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Hi. I'm a 55 year old female weighing 8 stone 9 pounds and have an active lifestyle. For over 2 years I have been suffering with severe abdominal distension and varying levels of pain/discomfort. I am getting near the end of my tether with frustration at what is going on with my digestive system. The distension occurs every day from mid-afternoon onwards. By the end of the evening my girth can be up to 2 inches larger than it was in the morning. My abdomen feels hard and swollen as if it is pumped up with gas and is very uncomfortable. When I lie down in my bed on my back, initially the discomfort eases a little. However after about 5 or 10 minutes, I feel pronounced 'movement' in my abdomen - a sort of popping and shifting feeling - which rapidly becomes uncomfortable. If I lie on my side (either right or left) the movement quietens down a bit and I am sometimes able to pass a little wind which can ease the discomfort temporarily. (During the day I seem unable to pass any wind at all.) However the discomfort then builds up again and I have to turn onto my other side for it to ease a bit. This can go on for ages. I have noticed that if I lie on my right side for a while and then turn on to my back I have a bulge in my abdomen on the left hand side, and vice versa. Is this gas build-up? Can gas switch sides like that?
It all started out of the blue in January 2015. At first I thought I just had a stomach bug but after 10 days it was no better so I went to the doctor. Blood tests were all normal and I was prescribed Lansoprazole to reduce acid which didn't help. This was then stopped while I was tested for H. pylori which was negative. I was then prescribed Ranitidine and referred for an endoscopy. However before this could take place I had an episode of excruciating pain high up in my abdomen late one evening and ended up in A&E. An x-ray showed a greatly enlarged stomach but a CT scan a few hours later was normal and by this time the distension had gone. The next day I had the endoscopy which was also normal although the scope was unable to get beyond D2.
To to cut a very long story short, since then I have had:
a barium meal - normal
an ultrasound scan for gallstones - which I do have although they don't appear to cause me any pain
an MRI small bowel - again showed an enlarged stomach and also some food still in the stomach despite fasting, otherwise motility was normal
a hydrogen breath test for lactose intolerance and SIBO - negative
a gastric emptying scan - showed slightly delayed stomach emptying, a 'lazy stomach' rather than gastroparesis
gut-focussed hypnotherapy - didn't help
have undertaken abdominal Pilates exercises, working up to 30 minutes a day - didn't help
low FODMAP diet - didn't make any difference to my symptoms
We now seem to have run out of ideas. I have discovered that by keeping to a low fat diet I can pretty much stop the intense upper abdomen pain but the distension and lower abdomen discomfort continue. Throughout this whole ordeal my bowel movements have been totally normal, both in regularity and consistency - there is no hint of diarrhoea or constipation.
Does anyone have any idea what might be going on with my digestive system? Any help or information gratefully received. Thank you.
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