  That is a whole other story.  Any way she also said she thought I could have something known as slow transit of the bowel.  She said that if a polyp has grown again that it could cause some intermediate blocking which can cause the swelling.  As far as my endometriosis goes.  I had surgery over 1 year ago which resulted with them taking my last ovary and scraping my bladder.  That doctor stated that there was endo in my ovary which he sent to pathology and it was also on bladder and that he scraped it off but that he did not sent in.  When the report came back it said that there was no endo in my ovary which makes me wonder what was on my bladder since he did not send that to pathology.  He still states that is what it was but who knows?  I was on a lot of narcotics last year especially which I know plays a huge role in constipation but I had this problem way before I ever used that.  My aunt having this same problem has had the same symptoms since she was in 5th grade.  If it is the same thing I don't know it just is so similar to each other I find it hard to believe it could be anything different.  Having said that I unlike her have had many surgeries.  Most for adhesion removal.  I know the more you have the more that grows, yet there comes a time when that is all that you can do depending on where the adhesion is.  This does concern me if it is growing on my colon because that only means more surgery.  The last week and a half I have had more loose stools than ever.  For a women who use to go once every week to two weeks I am now going multitude times of the day with very loose stools.  This is also concerning and new since I wrote my question in here.  The first looked like spaghetti noodles, now they are like rabbit droppings.  Great conversation ha?  Does any of this make sense to you or any more input on my new symptoms?  Again thank you for responding.  bj31
Avatar universal
Hi it is bj31 again.  Wondering if your tests on your gallbladder showed ok.  They said my tests were normal.  bj31
82861 tn?1333457511
Yep.  Ejection fraction was somewhat low, but still within normal limits.  I had slight nausea when they ran in the stuff to make the gallbladder contract, but that was all.  I had the hida scan along with EGD, colonoscopy, ct scan, x-rays, ultrasound, and blood work out the wazoo as an in-patient.  They were going to discharge me with no answers, and I refused to leave the hospital until I had a surgical consult.  The surgeon was skeptical, but willing to take a peek with the laparascope and lo and behold... there was the whole mess.  Gallbladder about to rupture (no stones) and adhesions all over my small intestines.  This same surgeon has worked on me numerous times in the past 10 years, and every time something goes south, my tests are all normal.  Ditto for the endometriosis and appendix.  I just thank God that this surgeon knows me well enough to really listen.  Every time I've thought it necessary to go under the knife, I've been right and tests have been wrong.
Avatar universal
I really wonder how even the hida scan can be so wrong.  All these expensive equipment and still so many errors.  I know they are only mechanical but man if they put so much into these things and so much money you would think they would be better.
Avatar universal
Hi just wanted to touch base and let you know what I found out today.  I got my medical records today and I am mad.  The doctors have told me that they have not found anything wrong at all.  Well when I got my reports I was shocked.  They found a small hernia, gastroduodenitis, they said my bladder was relatively collapsed, and they found a kidney stone in my left one.  No wonder I have been hurting!  I do not know how to even talk with my doctor about this.  Speaking of which the doctor I was to see on monday called and said he would rather me see a more specific specialist then him because of the reports he got.  Well from nothing wrong to finding all this out, to having to go to another doctor I am stressed.  I can't believe they did not tell me all that they found.  Unreal!!!!!  Well I hope you are doing ok tonight.  Talk to you later.
82861 tn?1333457511
UGH!  That's happened to me too.  Until I got the reports in my hands, it was a totally different story.  I just don't know what gives with some of these doctors, but I don't trust many of them any more and always make sure to get copies of test results.   You're doing everything right.  I just wish it didn't have to be such a battle to get medical answers these days.  Keep on keepin' on!
88793 tn?1290230777
OMG!  I think this is another victim right here!  My GP sent me to see the psychiatrist.  They all said it is all in my head and anxiety.  The gastro Dr said is obesity.  The nuclear gastric emptying studies showed my stomach is lazy.  It started to contract after 35 minutes instead of within 20 minutes!
Avatar universal
So what did they do for you once you found out your stomach is lazy and what does that mean for you?  Were you having the same kinds of problems?  How did you get them to do something for you once they thought it was all in your head?  I am so frustrated with my doctor I thought before that he was one that would fight for me and now I find all the things he did not tell me too.  What do they want you to do keep coming back to them?  Is it just job security for them?  I am so at my end!  bj31
Avatar universal
Hi BJ...I haven't been diagnosed with gastroparesis (lazy stomach), I'll say...yet.  I have my stomach empying test next Wed.  I did look it up though b/c I know it's a possibility.  I found this site helpful.  http://www.gicare.com/pated/ecdgs45.htm  

I have hypoglycemia so I'm doubtful that diabetes is my problem.  You'll read that for 40% there is no cause.  I spoke with my GI Dr's nurse today and she said that if it is gastroparesis then I'll just have to change the way I eat. (that's if nothing is causing it)  I already have figured out, kind of successfully, just how much I can eat before I get full.  Sometimes it's less.  I don't like it.  I feel like I have to think so much about everything that goes in my mouth and most times it's just eating something to keep my blood sugar up.  After losing 40 lbs in the last 2 years and keeping it off I feel as though I already eat a very healthy diet with good portion control.  And now this.  I don't want to think that much!

For the stomach emptying scan, what do you do?  I know you eat the scrambled egg stuff but do you then just stand there?  Or do they keep calling you in to X-ray you?  The nurse said to bring a book after I gasped when she said "after 90 minutes".  LOL

I am going in to get a full blood work-up.  Can't get in until Dec 17 though!

