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Distended abdomen, possible hernia problem. Is it due to age?

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Practicing since : 2000
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Possible hernia problem. I have a distended abdomen that I can't get rid of even if I fast. Let me give you the chronology that might help.
In 1998 I lifted something too heavy and thought I would pass out. Surprising the pain mostly in my lower back went away. For a few years I would get a mild reminder of the incident but nothing serious. By 2009 I couldn’t remember the last time it bothered me. In 2009 I went to an ear nose and throat doctor and was diagnosed with reflux protocol (those symptoms I still have, as in an excessive amount of saliva). A few months later I was back with full on Gerd. I actually wrote about the experience and found that it was related to my taking Benadryl to sleep and being nasally congested. I actually wrote a funny story about the experience.

Another year went by where the symptoms were minimal and I could live with them when in April of 2010 I was having trouble breathing and noticed my abdomen was now distended. I looked like I was pregnant. I went to a doctor and was diagnosed (without an xray or any lab tests) with a ventral hernia. He told me to make an appointment with a surgeon right away and have the operation. The surgeon, one of the most respected surgeons in the country) immediately debunked the idea of the ventral hernia took some xrays and said to find a real doctor. At the time I was a vegan but upon reading up on a ventral hernia went back to eating red meat.
After three real doctors and numerous lab tests and an ultra sound the last gastro doctor said maybe I was just fat. At the time the discomfort and distension was reduced and I decided to just live with it. About six months ago I got dehydrated from the stomach flu and even then the distension would not completely go away. At the time I got every lab test possible, blood urine, stool. All the tests said I was normal. During the last few years my urine smelled so bad I couldn’t wait to flush the toilet. That has gone away and now my urine is mostly clear and although urination is not painful or especially difficult it is in uncomfortable but the odor is gone. A few months ago I started waking up with the salty taste in my mouth so bad I had to rinse immediately. That symptom is now almost gone. I am back to the unsightly abdomen no matter how little I eat. I have tried every digestive cure imaginable. For the first time in my life I am belching and of course it feels better after. Yesterday I bought an abdomen corset and it is comfortable when I wear it and possibly some difference when I eat but not that much. The digestive enzymes make a difference when I depress my abdomen. Eating the wrong foods it takes about 12 hours before the pressure is relieved. My bowel movements are normal and usually precede my stomach pressure going down in the morning.
I am beginning to wonder if it isn’t just my age since I am 68.
Posted Mon, 7 May 2012 in Digestion and Bowels
Answered by Dr. Poorna Chandra K.S 19 hours later
Thanks for posting your query
Generalized abdominal prominence can be due to the following causes:
•     Fat
•     Fluid: This can secondary to either reduced protein levels in the blood, liver or renal disease.
•     Flatus: Can arise due to intestinal dysmotility and secondary bacterial overgrowth. This is common in elderly
•     Faeces: Usually get accumulated due to an intestinal obstruction which presents as an acute condition.
These can be differentiated by a good history and a physical examination and if required some basic tests.
Hernia usually causes a localised bulge where as the above mentioned causes produce a more diffuse bulge.
In addition, you also have reflux disease which can arise due to poor lower esophageal sphincter tone. Diaphragmatic exercises, a proton pump inhibitor like omeprazole and prokinetics should produce relief.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Distended abdomen, possible hernia problem. Is it due to age? 7 hours later
thank you. You are the first one to suggest the breathing exercise. Did you notice in my history that I have had every test possible? I am pretty sure it is air. I can't even remember belching 10 times in my life before the last few months. I took three pro biotics yesterday and later that night drank some cranberry juice on an empty stomach. The burning pain, Gerd symptoms was pretty bad for about an hour or so. Finally subsided and I ate some chips and chicken soup. Felt a lot better after and Ok this am.One more thing, I just tried the Diaphragmatic exercise on an empty stomach and I starting belching immediately.
What are your thoughts?
Answered by Dr. Poorna Chandra K.S 25 minutes later
Hi and thanks for the follow up
If it is air that is causing the problems, then one had to rule out - Hypothyroidism, diabeties mellitus and vit B12 defeciencies as these are esily remediable causes.
Diaphragmatic exercises may appear difficult earlier and you will need help from proton pump inhibitors and prokinetics like itopride or cinatapride. Belching will be less if you avoid swallowing air.
You may also benifit from correcting the bacterial overgrowth by using an intetine specific antibiotic like rifaximin
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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