If misery looked like something, I’m sure it will resemble my midriff. Of all the love-hate relationships I had, none has been as enduring as mine with my belly. On bad days, it looks like I’m sneaking a small watermelon inside my t-shirt. Endo belly may seem like a minor inconvenience, considering the other worries women with endometriosis have to face. But let’s just say I hate being asked if I am pregnant… CONSTANTLY!
While I know that a diet or exercise may not cure my endometriosis, I needed to know if there are some lifestyle changes I could make to calm this brat of a belly down. So I took all my questions to Dr Veena Aurangabadwala, Gynaecologist at the Zen Multispeciality Hospital in Chembur.
Q1. Doctor, why is my belly boated?
A: Endometriosis is a condition where the tissues similar to those lining the uterus tends to grow where it is not supposed to like the places can be ovaries, fallopian tubes, and even outside the uterus.
Did you know that the tissue may be rarely seen on other parts of the body as well?
Endo belly is an uncomfortable, painful, swelling, and bloating that’s related to endometriosis.
You will be shocked to know that the endo “baby bump” is uncomfortable and may steal your peace of mind. Endo belly occurs when the buildup of endometrial-like tissue leads to inflammation in one’s abdomen. Yes, you have heard it right!
This can invite bloating. Furthermore, endometrial-like tissue may grow in one’s ovaries and then form cysts, and that may also cause bloating. Endometriosis will also lead to improper digestion, constipation, and gas that will make you feel bloated.
Q2: But is a swollen belly always a sign of endometriosis?
A: You will have to confirm with your doctor and take treatment only after the diagnosis of endo belly. This is so because there are several other conditions wherein one can see a distended abdomen that is a swollen abdomen. Many other diseases and conditions result in swelling of the abdomen.
Women with endometriosis are at a greater risk of suffering from Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO), characterized by painful bloating, constipation, and painful bowel movements. Even fibroids or cysts may also lead to bloating.
Q3: How can I reduce the appearance of the endo belly?
A: Watch what you eat, get a good night’s sleep and stay hydrated by drinking a lot of water as this will help you de-bloat. Keep a tab on your gut health.
Try to cut down on various foods that can worsen your bloating. Bid adieu to alcohol, smoking, gluten, dairy, eggs, soy, red meat, preservatives, artificial sugars, and caffeine.
Try to adhere to a diet consisting of fresh fruits and vegetables. Are you afraid of working out when you feel bloated? Then, you are doing it all wrong!
Working out on a daily basis will help you overcome abdominal pain and discomfort. Exercising every day can enhance blood circulation, help you de-stress, and maintain nutrients and oxygen flow in the body. Massaging your belly can also do the trick here. Try to combat stress by doing yoga or meditation.
Q4, What mistakes am I making to worsen the bloating?
A: Remember mindful eating is a must. Do not eat foods that lead to gas like beans, lentils, sprouts, cabbage, asparagus, broccoli, carbonated drinks, onions, wheat, or kale. Eat food that is gut-friendly and easy to digest. Opt for salmon, bananas, watermelon, and fibre-rich food. Avoid, inflammatory, processed, oily, spicy, and junk food.
Q5. Any remedies to reduce endo belly?
A: Try to replace your soda with water, eat at regular intervals, limit your salt intake, opt for probiotics, you can use a hot bag over the stomach to reduce swelling and inflammation, take a relaxing warm bath, avoid wearing tight clothes over the abdomen, and walk every day.
For treatment of abdominal wall swellings related to endometriosis, please consult a Gynecologist, as you may require hormonal medications to treat them.