Distended abdomen

Posted by laylaa @laylaa, Apr 11 11:39pm

Hi everyone,

I apologize if I'm posting it in the wrong group, I've looked around to see if I could find any discussion with my problem, but to no avail.
I'm hoping you could help me with a problem I've been dealing with since a very early age, for as long as I can remember.
The problem is : I have a distended abdomen, really distended, it makes me look pregnant. The thing is, I always had this stomach, at fist when I was young I thought (as my mum told me) that it was a baby belly and it would go away, the problem is that it never did. I'm now 25 years old and always with the distended abdomen, though I'm not really fat (I do have minor weight fluctuations, but the stomach always stuck with me even when I underweight) , I also have a very active work, and I don't drive so usually I walk a lot during the day (present situation excluded) .
Usually ( around 90% of the time) I contract my stomach, and it looks flat, I do have some fat in it, it isn't top model flat but it is flat. For obvious reasons I cannot do it when I'm sleeping which is pretty much the only time I let go, or if I'm laying on my stomach. I've also discovered that if I'm standing and I try to let go and not contract my abdomen anymore I start to feel very dizzy very quickly, as if my heart beat got slower and the air couldn't get it. As an addition to that sometimes (I wouldn't say often but not rarely neither) I experience a shooting pain in the area around my ribs everytime I breathe, and more often that not I feel like air is getting properly to my lungs, when I take a deep breath specially.
I've already told doctors about this two symptoms ( except for the distended stomach which I know I should have ) but they've concluded I was too stressed out, although it is sometimes true, it isn't always the case.This is a big issue for me, and couldn't even talk about it with no one, I'm sincerely hoping to find answers here.
I think I shared all the important details with you, thank you for reading me and for your help.

@laylaa – Welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect! I understand why you want some answers. I started having extremely bloated belly about 10+ years ago. I was sick however, autoimmune intestinal inflammation. I also have had motility problems for years. The bloating disappeared after treatment. You are young and healthy. Any chance you could have bad constipation? That comes to mind first. There are some congenital problems that could cause abnormal abdominal muscles. You should bring it up again with your regular doctor and consider seeing a gastroenterologist. If I come to think of anything else I’ll post it.

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Hi @laylaa, you've posted in the right group. I agree with @astaingegerdm that you should consider consulting with a gastroenterologist. In the meantime, you may wish to read through this discussion, which offers a number of possibilities.
– My stomach makes me look pregnant. https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/my-stomach-makes-me-look-pregnant/

Have you already seen a GI specialist?

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@laylaa If you can contract your stomach muscles then it sounds as if maybe you just need stronger muscles in that area. Have you tried exercises that would help with that?
If there is nothing medically wrong then I think you should try doing some core exercises, but first, of course, get checked out by a doctor, preferably a gastroenterologist.
JK

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Hello @laylaa,

I appreciate you posting about this very difficult problem. As @colleenyoung and @astaingegerdm have posted you do need to follow up with specialists you can help you. I noticed that you said, "I've already told doctors about these two symptoms ( except for the distended stomach which I know I should have )." Please know that is very important to tell doctors about all the symptoms you have (even if they seem embarrassing). Doctors can help only if they have the full picture of your symptoms/problems.

I would also suggest that you see a gastroenterologist as well as a gynecologist. Both of these specialists can give you some direction in what might be causing your problem. Given the current COVID-19 situation, it might take a while to get an appointment to see these specialists. In the meantime, however, I recommend that you begin to keep a list all of your symptoms that you can take to the appointment so that you share everything that the doctor needs to know.

I would also suggest that you read this discussion about tips for visiting a new doctor. This will give you some more information as to how to talk with a new doctor. Here is the link to that discussion:
– Your Tips on How to Get Off to the Best Start with a New Specialist https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/your-tips-on-how-to-get-off-to-the-best-start-with-a-new-specialist/

I'm just wondering what types of doctors have you talked to about your symptoms?

REPLY
@astaingegerdm

@laylaa – Welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect! I understand why you want some answers. I started having extremely bloated belly about 10+ years ago. I was sick however, autoimmune intestinal inflammation. I also have had motility problems for years. The bloating disappeared after treatment. You are young and healthy. Any chance you could have bad constipation? That comes to mind first. There are some congenital problems that could cause abnormal abdominal muscles. You should bring it up again with your regular doctor and consider seeing a gastroenterologist. If I come to think of anything else I’ll post it.

