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Obesity and Weight Management

Bloating/weight influctuations

01/16/2007

Question:

Hi, I`m been having weight influctuations during the day. I would weak up lighter, but as the day progressed, despite of not eating, my scale would go up 3 to 5 pounds in a day. My clothes and body would reflect that gain. I got through this cycle each day. After each meal (especially carbohydrate rich or even lettuce) I would get bloated, my belly would swell up, get hard and I feels so uncomfortable, this will last for several hours, most of the time, I`ll have to walk for an hour, or go to sleep and hope I feel better in the morning. I`m not constipated, so that`s can`t be the issue, I drink about 6 glasses or more water each day (quality filtered water). I also have to add that I do have a thyroid, which was destroyed (not surgery, something you take as a liquid). Therefore, I take Synthroid for life. I haven`t had my thryoid checks in a year and half, but I`m going to do that. If you have an answer to this question, I really need to hear it.

Answer:

You have a number of on-going symptoms and it is obvious you do not feel well. It is possible that your thyroid gland may contribute to your symptoms, but there could be something else going on. I recommend you set up an appointment with your physician for a full medical check-up and lab studies as soon as possible.

There are a couple of questions here. One is related to weight changes during the day, the other to bloating and discomfort after each meal.

Weight will rise and fall during the day due to normal ingestion of food and fluid. Water retention can raise body weight slightly. Certain foods, especially salty foods, make this normal up-and-down more striking. In some conditions, such as cardiovascular or kidney disease, water retention can be worse than normal as the body holds on to water in the tissues.

If this is a new problem, it would be a good idea to see the doctor for an exam. Because the dosing of Synthroid may be important for this, it is another reason to touch base with the doctor.

Bloating and discomfort after meals is very common. It could be the result of “gastroparesis”, a slowing of stomach emptying. This condition frequently is tied to diabetes, so that needs to be evaluated. Similar types of complaints may also occur with a stomach infection called “helicobacter pylori”, a common cause of ulcers. Tests are available to diagnose this bacteria. A third condition that can cause symptoms of bloating and pain is “non-ulcer dyspepsia”, which results from an abnormal squeezing motion of the stomach as it works to empty a meal. Finally, “irritable bowel syndrome”, a similar abnormality of intestinal motion, may also cause this type of complaint in some people. Some of the things that can be tried for bloating after meals include avoiding fatty foods and very large, high-calorie meals. They slow stomach emptying.

Try several small meals per day. Continue to drink water, but in small amounts frequently. Also, continue to exercise after meals. Most importantly, to work through this list of problems, see your doctor for a complete evaluation. One of the first things the doctor will do is to check for any medications that might cause the problem.

Good luck.

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Response by:

Robert D Murray, MD Robert D Murray, MD
Clinical Professor of Health Behaviors & Health Promotion
Retired Professor of Human Nutrition
College of Education and Human Ecology
The Ohio State University

Ihuoma U Eneli, MD Ihuoma U Eneli, MD
Associate Clinical Professor of Pediatrics
Medical Director of the Center for Healthy Weight and Nutrition
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University