If someone suggests it's all in my head I may just loose it!  I'd hate to be the person standing in front of me.

Thanks,
Lori
88793 tn?1290230777
Mine one is source like the Sick Sinus Symptoms.  I am still seeing the psychiatrist.  It wasn't find out from my Gastro Dr.  She only wants to run blood tests and told me don't have to go back.  I went to see one of my GP and asked him what I did wrong and why she don't want to take me?  He asked me to do the nuclear gastric emptying studies.  I'm also having many other medical problems but I don't know what's related to or what's not related to because I'm not a doctor!

After that he prescribed me the medicines to take (a lot)!  He said 2 weeks can see the result that my tummy will go flat!  I'm very exciting.  He asked me how long that I had my bloated tummy for?  I complaint for quite a while but no one was going to be bother.  Now because it keeps growing or bloating, it makes me hard to breath.  The gastro Dr still thinking is in my head but luckly this GP listened and he is going to find out what's in my tummy?

Hi Lori, your post is only addressed to bj31 so I think you're asking bj31 questions only.  Are you asking me question as well?
Avatar universal
Hi,
I'd love to hear anyone's answer to my questions.  

Lori
Avatar universal
Hi for the stomach emptying test done for me you had to drink this god awful stuff through out the procedure at different times.  They have you lay on your stomach and take pictures.  Some pictures are done while you are actually drinking the stuff.  Some pictures are done with you standing up and some while laying down and in different ways.  In between times you basically wait for a period of time in the waiting room until it is time for you to take another picture.  It is an easy test and yet that stuff they have you drink is the worst part so if you are not feeling well be prepared.  Just make sure that when you are done that you are able to get the results asap as a lot depends on the results for how you will be treated.  Good luck
Avatar universal
Thanks bj31.  I'll be prepared for that drink.  I think at this point I'm more worried about my blood sugar.  I'm trying to track it for the last couple of days, just for myself, and today it was only 65 when I woke up.  I usually drink coffee with coffeemate before I eat. I knew coffeemate had sugar in it but didn't realize how much it affected my blood sugar. Today I didn't have any coffee until after I'd done the before BS and then ate something.  It was 83.  Then I had my coffee.  I'll be going into the test low and if it takes a couple of hours then it may go even lower.  Maybe the egg mixture will boost it?  LOL

How are you feeling?  In the other post you said that you weren't feeling better.  

L
82861 tn?1333457511
I think y'all are confusing 2 different tests.  Gastric emptying is the one where you eat the radiated eggs or oatmeal and the radiologist takes x-rays every few minutes and times how fast it gets into your small intestines.  Very easy.

The other one is to evaluate the function of the small intestines - small bowel follow through.  For that one, you drink barium and it is followed with fluoroscopy.  That one is also easy, but can take up to 4 hours or longer if you're a slow intestinal emptier.  

For both tests, you'll be in and out of the radiology room at varying intervals, so bring something to read while you're waiting.
Avatar universal
Avatar universal
Sorry about that I did have the tests mixed up.  Make sure that you let the people you are with for the test know about your low blood sugar that could be very dangerous as I am sure you know.  As far as how I am feeling I guess a little better now.  My bloating has been down for a few days now but the cramping is still very uncomfortable.  I had to see my gyn doctor yesterday and he just added to the confusing.  When he did my pap test and the internal physical he touched the areas that brought a lot of pain to me.  I usually have this pain with intercourse in certain positions.  He said the areas where I had the pain was at the bottom of my colon and the lining of my bladder.  He brought up IC which he said may be a factor now and I should get that checked.  That only effects the bladder.  As far as the colon area goes he said to talk with my gi doctor on nov 7.  He said that he is sticking by his findings of endo on my bladder but because I no longer have any womenly features that should not be contributing to my problems.  He also said that the area that I have the pain is where my colon wraps around and that he is convinced it is a gi problem.  So I am looking forward to seeing that other doctor and hopefully stopping this continuous ride I have been on for so long.  Talk with you later.  Let me know how you are doing and what you find out.
88793 tn?1290230777
Sorry for late.  

For me, The nuclear gastric emptying studies is first eat the radiated scrambled egg. Then laid down and keep still under the scan for 90 minutes.  After 90 minutes, they said all done and I can go home.  Don't have to get change.  Ware comfortable clothes without the big buckle that's all!  Scramble egg is no taste.  They didn't give you water to drink either.

I didn't tell them I got diabetes.  (Because I hope they'll give me some ice-cream.)They said need a six hour fasting.  My appointment was at 10:30am so my last meal was 7:00pm day before.
Avatar universal
bj31:  I am not fully educated about endometriosis (I should be b/c I have it!) but my first thought is that yes, it can cause problems if it's been present for any amount of time.  Even though your "parts" are gone, the left over uterin particles could adhere to a lot of different places in the abdomen.  I was trying to read in your previous posts when you had everything removed.  You say you had adhesions removed.  Wasn't that the endometriosis?  Because of my ovarian issues, I also visit the OC forum.  I've read there that adhesions don't usually show up on CT scans, etc.  I'd post over at that forum to see if anyone else has experienced your symptoms.  They'll most likely tell you to get another opinion.  I'm sorry...what is IC?  Good luck to you!  

I was able to get an appointment with a GP next Thursday, a day after my Stomach Emptying Scan.  Since I'll be fasting for that, I asked that they order a full blood work-up, which I'll do before my scan.  Why waste a good fast?  LOL

PikaPika88:  The test doesn't sound that bad.  Thanks for sharing.  I won't eat anything past midnight the night before.  My appointment is at 7:30 am.      
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