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Date of last update: 10/15/2017.

Forum Name: Gastroenterology Topics

Question: Severe abominal distention changed my life

 jumpie - Mon Mar 14, 2005 3:02 am

I'm looking for anyone out there who might be able to help my in diagnosing my problem, so that I can get my old life back. I've been to several gastic specialist but to no avail, and have spent alot of time researching but have not found anyone else with the same symptoms as myself.
My symptoms are the following:
- severe abdominal distention within a couple of minutes of eating or drinking anything.
- there is not constipation, pain (other than the initial stretching and tearing of my abdominal and groin muscles when this started), cramps, or other IBS like symptoms.

It does not matter what I eat or drink my stomach will distend 6 - 7 inches in minutes. I've tried all sorts of diffents allergy tests, celiac test, but the fact is even if I only drink water for days I will still swell up. Anything that goes down my throat causes it. If I can not eat or drink for 24 hours, I go back to almost normal size, but as you can imagine this is not easy to do nor fun.

I'm not sure if it was coincidence or not, but this all seems to start when I was living down in Florida, and came down with some kind of stomach bug that left my throwing up every, at first, every hour, and then ended with every 5 mintues. I finally went to the hospital where they gave me something to keep my stomach down, spent the next three days asleep, and thought I was back to normal. At the time I thought it was just food poisioning but no one else seemed to get it that ate the same meal as I. It wasn't too long after that I started to notice the symptoms above. The came on gradually at first, but soon it was bad enough that if I drank alot or ate regular meals my belly extended so much that it restricted my breathing.

If anyone has any idea of what this could be caused by, or possible treatments I would be forever grateful, as this has taken a very active guy and made life a constant juggle act between getting enough food to keep my energy, but not too much so that I still feel a little life moving. I've had the usual barium enema, GI scope, blood work galore, parasite tests, thyroid, and I forget the name but the test in which you swallow an egg with a little radioactive material in it to see the emptying time of the upper GI.

Thank you to anyone who can help.
 Carolyn Merritt, LPN - Mon Mar 14, 2005 5:22 pm

User avatar Dear Jumpie:
I am sorry to hear about your difficulty. It is possible you are swallowing excess air when you eat or drink. If the distention only occurs when drinking or eating and goes away after awhile then I can only assume you may beswallowing air or you may be consuming foods that cause excess flatulence or "gas".

Your problem may be Flatulence or ‘wind’ which is an excess of gas in the stomach and intestines. It is normal for gas in the digestive tract to be passed out through the rectum as "gas". A high fibre diet will produce more gas than a diet containing less fibre.
Excess gas though can get trapped within the intestine causing pain and distention

Possible causes of flatulence include:

a diet containing gas producing foods such as:
(cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, onions, asparagus, brussels sprouts, peaches, apples, pears, fizzy drinks, sugar-free confectionery and chewing gum, whole grains such as bran and wheat; and beans and legumes)
swallowing excessive air
some medical conditions, such as coeliac disease, lactose intolerance, or Crohn’s disease.

Another problem you may have is swallowing excess air which may be caused by:

chewing gum;
ill-fitting false teeth;
eating too quickly or talking while eating

You might try some of these techniques to see if it helps:
Tuck your chin in close to your chest when you swallow,
avoid any carbonated beverages,
take in smaller drinks or bites
exhale before swallowing
avoid "gas" producing foods mentioned above.

I hope this helps you.
Kind Regards,
 jumpie - Mon Mar 14, 2005 7:35 pm

Thanks for the reply. You're comments are appreciated, although I've already been told about areophasia (sp?) or swallowing air. There are a couple of reasons why I don't believe this is my problem:

- I can chew gum all day long, as long as I don't eat or drink, I won't have a stomach problem.
- when the specialists have examined me they say that the distention is not caused by gas. This is determined, so I am told, by listening to my abdominal cavity when they tap on it.
- also, the condition doesn't seem to hinge on stress, which I am told can make one subconsciously swallow more air. Being as I'm a pretty laid back guy, I don't really have any stress to aggravate a condition like this.
- the high fiber diet doesn't seem to jive either, as the condition started in a make of a week or two without any change in my diet.

Any other ideas? Thanks.
 ama - Tue Oct 04, 2005 1:21 pm

I was wondering if Jumpie ever found out what he had? My 4 year old son had what seemed like a virus back in february of 2005. He had abdominal distention, diarrhea and vomited once during those first few weeks. Eventually the diarrhea slowed down. He now only has that once a week and has vomited about 6 times since February all relating to this (not a new virus). However, every day since mid February he has had a distended stomach. It grows as the day progresses. It can grow 6 inches a day! Sometimes he wakes up w/ no distention, other times he is already distended by an inch or two. He has had a lactose test, negative. He had an upper endoscopy. All biopsies were negative, however the duodenum was irritated and smooth where it should have rough edges. Plain abdominal x-ray showed gas and fluid in stomach. CT Scan w/ imaging only showed the gas. Blood tests they ran were negative. Dr. we are seeing is stuck on "air swallowing". She will not do any further tests however my son is still suffering every day w/ this. This morning he distended 2 inches in one hour while I watched to see if he was "air swallowing". No indication of air swallowing during that hour. Earlier in the week he distended 2 inches in 30 minutes but I was unable to watch him that whole time to see if he was doing anything different that would make him swallow excess air. He also complains, once he is distended that it's hard to breathe. If there is anyone out there that can help me with this, I would appreciate it. I want the dr. to do the gastric emptying test, but she does not feel it is necessary....probably because I mentioned the test and she doesn't want to be told what to do!!!!!!!!!! Thanks for anyone's help! ama
 yamadrummer - Fri Nov 18, 2005 6:24 am

dear jumpie,
when you were sick in florida you probably vomited so hard that you weakened your lower esoughogeal sphincter;which now won't allow you to burp and relieve all the pressure.look into hiatel hernia repair(nissen fundoplication)
 mom2boys - Sun Nov 20, 2005 6:39 pm

I started getting really bloated after eating or drinking as well. and I did not get this until I had my gall bladder out. I read about dyspepsia. You get bloated and full feeling and nauseated as well. not everyone will have this but it is worth checking into.

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