What is Endo Belly?
An uncomfortable feeling with pain, bloating and swelling of the abdomen, associated with endometriosis, is termed as Endo belly.
Endometriosis is a condition in which the tissue similar to the lining of the inside of the uterus is found outside the uterus. This condition affects more than 10 percent of females of reproductive age.(1) This condition can be a cause of infertility and can lead to the following gastrointestinal symptoms:
Endo belly is severely bloated and is related to endometriosis and is also often less talked about. Most females are often mistaken to be pregnant due to the bloated appearance.
Causes of Endo Belly
Endometriosis leads to the build-up of the tissue similar to the inner lining of the uterus. This tissue behaves the same ways as the endometrium does i.e. it builds up and breaks every month.
But as the endometrium has a way out of the uterus this tissue doesn’t. This leads to it getting trapped and inflaming and irritating the surrounding tissue, which can lead to the formation of scar tissue.
This can also lead to the tissue in the pelvis to stick together.
A study found that 96 percent of females with endometriosis experienced belly bloating.(2) Belly bloating due to endometriosis can have several reasons such as:
- Building up of endometrial like tissue causing inflammation. This can lead to swelling, water retention, and bloating.
- Formation of a cyst in the ovaries due to the endometrial tissue growing and covering the ovaries.
- Endometriosis can lead to small intestinal bacterial overgrowth and fibroids that may cause bloating.
- Constipation and gas can also result due to endometriosis and can be a reason for the bloating of the abdomen.
Symptoms of Endo belly
Severe bloating of the abdomen right before periods is the main symptom of Endo belly. It occurs due to the build-up of gas and air in the abdomen.
Endo belly can lead to discomfort, pain, and pressure in the abdomen. Some females experiencing Endo belly often say they look pregnant, even though they are not.
Endo belly is a symptom of endometriosis and those experiencing Endo belly have the following gastrointestinal symptoms:
- Gas pain
How Can Endo Belly Be Managed?
Endo belly can be managed by managing endometriosis. The symptoms can be managed by making small changes in the diet which include:
- Avoiding processed foods, red meat, gluten, dairy, and alcohol which are considered as inflammatory food.
- Avoiding wheat, legumes, and certain foods and vegetables to ease bloating.
- Drinking peppermint and ginger tea as they help relieve digestive issues.
- Increasing fiber intake to ease constipation.
Treatment Of Endometriosis Includes The Following:
Hormone or Birth Control Pills: These pills help regulate the hormone changes that lead to tissue growth outside the uterus.
Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone (GnRH): This hormone helps in blocking the production of hormones that stimulates the ovaries.
Danazol (Danocrine): It is a synthetic androgen that inhibits certain hormones.
Laparoscopy: It is a minimally invasive surgery done to remove the tissue growing outside the uterus.
Hysterectomy and Oophorectomy: It is a procedure of removing the uterus and ovaries. It is done on females with severe, untreatable pain and who have no plans of pregnancy in the future.
Getting the right diagnosis is very important if experiencing bloated belly. Other than endometriosis there are various conditions causing this symptom.
The other conditions include:
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Gall stones
- Ovarian cyst
- Celiac disease
- Premenstrual syndrome
- Ulcerative colitis
- Food intolerance
- Crohn’s disease
A doctor should be consulted for proper diagnosis and treatment of the condition.
A transvaginal ultrasound or an abdominal ultrasound can help a doctor determine whether a scar tissue, cyst or other issues are causing bloated belly.
Medication and dietary management can be a solution for Endo belly. Also treating the underlying condition of the symptoms is important. As there are numerous condition of a bloated abdomen a doctor can help diagnose it and prescribe the right treatment plan.