Monday, May 8, 2017

bloating and body image...

As a gastroparesis patient, one of the biggest and hardest things for me to deal with on a daily basis is bloating and distention. I. CAN'T. STAND. IT. I'm not talking about bloating that takes place for a few days a month. I'm talking about bloating that takes place after every meal. It is almost as if I can just look at food and I will start to bloat.

Bloating has been an everyday thing that I have had to learn to deal with. I may sit down to eat something "GP sized" and not too long afterwards, I could pass for being in my second trimester of pregnancy. After dealing with the bloating and distention day in and day out for years, it has really impacted my perception of myself. I am automatically drawn to notice my bloating when I look in the mirror. To me, it is a much bigger deal than what it really is. In so many words, I make a mountain out of a molehill. With this disease, I feel like one of the biggest misconceptions that we deal with, is how the bloating and distention affects our personal perception of ourselves. This is something that is not addressed and talked about enough.

Let me address any conclusions that may be drawn from reading this. I am not anorexic, bulimic or suffer from body dysmorphic disorder. I have been tested for SIBO multiple times. Bloating is just something that I physically experience and feel. I love to eat. I am constantly making a list of foods in my head that I want to try and eat. The silver lining to having gastroparesis for me, is that it has made me love and appreciate food in a way that I didn't before.

Whenever I had my ileostomy placed, it totally changed how my body bloats and how it feels to be bloated. Before my ileostomy, I would bloat all throughout my abdominal area. Now the majority of the bloating is centered right across the middle of my stomach. I have spoken to my doctors about this. The change in the location of the bloating is due to where my ileostomy was placed and how my small intestines lie. I will notice pressure behind my ostomy which can be uncomfortable in addition to the fullness from the bloating. My abdominal muscles and walls have weakened as a result of pregnancy and various surgeries.

I was recently reading about models. As we all know, models have a strict diet and exercise routine. Before a runway show, a model will go on a liquid diet for days. The day of the show, they will abstain from any liquids. All of this is in an effort to have a flat, chiseled out stomach free from any bloating or distention that may be caused by consuming foods or liquids. As my doctor said this past week, it you drink or eat something, it has to go somewhere in your body (your stomach and intestines). Your body is going to make secretions. You're going to change in size regardless of your medical condition. Whenever I read about the models' pre-show regime, I was shocked. Why in the world would you want to refrain from drinking or eating to look that way? You know whenever they walk down the runway, that they have to feel somewhat weakened and possibly suffer from a dehydration headache. As GP patients, we have strict and limited diets and are often unable to eat. Why would you purposely want to do that to yourself in order to look better? I simply do not understand it. Society has placed such emphasis on our physical, outward appearance and less about what is on the inside. After reading and seriously thinking about it, why do I personally let the bloating get to me? It really isn't that big of a deal.


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