Monday July 16 2018

Do I have cancer?


By Dr Vincent Karuhanga

My stomach feels full all the time. I have taken charcoal tablets or even charcoal itself without help. Scans have shown there is no problem. What is the cause?

Dear Anita,
Each one of us once in a while may feel that the tummy is full even without having eaten or taken fluids for some time. That said, some people are plagued by a feeling of tummy fullness all the time, which may be due to medical conditions such as sinusitis, peptic ulcers, gall stones constipation, girdia lumbria infection, menopause, irritable bowel syndrome and lactose intolerance.
Sometimes eating too fast, dietary issues that include consumption of beans, green salads and fizzy drinks may be to blame.

The feeling of fullness may be due to too much abdominal gas or a tummy full of water. This so-called bloating may be painful or cause shortness of breath and loss of appetite if it is serious but is rarely a threat to life. Apparently, your tummy seems to be filled with gas, since water is more easily seen on ultrasound examination.
Any person with tummy bloating requires investigating the cause and dealing with it. Taking charcoal may help in mild cases, especially involving indigestion but if the cause is not identified and dealt with, the charcoal may only help turn the tongue or stool black.
Also, any sort of charcoal instead of pharmaceutically prepared charcoal, may be toxic and should therefore be avoided.

There are general ways one can deal with a gassy stomach, including eating slowly, exercising, soaking beans for at least 24 hours before cooking them, taking lots of fluids after taking foods with lots of fibre, avoiding foods that cause too much gas, and diluting dairy.
Persistent tummy bloating calls for checking out cancer of the pancreas, colon, and stomach (or for women ovary if the bloating is due to water).