I am 53-year-old Black woman Dx w/ Graves Disease (hyPERthyroidism) in 1999. I was Dx w/ uterine fibroids around a year before or the same year. A few years ago I was Dx w/ hyPOthyroidism. I’ve always been slim, but over the past 5 or 6 years, my belly has continuously expanded. My belly is larger than it was at the end of my eighth month of pregnancy many moons ago. My menstrual stopped and menopause started approximately 8 years ago. I have had numerous of abdominal ultrasounds and even a couple of uterine ultrasounds. I’ve had an MRI, an upper gastrointestinal series, x-rays, and I think I had an endoscopy and colonoscopy.
NOTE: My maternal family members tend to have large stomachs, so I think heredity, menopause, and thyroid issues could be contributing to my condition.
When I exercise, my belly gets larger and I experience pain and discomfort in my low right back and right side. Sometimes I try liquid diets, no carbs, no sugar and other tricks. I have lost weight in my arms, legs, and buttocks, but exercise and diet do nothing to decrease my waist. This convinces me that something is wrong. My butt and hips are small and I can wear a size 4 – 7 in pants, but I can’t because my waist is too large. Pants that fit my belly do not fit my butt and hips. I try to buy elastic waist palazzo pants whenever possible. Every so often, I find stretchy jeans or wear leggings. I have to buy X-large blouses and sweaters to accommodate my large belly. Embarrassingly, it is becoming more difficult to camouflage my belly as it protrudes from tighter fitting tops. If I zip, button or tie belts on my coats, I look like a pregnant woman.
Sometimes the bloating is so bad, I can barely move, pants won’t fit, and it’s difficult to eat. Even though I may be hungry and haven’t eaten, I feel extremely full. The extended belly puts pressure on my chest and I suffer from acid reflux and constipation. I can fix constipation when I overdo it on fiber with nuts, fruit, veggies, and lots of water. I can’t do this regularly because I feel too full to have nuts, fruits and water in addition to meals. Sometimes I have a difficult time swallowing water because I feel too full. On other occasions, I am starving and can eat a horse because it feels like I have plenty of room in my belly. I really feel doctors are missing something critical despite all of the tests I have had. I continuously complain and some insensitive and incompetent doctors dismiss my serious symptoms by saying, “women your age gain weight in the stomach, so exercise more.”
What are possible diseases or disorders I could be suffering from?
What specialist should I consider seeing and what tests should I request?
Are there any foods or drinks I could consume to help my condition?
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