Often some women look to be pregnant! And on asking them if they are carrying twins, their answer surprises you! The sad truth is that; they may not be pregnant but rather experiencing painful bloating in the lower abdomen in pain, setting off physical and mental anguish. What you are seeing is an endo belly.
But what causes this endo belly? In this article, we are going to look at the symptoms, causes, and treatment of the endo belly.
What is an endo belly?
A woman is said to have an endo belly if she experiences swelling, bloating that is painful and uncomfortable. A patient can be fine in the morning, and the belly gets bigger and bigger until the evening when they can’t even button up. They can look six months pregnant by the end of the day.
An endo belly is associated with endometriosis. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, endometriosis happens when tissue similar to the lining of the uterus (womb) grows outside of the uterus. It may affect more than 11% of American women between 15 and 44.
This endometrial-like tissue builds up then breaks down and bleeds each month, just like the lining of your uterus. Since the tissue can’t find its way out of your body, it gets trapped. This causes irritation, inflammation of the surrounding tissue, and formation of scar tissue. This causes swelling, pain, bloating, and fluid retention.
Apart from making conception harder, endometriosis is painful, causes bleeding, physical discomfort, frustrating, upsetting, and demoralizing.
Let us look at the symptoms of an endo belly
Women with an endo belly look pregnant. This is severe bloating where the abdomen is filled with gas, making it look larger and hard to the touch. This is accompanied by discomfort, pain, and pressure in your abdomen and your back. All this can go for days, weeks, or just a few hours.
Endo’s belly has other gastrointestinal symptoms, such as:
Does endo belly cause weight gain?
Although weight gain may occur, there isn’t any formal link between weight gain and endometriosis weight gain may not be a direct symptom of endometriosis, but certain aspects and treatments may cause you to add on weight.
These may include: Hormonal imbalances, Endometriosis Treatment Drugs, pain, and more
High levels of estrogen for example might increase the weight of the person. When the body produces a large amount of estrogen, it outweighs the progesterone leading to weight gain.
Endometriosis Treatment Drugs
According to research, many women experience weight gain with progesterone, a synthetic hormone effective at treating endometriosis. A 2010 study showed that 40-50 percent of women gained weight due to progesterone treatment. The good thing is that; weight gained during treatment is often temporary.
Endo belly is characterized by severe pain. Although this may not directly cause weight gain, it brings about body inactivity. A person having an endo belly may not be able to exercise regularly because of the pain. This means more unburned calories, hence weight gain.
Can you get rid of endometriosis permanently/how can I reverse endometriosis naturally?
Since there is no cure for endo belly, treatment is aimed at easing the symptoms so that this condition does not interfere with your daily life. Treatments include pain medication, hormone therapy, herbal remedies, a medication that blocks the production of estrogen, and laparoscopic surgery to remove endometrial tissue.
Hysterectomy with removal of the ovaries used to be the most effective treatment for endometriosis but would bring about menopause. Experts are dropping this approach and instead focusing on the thorough removal of all endometriosis tissue.
Other remedies to endo belly include;
Drinking a lot of water
Water is good for inflammation, bloating, and your entire health. If you struggle to drink a lot of water, add fresh fruit to it to give it color and flavor. What is also good for weight loss. Learn how to lose weight through drinking water from our article here.
Light yoga stretches and moves can help pain and bloat feeling. We have several yoga poses, you can get them from our article “Yoga poses for weight loss”
Light walking and cardio
With bloating, the absolute favorite exercises one can do are going for a walk outside for fresh air, or just walk on a treadmill while watching TV.
When bloated, try to avoid gluten, dairy, soy, salt, sugars, fried foods, red meats, and alcohol. Adopt an endo diet and try to stay away from the foods and drinks that upset your stomach.
Keep a diary
Many of you may wonder how this is supposed to help. But documenting the day, time, and the food you eat every time you get a flare-up helps you to learn what you should stay away from.
How can I lose belly fat with endometriosis?
As we said, an endo belly may indirectly contribute to weight gain. Some lifestyle changes that can help you lose belly fat include;
Eating a balanced diet, limiting processed and refined foods, and putting much emphasis on whole foods like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. This gives the body all the nutrients it needs. At the same time, avoid empty calories, like added sugars, that cause weight gain.
Add exercise to your routine. According to the Mayo Clinic, experts recommend getting 150 minutes of moderate activity or 75 minutes of more vigorous activity each week to maintain and lose weight.
What exercises can I do with endometriosis?
Exercise releases the feel-good hormones (endorphins), improves blood flow, reduces estrogen levels, and increasing anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects in the body. This will help to manage inflammation, pain, and disease.
The guarding mechanism brought about by the pain due to endometriosis stiffens the pelvic floor, abdominal wall, and hip flexors. Exercise will therefore help to lengthen and strengthen these muscle groups. Exercises such as; Pilates, yoga, wall side bend stretch, seated glute stretch, and seated hip flexor stretch can be fantastic to help these muscle groups to release.
Exercises to avoid having been diagnosed with endo belly include;
High-impact exercises e.g. Running/burpees
Slowly, you can return to high-impact exercise after the body goes through rest and recovery. Talk of an Exercise Physiologist before you return to the exercise that you used to do
When should you see a doctor?
If you frequently get a bloated abdomen accompanied by pain and lasts longer than a couple of days, immediately see the doctor to get the right diagnosis of the bloating. To diagnose the cause of the bloating, your doctor can either conduct a pelvic exam for cysts or scars behind the uterus.
An abdominal ultrasound can also be conducted and images from inside the pelvic can help the doctor to tell whether scar tissue, cysts, or other issues are causing the endo belly.
What happens if this condition is untreated?
If left untreated, endometriosis can cause health complications that are likely to be fatal.
Examples of potential complications from untreated endometriosis include:
Ovarian cysts: causing pelvic pain and heavy or irregular periods.
Problems with urination: as it affects the bladder
Dysmenorrhoea (pain during menstruation)
Dyspareunia (painful intercourse)
Lower abdominal pain
An endo belly is a painful, uncomfortable swelling and bloating of the abdominal region brought about by endometriosis. Although the endo belly is painful and can affect your quality of life, it’s not a fatal disease. The remedies we have discussed above are worth trying and may help soothe your symptoms.
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