Endometriosis occurs in a woman when her uterine tissue grows on other parts of the body besides the uterus. While it still functions as if it’s where it should be, it can cause severe pain and cramping, especially around your period.
If you do have endometriosis, you know the drill: You probably get heavy painful period or you might experience painful intercourse. But one of the absolute worst side effects of this condition? The bloat.
While most women, and even men, experience bloating from time to time, there’s no bloat like the endometriosis bloat. There’s even a term that’s been coined dedicated to endometriosis bloat: Endo Belly.
People who don’t get this severe of bloat might not truly understand just how bad it can be. Women who experience this symptom on the daily have recently starting uploading before-and-after photos of themselves to highlight just how much bloat Endo Belly can cause. See for yourself!
Endo Belly doesn’t just occur during your menstrual cycle or if you ate something that didn’t agree with you. It can happen totally sporadically, at any given day or time.
“Women in the general public may get bloating a day or two before their cycle, but endometriosis bloat can be more drastic and persist longer,” says Karli Goldstein, DO, consulting surgeon and medical advisory board member for the Endometriosis Foundation of America.
Dr. Goldstein says that Endo Belly can last for days or even weeks, or if you’re lucky, just a few hours. It can also increasingly get worse throughout the day and is most often worse at night time. The effects could be so extreme people might even mistake you for being pregnant!
“Frequently, patients will be fine in the morning, and it will get bigger and bigger until the evening, when they can’t button their pants,” she says. “You can look six months pregnant by the end of the day.”
Unfortunately, there’s no known reason for why Endo Belly occurs.
“We don’t know the exact reason why it happens,” Dr. Goldstein says. “There have been multiple studies, but there’s no good proof. Even though you can see visibly something’s happening, if we do a CT scan, there’s not really a tangible, finite reason it’s happening. It’s very frustrating for patients.”
Luckily, there are many things people who experience this painful symptom of endometriosis can do to lessen the bloat or reduce the chance of it happening.
First, make an appointment with an endometriosis specialist if you don’t already see one so that you can make sure the disease is under control. This professional can also recommend whether you need surgery or not, which might help with severe cases of bloat.
Additionally, try working anti-inflammatory foods into your diet, like tomatoes, nuts, fatty fish like salmon and fruits like strawberries or blueberries. Since experts believe that Endo Belly may be be a side effect of the intestines working overtime, these types of foods might help reduce the bloating.
If changing your diet doesn’t work, it might be time to see a dietitian. Ask your endometriosis specialist for a recommendation.
Do you or anyone you know have endometriosis and experience Endo Belly? What do you or they do to help ease the pain?