Digestive Health issues or Women Health issues?
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?
Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Digestive Health Support Group.
@amihealthy Hello and welcome to Mayo Connect. Thanks for posting your question. We have several other discussions ongoing regarding abdominal bloating. Here is the link to those discussions https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/stomach-bloating-digestive-issues/. Mayo Connect is an online patient support group, so we are not medical professionals and therefore cannot diagnose problems, but as you can see, there are many people experiencing this problem and many different reasons for it. It is interesting that you say that your symptoms become worse after exercise. Have you mentioned this to your doctor? You might also keep a journal of your daily activities and food intake and symptoms to see if there might be anything else that might make the bloating worse.
Have you considered a second opinion at a large medical center and/or medical university facility? If not, this might be a good idea. Keep in touch and let us know how you are doing. Teresa
Just some ideas to help you,
Suggest discussing with your doc when you are really bloated if a plain abdo Xray may show something, like mega colon etc. or adhesions from previous surgery, or just by chance. Especially since you mention you are worse after exercise, so maybe something is tugging.I am guessing your tum is now bigger than other family members. I am one of those strange folk where an ultrasound cant even pick up a second baby, but a plain abdo Xray noted my different intestinal problems, maybe you are in that group!
Some ‘words’ you might like to look up are gastroparesis, CIPO [https://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/diseases/12744/chronic-intestinal-pseudoobstruction ]
and good old IBS. The support group sounds good, and I hope it helps you. IF the rest of your body is normal size, then it seems unfair for you to have to diet, to try and lose girth. I fully agree with the dietary journal, as that helped me often find the culprit of severe pain etc.
Thank you for the information. I will reinstate my journal of daily food intake, activities and sleep habits.
@muffincat, Thank you for the information. I have wondered if exercise causes something inside to shift. I might be an odd case that needs a ‘think outside the box’ type of doctor.
Hello and Welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect @amihealthy! I’m so glad you have found our community.
I would like to add my welcome to Teresa’s and also introduce you to others that are here with concern of painful and bloated belly.
Please meet community members, @Steph38, @gloriaeb, @luladavis and @nicole14. All individuals who have all discussed similar symptoms.
Our community is a safe place to meet others and get support. You may also be interested in reviewing this conversation taking place called ‘I am a relatively healthy person with a problem “bloated belly” http://mayocl.in/2kzG31r‘.
With your symptoms you have listed, are experiencing constipation also?
I’m not sure where you are receiving your healthcare but here is a link to the Mayo Clinic Appointment line if you decide to seek a visit with a specialist here. http://mayocl.in/1mtmR63
Thank you, @jamienolson. Yes, I have constipation. I will review the conversation at the link you provided.