carol5

Watermelon Stomach?

15 posts in this topic

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Hi all. I have read bits about watermelon stomach and have seen some people post about it briefly. How is this identified? I read somewhere there are red markings across the stomach area that show it. But do you have to have this? What else is involved in this. I have crest/ systemic scleroderma...and have a variety of different things happening all the time. I noticed my stomach area getting larger or fuller....hard to describe. I thought maybe my age.....but wanted more info.

 

Thanks in advance for any help.

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Hi Carol,

 

I can't answer your question from personal experience, but here is a link from our Sclero A to Z website that provides information about Watermelon Stomach

It gives a description, information on how it is diagnosed and treatment options. I hope this helps.

 

Warm wishes,

Heidi

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Hi,

I have watermelon stomach. I like the other name for it better, Gastric Antral Vascular Ectasia. Mine was discovered in the fall of 2004. I had a major GI bleed and had to get 3 transfusions. It was diagnosed due to an endoscopy. The pictures look just like a striped watermelon. The lesions can bleed off and on. I am not allowed to take any anti-inflammatories, steroids. I feel nauseated all the time and I have horrible acid reflux. I am on 3 medications for it. Does this help any?

Nan

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Hi Nan, I just saw this post re: Watermellon Stomach. I have those symptoms down to a T. I don't have any bleeding, but I have really bad acid reflux, nausea, bloated feeling most of the time. I don't have to eat much to have the bloated feeling. Do you have to have the bleeding for it to be considered Watermellon Stomach? I am due to have a upper GI Scope to see what damage has been caused from the acid reflux. Thanks so much for your info.

 

Jackie S.

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I'd like to mention one thing, which is that a lot of people quite understandably think Watermelon Stomach refers to a really large stomach, a stomach shaped like a watermelon, or a stomach with stretch marks (like stripes of a watermelon).

 

However, Watermelon Stomach doesn't refer to any of that. You can have a perfectly small or flat or unblemished stomach on the outside. It refers to only bleeding on the INSIDE lining of the stomach. It can't be detected through any outward symptom. It is usually discovered through blood tests, since it eventually causes anemia, and sometimes the blood tests are run since people are feeling more rundown than usual.

 

Watermelon stomach is a very rare complication of systemic scleroderma. It is treatable. But it is not something most of us would ever develop, and it is my understanding (although I'm not a doctor and have no medical training at all, so please correct me if I'm wrong) that the anemia it produces would be detected in a normal blood panel.


Warm Hugs,

 

Shelley Ensz

Founder and President

International Scleroderma Network (ISN)

Hotline and Donations: 1-800-564-7099

 

The most important thing in the world to know about scleroderma is sclero.org.

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Carol,

I have "watermelon stomach" or GAVE as Nan called it. it is basically small blood vessels that start to erode through the stomach wall and leak slowly, hence the low blood count. I was diagnosed in the summer 2004 after complaining of severe fatigue to my doctor..he drew labs and discovered I was seriously anemic. Received blood, IV Iron and was referred to a GI doctor who performed an endoscopy and dignosed it . I received 3 Argon Laser TX which stopped the bleeding for 2 years. When I look at the big scheme of things with scleroderma, for me this is one of the minor problems. The interesting thing is that when I came home after being diagnosed 2 years ago and "Googled" Watermelon Stomach, it was associated with a high rate of Scleroderma. Since I really didn't think I had other symptoms and my GI and PC didn't mention it, I ignored it. When I first visited my Rheumatologist a few months ago, she said the diagnosis of GAVE should have been a "dead giveaway" I had Scleroderma. I try to use this experience to educate my other doctors and others in healthcare as most know very little if anything about GAVE or Scleroderma. Good Luck Carol.

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Carol,

So sorry I got carried away with the Watermelon Stomach discussion. I too experienced a larger/fuller stomach from the beginning even though I was losing weight. No one really had an answer, but I have discoverd that for me it has alot to do with my eating/digestion. I started eating much smaller meals several times a day and make sure I walk around or at least sit up for a couple of hours after eating. It has greatly improved. I know dieticians have been saying this is a much healthier way to eat anyway. I also beleive the actual skin in my abdominal region has thickened markedly due to the disease.

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Shelley,

You are right it doesn't mean your stomach sticks out. Although, mine is usually bloated, but it's not because of GAVE. My hemoglobin went down to 6.1. They hospitalized me and did the scope and found the lesions. I didn't have any treatment done to them because they weren't bleeding at that time. I was put on iron supplements for a bit. I haven't been on iron since February 2006 and my hemoglobin is staying steady. I feel very fortunate. Many people with this have to get frequent transfusions and frequent surgeries.

Nan

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Jackie,

The lesions don't have to be actively bleeding to be diagnosed. They show up even when they aren't bleeding. If you have an endoscopy your GI doctor will recognize it. Let me know what happens.

Nan

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Sadie,

Yes, it is a dead giveaway that you have Scleroderma. My doctor at Johns Hopkins as good as said that. My primary care physician mentioned that I could have CREST in 2003, but wouldn't definitely say it. My rheumatologist thought I could have scleroderma but wouldn't commit to it. I said well almost every time you type in watermelon stomach it has scleroderma with it. Oh well, it's interesting to hear of others that have it. Take care!

Nan

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:)

 

Thank you all for the information. I am sorry for those of you have this and my thoughts will be with you. I have other things ...many other things but that is not one of them. Thank you for explaining it to me. I have Tangeletasias all over my body...they are very red. I also had my colon removed in 93, have pericardial effusion and gerd, raynauds, osteopenia, severe arthritis in hips and had knee problems which required surgery. I would love to help anyone who needs to ask questions and I will watch closely so I can help all others.

 

Thanks again and please......keep smiling all...we can beat this.

 

carol

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Carol,

 

I just read your article on GAVE. I too have this dreaded problem and have been writing to look for others who have experienced this. My doctors all say I am one for the books, but I don't want to believe that. I started complaining of being tired all the time in May of 2005. They my stomach started bothering me with sharp pains, bloating and constipation. I felt awful every day. My hemoglobin was droping and by August 2005 I ended up in the emergency room with a level of 4.5. They found out by doing a EGD that I had GAVE or Watermelon stomach and that was the start of my cauterizations. I have had just about 1 per month since then totaling 12 and 12 transfusions so far.

 

I'm on my second GI doctor because my first one was just frustrated and confused. Now my second doctor seems like he is starting in that direction but I think he will hang on and have better results. (I least I hope).

 

Good luck to everyone.

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Thank you Nan for your information, sorry I didn't get back to you sooner, I have been having trouble with my computer.

 

Take Care

Jackie S.

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:D

Hello,

 

I was diagnosed with watermelon stomach in 1999. Small veins in the stomach lining come to the surface and bleed. They form a patter not unlike the outside of a watermelon.

 

I take iron tablets daily and although my iron stores are at the bottom of the range my haemoglobin in fine. Have had some bad times wihen the latter is low. Have had 2 laser treatments and later 5 APC (argon plasma coagulant) treatments. The problem is under control.

 

Best wishes

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Hi again Carol5,

 

Your enlarged stomach is probably not from watermelon stomach, but one of the members of Scleroderma Queenland Australia tells me she has this problem because of internal collagen. I have fibrosis of the lungs, esophagus problems and Crest. as well as fibromyalgia.

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