Jump to this post

Thank you!
I don't really have constipation problems, it can happen but it's really on rare occasions…. That is why I find it so strange, other than the belly, the shortness of breath and the pain in the ribs I don't really have any symptoms ( at least symptoms I noticed…) and my digestif system seems fine…
Thank you for taking the time to helping me !

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@hopeful33250

Hello @laylaa,

I appreciate you posting about this very difficult problem. As @colleenyoung and @astaingegerdm have posted you do need to follow up with specialists you can help you. I noticed that you said, "I've already told doctors about these two symptoms ( except for the distended stomach which I know I should have )." Please know that is very important to tell doctors about all the symptoms you have (even if they seem embarrassing). Doctors can help only if they have the full picture of your symptoms/problems.

I would also suggest that you see a gastroenterologist as well as a gynecologist. Both of these specialists can give you some direction in what might be causing your problem. Given the current COVID-19 situation, it might take a while to get an appointment to see these specialists. In the meantime, however, I recommend that you begin to keep a list all of your symptoms that you can take to the appointment so that you share everything that the doctor needs to know.

I would also suggest that you read this discussion about tips for visiting a new doctor. This will give you some more information as to how to talk with a new doctor. Here is the link to that discussion:
– Your Tips on How to Get Off to the Best Start with a New Specialist https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/your-tips-on-how-to-get-off-to-the-best-start-with-a-new-specialist/

I'm just wondering what types of doctors have you talked to about your symptoms?

Jump to this post

Hi,
Thank you for the encouragement, I'm so glad I found this website so I can at least find clues about what this is or what specialist I should see (after all this is over) . I just couldn't till now talk about it with anyone, I feel very ashamed and always assumed it was my fault, that if I eat healthy and exercise it would go away, but it never did. I know that in order to deal with the problem I have to be transparent with my doctor.
I really haven't seen a specialist, as I don't know which one to see.
I know it's counterproductive but I really have a hard time talking about it… And I thought that seeking answers here might give me a good place to start

Thank you so much and for the link on how to start with a new specialist it is very helpful!

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@contentandwell

@laylaa If you can contract your stomach muscles then it sounds as if maybe you just need stronger muscles in that area. Have you tried exercises that would help with that?
If there is nothing medically wrong then I think you should try doing some core exercises, but first, of course, get checked out by a doctor, preferably a gastroenterologist.
JK

Jump to this post

Hi,

I understand why you would think that, as I did also, but the thing is if it was just aesthetic I could let go of my stomach, but everytime I do that it feels like something(s) are out of place, I really feel dizzy and want to throw up…I did try different exercises, and diets. Though I am not a very athletic person, I am active throughout the day, I don't overeat and the work I do usually calls for my abdomen muscles, since I'm always running and carrying heavy things.
I could understand and deal with the problem if it was love handles or something like that. But given my lifestyle there's no reason for such a rounded and big abdomen…

Thank you for your help !

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Hello @laylaa,

I am glad that Connect has given you some helpful ideas.

If it feels embarrassing to talk about this with a doctor, you might consider just writing it all down and give a copy to the doctor you see and keep a copy for yourself. You could also just read from your list, perhaps that would be easier than just talking (sort of like having a script to read from).

I would encourage you to start that list and try to set up an appointment with a specialist. Sometimes we need to persist in order to get answers.

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@colleenyoung

Hi @laylaa, you've posted in the right group. I agree with @astaingegerdm that you should consider consulting with a gastroenterologist. In the meantime, you may wish to read through this discussion, which offers a number of possibilities.
– My stomach makes me look pregnant. https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/my-stomach-makes-me-look-pregnant/

Have you already seen a GI specialist?

Jump to this post

Hi!
I'll do just that as soon as I can go out …
I did see that discussion, I looked through it to see if something fitted my problem, some come close but it isn't exactly it. And since I don't experience hard pains as the person does I was afraid to be misled.
And no, I didn't see a GI and I assume for responsibility in that matter, I just wasn't sure to what specialist to see
Thank you for your help!

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@laylaa

Hi!
I'll do just that as soon as I can go out …
I did see that discussion, I looked through it to see if something fitted my problem, some come close but it isn't exactly it. And since I don't experience hard pains as the person does I was afraid to be misled.
And no, I didn't see a GI and I assume for responsibility in that matter, I just wasn't sure to what specialist to see
Thank you for your help!

Jump to this post

@laylaa If you haven't seen a gynecologist that may be good as well.

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