I'm a 24-year old female. This has been going on for months now. Not a single night goes by where I don't just want to curl up and die. I cry almost every day about how sick I feel, it's completely destroying my life. Here's what's been going on:
Every time I eat, I get huge amounts of air/gas movement back up through my esophagus. It flat out does not matter what I eat, nor to some extent how much. Obviously, certain foods are worse than others, and larger meals are worse than small ones, but there is absolutely no such thing as a food that does not cause this problem for me. I don't exactly burp, at least not in the way most people do. I think it's the basically the same mechanism, but a different valve. Specifically, I really think it's my lower esophageal sphincter (LES). Even though I don't burp, the release of air pressure has the same relief, at least temporarily. But this valve action can happen 10-20 times a minute for upwards of 3 hours after a meal. I've got nausea occasionally for a long time, but lately it's been worse. Some mornings after breakfast, I get very nauseous and double over with stomach pain.
But the bigger problem is the unbelievable amount of bloating/swelling/abdominal distension, whatever you want to call it. This also happens with every single meal, though it's worse at night (maybe I eat more at dinner, maybe food isn't moving through my digestive tract the way it should and it's built up by the evening, I don't know). Regardless, the bloating is so intense I have nightmares of my stomach literally rupturing under the pressure. My stomach swells up so much I look pregnant; my belly button will start protruding, veins pop out, it's honestly terrifying. It keeps me up a lot of the night, and some mornings I wake up still feeling bloated from the night before.
No amount of Gas-Ex, Tums, Gaviscon, Pepto Bismol, digestive enzymes, peppermint oil, garlic oil, ginger supplements, L-Glutamine, or any other over the counter medication has been at all helpful, nor has a round of antibiotics or anti-fungal treatment been effective.
I have these weird lumps on my abdomen that protrude more and become very tender when I'm bloated. An ultrasound looked like they were lymph nodes, but I'm not entirely convinced there isn't a hernia, considering how much my navel will protrude and how I can forcibly push it back in. But the ultrasound did not show a hernia.
My docs are stumped. I do have Crohn's, but it's not really active at the moment and it's very mild anyway. I had a barium CT scan that showed that my colon was completely distended, I was so constipated. My doctor ordered me to do a round of GoLytely (colonoscopy prep, FUN) which didn't help at all. Since then (that was probably 5 months ago now, maybe more), taking probiotics and laxatives has helped me stay sort of regular, but the bloating continues to get worse. I've had a CT enterography, two gastric emptying studies, and a slew of blood work. My gluten test was "equivocal"; I've been gluten-free for about 5 weeks now and no change whatsoever. I also cut out artificial sweetener just over a week ago, and there's definitely been no change since then either. This is killing me. On good nights I feel like I'm going to die. On bad ones, I want to. I can't live like this anymore, someone please offer me some advice.