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severe bloating. confused. help!
Anon_4527 posted:
I had a baby eight months ago and quickly lost all my "baby weight." i am 5'5'' and weigh 107 pounds. though you may think i sound like a trim woman, i have had several situations where i have been mistaken as being pregnant...again! I can't tell you how embarassing it is for all involved. the truth is...i look pregnant. my belly is often bloated and pops out like a women several months pregnant. it seems to get worse as the day wears on. i eat from all food groups, but my diet is focused on vegetables and protein and good dietary fiber grains. should i be cutting out food groups? am i just destined to look pregnant until i reach an age where people stop asking? do i just need a good ab work out everyday? where do i start? so frustrating.
Anon_6061 responded:
A couple of possibilities that come to mind especially since it worsens as the day goes on (as you exert yourself through normal daily activity) are hernia or diastasis recti (abdominal separation) or even both -
Your primary care doctor should be able to check for these.

Then of course it could be some sort of food allergy or sensitivity that causes bloating. Of course, these can be tricky to diagnose and usually require a food elimination trial and tracking of symptoms.

I'd never heard of diastasis recti until a friend of mine said she had one. She ended up having a hysterectomy after being told it would flatten her stomach. When that didn't happen, she found out she had diastasis recti from carrying three big babies.
Jane Harrison Hohner, RN, RNP responded:
Dear An: Anon_6061 has given you a superb reply. Both a structural issue with the abdominal wall or a condition with bowel function are possible culprits. You could consider keeping a food diary to see if there are foods which seem to exacerbate the abdominal distention (eg dairy, or gluten). Also note if there are bouts of loose stool alternating with constipation.

If your child was born via C-section it is also possible to have a hernia in the area of the abdominal incision. A separation within the bands of abdominal muscles is not uncommon, but usually resolves after delivery. MUCH more remotely, a woman can have an abdominal mass---yet these are usually present all day with an unvarying size.

Hope you can find the culprit and resolve the appearance of the distention.

Anon_4527 responded:
Thank you, both, for your thorough replies. A couple of questions/comments. Jane: I did have a c-section. However, the first few months post-baby i did not notice a problem. This problem seems to have started about 4-5 months post-baby.

Can the abdominal separation and hernia be readily identified by my obgyn? Also, if i am seeing fluctuations of the bloat throughout the day, is it unlikely to be one of these?

I am going to wait and see how i look and feel after this next period. Thank you.
Anon_4527 responded:
Sorry, I reread your replies and see that the conditions you explain can cause the bloat to vary throughout the day.

I am a little concerned about the hernia possibility (yes, I have been googling). One thing that seems to differentiate my symptoms from a possible hernia is that my entire stomach bloats--not just one area. It truly appears to be a bloat versus a bulge (where organs would pop through muscle walls). I have also felt my stomach during times of bloat and non-bloat and I don't feel anything strange (like a protrusion). Lastly, there is no associated pain (though I have read hernias can be painless).

Regardless, I did make an appointment with my Obgyn. Hopefully it isn't a hernia.
Jane Harrison Hohner, RN, RNP replied to Anon_4527's response:
Dear Anon: I had a patient with an abdominal incision (hysterectomy) who developed such a large hernia in the area that she looked like a 20 week pregnancy. So such things can occur.

Yes, your GYN should be able to rule out an abdominal hernia, so be sure to ask about that as well as the abdominal muscle separation. If you have any control over timing, try to be seeing the GYN when you know your distention will be the very worst. It is often easier to diagnose a problem when the woman is having the worst symptoms. Also, if you have noted any triggers (eg food intake, timing of eating, etc.) be sure to make a note of these. If the GYN suspects a GI etiology they may refer you to someone with more bowel expertise.

Do let us know what you find out as another woman, with a similar condition, can Google your posts .

Anon_4527 responded:
Update: Thank you, Jane, for your follow-up reply. I did see my Obgyn. It is NOT a hernia...thank goodness. I do have a slight separation of the muscles, but not enough for anything to come through. It also isn't the reason I have been experiencing bloating. She also checked my ovaries to make sure there wasn't anything wrong (apparently, ovary issues can cause bloating as well). We deduced it must be diet related. She suggested I start with lactose...then gluten (if elminating lactose doesn't work). Maybe it is (as my mother often says) just hormones.
Anon_6061 replied to Anon_4527's response:
Glad to hear no hernia!
Anon_4527 replied to Anon_4527's response:
Just wanted to update anyone who might come across this problem. I started to eliminate lactose from my diet. I started with my morning yogurt and latte. I still consume milk when it is an ingredient in bread or cookies, but not in its "pure" form. My bloating has dramatically improved. Could be coincidence. I am tempted to try my yogurt again, but honestly don't want to chance the bloat!
Anon_4527 replied to Anon_4527's response:
update: the bloat still seems to have subsided after eliminating a huge portion of dairy.

question about the abdominal separation (which i was diagnosed as having a slight case of). I was "showing off" to my step-daughters by doing back bends from a standing position and then pulling myself back up to a standing position. i probably haven't done this for 20 years...and now i definitely have pain (sore muscles) throughout my abdomin. could i have done any damage from this one event with respect ot abdominal separation (apparently these aren't the sorts of exercises one is supposed to do).

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