T Nation

Abdominal distension?

How is this called naturally? I remember hearing that it can be caused by long periods of over eating and obesity. Any other ideas?

Before I started working out, I was a little chunky, but definately not fat or obese. When I leaned out, my abdomen was distended though. I’ve been working my TA through different breathing and contraction excercises. It seems to be helping a lot, but I’m still interested in how this could have happened.

There are several possibilities.

  1. Visceral fat. This is fat stored in the abdominal cavity, rather than just under the skin. Following a proper diet and exercising will help to reduce this. Reducing stress supposedly helps get rid of this as well.

  2. Hypertrophied internal organs. This could be a result of a poor diet and generally high amount of toxins you’re exposed to. Organs grow to acomidate. So the liver will grow if needed. Other organs can do this as well, but the liver is the biggest organ inside you.

  3. I don’t even think I believe this one, but I’ll toss the idea out there anyhow. Some say that a poor diet full or processed foods, lack of flora, and a lack of mucus lining in the intestines (from poor diet) can lead to basically shit getting stuck in your intestines. Again, I’m not even sure if I buy this one, but it might be something to think about.

  4. Posture! If you stand the wrong way, your stomach might look distended even though it’s not. This would be letting your abs relax and letting your hips roll forward.

Hope this is of some help.

Thanks for the reply Morg. Unfortunately, I don’t know if any of those apply to me. My diet has consisted of clean and high quality food for the past 2-3 years. I was thinking along the lines of your organ theory, but I was thinking my stomach might be enlarged. If I’m correct, the stomach sits lower in the abdominal cavity then the liver. The problem seems to be most noticable in the lower abdominal region. Although I think that area is more succeptible to holding fat, it sticks out way further than the rest of my abdomen.

Maybe I’m over reacting. Maybe I just need to build better abs.

Regardless, thanks for the reply. I found it very interesting.

do you eat grains? how about low carb? i have heard that reducing your carb intake including grains can help get rid of abdominal bloating. not sure if that helps you, perhaps you’ve already tried that.

It probably has to do alot more than you think with your posture. If you’re sporting an anterior pelvic tilt, you should work to correct it as soon as possible. Check out Marc McDougal’s “Militant Hypertrophy” article from a few issues back if you don’t know what this means. Posture is more important than most people might think. It goes largely overlooked until there’s pain apparent. All-Time Mistake Numero Uno.

Actually, your liver and stomach are at roughly the same height in your abdomen. The stomach is on your left and the liver is on the right side. Both are up close to the bottom part of your rib cage. The lower part of your abdomen consists of your small intestine (and if you go farther down) your large intestine.

I’m not making a point. Just thought I’d state that for clarification. :slight_smile:

I have to go with Chris on this one. Sounds like a classic example of lower-crossed syndrome - a prevalent yet easily remedied postural problem.

Briefly, lower-crossed syndrome involves an imbalance (anterior/posterior) of short/tight muscles with elongated/weak ones.

The short/tight muscles are generally the hip flexors (iliopsoas, rectus femoris, tensor fascia latae, and sartorious) and the erector spinae muscle group. The elongated/weakened muscles are the abdominals, gluteus maximus and hamstrings.

The solution is to stretch the short/tight muscles and strengthen the elongated/weak ones. It’s a little more complicated than that but that should get you headed in the right direction.

Posture might be the winner. I remember when I was younger and in baseball, the physical therapist said I had bad posture after I went to see her for an arm injury. I’ll check out Marc’s article, any other ideas?

And as for the carbs, now that I’m bulking I eat a lot of them (grains included). But when I did the T-dawg diet (low carb) the problem was still evident.

Thanks for the suggestions.

Get yourself involved in a hearty flexibility regimen pronto.

Merrow hit the nail on the head. Stretch the iliopsoas, IT band, and rectus femoris. Add in some TVA work and you should be all set. You might consider laying off traditional abdominal training (e.g. crunches, leg raises) in the meantime, as your TVA may just be behind the outer wall.

Thanks again guys. The TA work has been helping. I really need to become more flexible as is, so maybe this problem is a good thing, at least from a motivational standpoint.

Thanks again.