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Internist
Internist, Board Certified Physician
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 4766
Experience:  Int. Med., Gastroenterology. Fellow American College of Physicians. Trained, located in the U.S.
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I have had a constant distended abdomen for the last 6

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I have had a constant distended abdomen for the last 6 months,and look 6-7 months pregnant. I am 5'7" and have always been a size 8 /10 but now cannot get these sizes over mt stomach. The GP suggested IBS,and have seen a dietician,but her suggestions(reduce coffee intake)has not helped.I have had pre cancerous cells on my cervix removed twice(CIN3 )and have a friend who had similar symptons to me and had ovarian cysts,and am concerned that something more sinister is being missed with the ibs diagnosis,and no further tests(scan etc)
Hello,

Thank you for your question.

You most likely to have IBS. if you are concerned about fluid you may ask your doctor to water a simple ultrasound of the abdomen. This will show if you have fluid or not. Read the following about IBS. it may help you to understand it better.

With IBS you need to make sure no other serous diseases are present. Some serious diseases may present with bleeding or weight loss. This means you may need to have tests such as colonoscopy, possibly biopsy, barium X-Rays and stool analysis for infection to rule out other diseases such as celiac sprue, colitis, infection, or tumor. With IBS no physical abnormalities are found. This is why it is called a functional disease.

Once these tests are done, and they are up to the your doctor's discretion, this diagnosis is made. If your symptoms are very suggestive of IBS your doctor may not want to perform every test.

You may have IBS-diarrhea predominant, constipation predominant or mixed symptom IBS. All types are accompanied by discomfort in the abdomen.

In constipation predominant, you need to take adequate fluids, fiber and bulk in the diet, 2 tbls. twice a day of a water soluble psyllium product such as Metamucil or Citrucel. Also salad twice a day. You should progress slowly to avoid cramps and gas.

In diarrhea predominant, ispaghula husks 2-3 sachets daily, anti-diarrheal agents such as Imodium or Lomotil can be used. Anti-spasmotics such as hyoscine OTC may be tried but have side effects. Anti-depressants have possible use as does peppermint oil (200 mg capsules 2-3/day).

Probiotics, good bacteria, such as Activia may be helpful in both types.

There is no scientific evidence to support alternative medicine options.

Some foods may make symptoms worse and you must exclude those that have a bad effect. Some examples are beans, cabbage, broccoli, carbonated beverages and dairy products. Small frequent meals instead of three large meals may help. For gas and bloating, OTC meds containing simethicone ( Gas-X Mylicon) may help.

Behavioral therapy such as bowel training and psychotherapy may help in some severe cases.

Here is an informative website:

http://www.iffgd.org/

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Customer: replied 8 years ago.
I am not convinced it is IBS,as the symptoms came on abruptly,after a short course of high dose steroids after being diagnosed with APMPE (infection that cause my body to attack to my retina),but was only on these for a few weeks.My diet is good(balanced,and mostly vegetarian),but my diet hasnt changed. I am not happy with a diagnosis of IBS without further tests to rule other illnesses out,as IBS is left to trial and error. I have had several auto immune illnesses over the last 3 years,and feel I am losing control of my health,and have constantly been mis diagnosed,and therfore conditions have been left untreated until the damage is severe,and am concerned this is going to be another example of this ,with potentially serious consequences. My stomach is incerdibly uncomfortable,and feels like I am heavily pregnant(despite having had 4 children,my stomach and waist have remained flat and small),and cannot put my complete change of body shape down to this.
I can't disagree with you. Get other tests. As mentioned it Is often a diagnosis of exclusion.

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