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Bloated Belly With COPD

When mom had a bloated belly with COPD, her skin felt tight and stretched. I remember how she would make a joke about looking pregnant, and cover her protruding belly with a loose fit blouse or shirt.

Managing bloating and abdominal discomfort

Often she felt uncomfortable and didn’t feel like eating or moving around. Not only that, but her appearance meant a lot to her and she didn’t pretty wearing oversized clothes.

We talked about bowel movements and diet, and even made some adjustments. She eventually took her problem to the doctor to see if there was something else going on. It seemed that there were a variety of causes and it took some time to find out how she could get relief from bloating.

We learned that mom had hyperextended lungs right after her diagnosis with COPD. It just made sense that some bloating was competition for room in her abdominal area. She had to grieve that, and accept that the only cure was to improve her posture and make space for her lungs.

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Mom didn’t really enjoy crunchy vegetables, but she loved a good salad. She usually used a head of iceberg lettuce with tomatoes and onions.

She discovered that darker greens caused her to have more gas on her stomach. It also caused it to be distended. We called it "star wars tummy" because you could hear her stomach growl as it processed the dark greens quickly.

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Dietary adjustments and lifestyle changes

The doctor began to talk about having irritable bowel syndrome and gave her a list of foods to try and eliminate. That was especially helpful because the types of bloating from gas came with painful stomach cramps. Moving around helped, but it was too painful to walk during those types of bloating episodes.

She and I talked about swallowing air. It was part of our conversation about choking while eating. She also had to pay more attention while sucking on hard candy after she stopped smoking.

Mom learned to slow down and notice how and when she swallowed, especially after she went on oxygen full time. This blog makes me laugh to remember all the times we talked too fast, or talked at the same time while enjoying a meal or a glass of tea together.

One thing I am really proud of is that mom quiet drinking any carbonated drinks except for certain occasions. She liked lemon lime soda or ginger ale when her stomach was upset.

Also, she loved strawberry pop on the 4th of July. She was so sure that it was a major cause of bloating that she quit keeping it in the house unless us kids were coming over.

The path to reducing bloating

Working on her posture and diet definitely helped her reduce bloating. She still struggled with occasional nausea and stomach pain.

Eventually her doctor recommended surgery. She had an out-patient gall bladder removal and slowly began to feel better.

Her bloating seemed to go down even more. Of course, her improved appetite caused weight gain, but that is another story.

For a bloated belly with COPD, it can be like solving a mystery case to find the cause. Mom was not a quitter and eventually reduced most of her bloating.

I wonder if any of you have the same problem?

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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