by Tamer Seckin, MD | Posted on January 11, 2021
Endo belly is a term that describes the extremely uncomfortable and severe bloating symptom specifically related to endometriosis that is often dismissed, misdiagnosed, and disguised as IBS by primary practitioners and GI doctors due to similarities in symptoms.
Endometriosis is a disease where the cells that are normally inside the uterus, making up the inner lining (the endometrium), lie outside their normal location and thus can grow on the external lining of other organs in the abdomen and pelvis, primarily female reproductive organs and can spread or attach to other organs such as the intestines. These lesions can only be identified with laparoscopic surgery, whereas IBS or IBD is mostly “internal” diseases affecting the inside of the intestine. Endometriosis can be easily forgotten, dismissed, and the diagnosis delayed if initial workup with gastrointestinal endoscopy and colonoscopy point to another diagnosis, especially if the patient mainly has GI symptoms. During the Virtual Patient Conference for The Endometriosis Foundation of America in October of 2020, Dr. Seckin stated, “IBS is BS when it’s Endometriosis and is the main culprit in a misdiagnosis that causes years of delay”.
By definition, Endometriosis is endometrium-like tissue outside of the uterine cavity or as Dr. Seckin uniquely defines it, “a stem cell-orchestrated, estrogen-dependent fibrosis and inflammation in reaction to endometrial-like tissue”.
Tissues that grow outside of the uterus due to endometriosis, as they are hormonally responsive, attempt to replicate the menstrual process of shedding the lining of the uterus. However, there is no exit for the tissue—this causes inflammation, swelling, and irritation, which over time can form scar tissue. Endometriosis can also cause increased water retention resulting in weight gain accompanying the bloat one may feel. As a result, the inflamed tissue can cause scarring and link together furthering irritation and discomfort.
With endo belly, women experience a constant feeling of pressure, gut irritation, and tightness in the lower abdominal region varying in length of time prior to menstruation. There is a notable distinction between IBS and endo belly physically as the belly chronically swells, primarily in the lower abdominal region, similar to a three-month pregnant belly that is tense to the touch. The gastrointestinal tract can be affected by irritation and inflammation with symptoms of gas pain or cramps, nausea, constipation, and diarrhea.
Health is directly linked to food and endometriosis is no exception. There is no cure for endometriosis but there are certain foods that can aid in reducing and managing symptoms such as endo belly and drastically improving overall health. Changes in diet include:
Heat pads with timers can help ease endometriosis flare-ups and endo belly pain by relaxing muscles. It is recommended that heating pads are used with caution and not to excess as they can cause burns and skin irritation if used for too long at a high setting or with direct skin contact.
When should you see a doctor:
Early-onset symptoms of endometriosis:
To start, review symptoms with a primary practitioner or trusted medical professional as they can refer you to a specialist and assist in the process. Dr. Seckin goes into grave detail about the importance of setting high standards when seeking an endometriosis specialist in his book, “The Doctor Will See You Now”. Gynecologists that perform the endometriosis surgery are not necessarily specialists and this commonly results in laparoscopy where the procedure consists of direct burning of lesions with lasers or energy as opposed to removing the lesion entirely with deep excision using traditional surgical equipment that can have a lasting relief and is less likely to create adhesions during the healing process.
Treatment alternatives: Birth control pills (low estrogen) suppresses symptoms and maintains balance in hormones to stabilize and disable endometriosis growth or spread, nutritional therapy cutting inflammatory foods will eliminate or improve gut symptoms, acupuncture stimulates targeted muscles, nerves, and tissues to ease endo pain, over-the-counter pain medication and at the last resort, painkillers that can provide instant relief of pain but can cause gastric upset.
The gold standard: Treating the underlying condition with deep-excision surgery.
Other bloated belly causes:
Seek medical attention if you have a high fever, vomiting, bloody stools, or rapid weight loss.
Painful bowel symptoms for endometriosis patients:
Often painful bowel movements can be problematic for endometriosis patients during or just before menstruation. Irregularities include:
Treating adhesions from scar tissues on organs can help reduce complications to the bowel and endo belly bloating. Adhesiolysis (cutting away scar tissue) surgery needs to be carefully determined with medical professionals for treatment as there is a risk of recurrence.
There aren’t enough stars for Seckin Endometriosis. They deserve 100/ 5. I want to make sure every woman right now who is looking for help, who is looking for a doctor and is scared and confused knows this is where you need to be. It doesn’t matter if you have to come from the other side of the United States or from the other side of the world, I can guarantee it will be worth it. Every member of their…
I’ve seen many obgyns over the years explaining my monthly symptoms during my period...but eventually it became a daily struggle with these pain. It feels like a poke here and there near my right pelvic region. I was given birth control pills for the past ten years but honestly, it didn’t help at all. I was in bed whenever I had my period. I was previously sent to GI doctors for possible appendicitis but it was ruled out from imagings…
Dr.Seckin is so much more than a surgeon. His passion for helping endometriosis sufferers and determination to improve the quality of life in all of his patients is undeniable. I remember when my gynecologist first told me I needed a laparoscopy. Her exact words were "I can do the surgery, but if you were MY daughter- I'd send you to him." From the first day I met him he took the time to explain endometriosis to me since I knew…
I was there for hysterectomy but then I found out that I also had endometriosis.My both surgeries went excellent and I feel great!.I am so thankful to Dr.Seckin and all his team for making my journey smooth!
I am a physician who suffered from deep infiltrative endometriosis. I needed laparoscopic surgery, so I went to see my former gynaecologist and he performed the procedure (a surgery which he supposedly does hundreds of times a year) last November. I had severe pain again when I had my period in January and was advised to go on taking a low hormone dose anticoncipient pill. My symptoms came back quickly and got worse in a few months’ time. I went…
After years of excessively painful periods, a serious loss of quality of life, and a series of uninformed and uninterested doctors, Dr. Seckin and Dr. Goldstein turned my life around. I was told I woke up from my surgery almost a year ago with a smile on my face, and I haven't stopped since. Before I heard of Dr. Seckin, I was experiencing almost daily terrible pain to the point where I had difficulty walking, inability to eat, inexplicable weight…
Dr Seckin and his team gave me back my life! Tomorrow will be 1 month since my surgery and I feel great. Dr. Seckin, Dr Liu, and Dr Goldstein are not only beyond words talented and amazing Doctors, but they are also genuinely wonderful and caring people. I cannot say enough great things about Holly, Asiye and Kim as well. They were all caring, kind, patient, and took the time to listen to me and explain anything I needed to…