We’ve all been there. Some gassy veggies at a dinner meeting, one too many aerated drinks at the movies or the monthly premenstrual feeling of heaviness. Bloating is quite common and we all experience it in some form or the other. But sometimes bloating can be a sign of something much more serious. Especially when it is accompanied by the following symptoms and signs.
Rarely, when bloating is accompanied with pain all over the abdomen and a few other symptoms like feeling full soon as you begin to eat or having to pee or poop much more than usual, it can be a sign of something much more serious like ovarian cancer. The pain in this case comes from a buildup of fluid in the abdominal cavity, a condition called ascites. Sometimes the pressure in your abdomen is from an ovarian mass.
The important thing to do in such cases is to have yourself checked by your gynecologist. More often than not, these symptoms may be from benign conditions like fibroids. Your doctor will advise a transvaginal ultrasound and a blood test to rule out malignancy.
Unexplained Weight Loss
Celiac disease, an autoimmune condition where a reaction to gluten leads to damage to the intestinal lining, plagues 1% of the population. Statistics also suggest that surprisingly, 83% of Americans with this illness are wrongly diagnosed or not diagnosed at all. The most common signs of this illness are unexplained weight loss and diarrhea, although many people have other non-gastrointestinal symptoms like a rash, anemia, headaches or the beginnings of
If you have similar symptoms you will need to see a gastroenterologist, who will run a battery of tests and possibly do an endoscopy to rule out this illness. The treatment involves a diet strictly gluten-free.
Abdominal Cramps And Fever
We usually dismiss abdominal cramping especially around the time of our period as menstrual cramps. But if these cramps are on the lower left side of the abdomen, and are accompanied by a fever, you may have a condition called diverticulitis, where small inflamed pockets develop on the lower part of your colon. It’s important that you see your doctor immediately if you have abdominal cramps accompanied by a fever. Your doctor will run tests on you and probably do a CT scan to figure out the root of the problem. If the diagnosis is diverticulitis, the treatment is antibiotics and a liquid diet until the bowel heals.
Foul Smelling Vaginal Discharge
Sometimes, sexually transmitted illnesses, like chlamydia or gonorrhea, if left untreated, travel up the reproductive tract into the fallopian tubes, causing fever, chills and even infertility. If you have abdominal cramps or a mild pelvic pain or irregular bleeding, you must see your gynecologist ASAP. Your doctor will conduct an investigation to determine how far the infection has traveled. The investigation may involve ultrasounds or a laparoscopy in which a tiny camera is inserted through a cut in your belly button, to check your reproductive organs internally. He may then put you on antibiotics if you test positive for the infection. Rarely, surgery may be required.
Blood In Loose Stools
If you experience bloating along with frequent abdominal pain and a runny stomach (with blood in the stools) it may be a sign of Inflammatory Bowel Disease such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, which result in an inflammation of your digestive tract. You may even experience non- GI symptoms such as blurred vision, eye pain, a rash or constant fatigue. Your physician may refer you to a GI specialist who will then run a battery of tests on you. These may be to look for inflammation or parasitic infestation. He might even advise an endoscopy or biopsy of parts of your GI tract.
There are hosts of treatment options available for Inflammatory Bowel Disease, and apart from the medication, even dietary changes help with the symptoms. You might be asked to add tofu and tempeh to your diet, as soy protein helps reduce the inflammation.