I'm a slim, relatively active 16 year old boy. I'm worried about the way my stomach has been bloated to various degrees over the last year.
It started as a small bulge, but has since developed into a sizable inflation. I know it's not fat because I am quite slim in all the other parts of my body. It appears to be below my muscles, because if I inhale and tense I can see clearly defined abs.
The size of the bulge varies from near flat to adding a full 2 inches outwards from my stomach, though it's hard to tell what dictates it. It is usually much less after I have had bowel movements or first thing in the morning, which leads me to believe it has something to do with my diet.
I have been told I eat very quickly, and am now conscious of how litle I chew my food. I eat quite a lot of pasta and white bread, as well as plenty of vegetables. I find myself snacking quite often between meals on food that probably isn't great for my body: biscuits, mints, basically carbs.
I have made an effort to drink more water lately, though I can't see much effect. I exercise for about 5 or 6 hours a week, playing tennis or soccer, or working out at the gym.
Finally, I have noticed I am passing wind much more often than previously. My stomach does feel gaseous, as though it has been pumped up, and my skin seems quite taut around my stomach.
Any ideas? Is this common? If you have any possible solutions at all, please share them!
It sounds like a hernia to me. They're pretty common in young men. Your doctor will have a pretty good idea after pressing on your belly for a minute or two. Make the appointment soon to prevent aggravating it with sports. In the meantime, don't do any situps.
As for the gassiness, first cut out carbonated beverages and chewing gum if you use them. The white bread and pasta gunk up your digestive system and don't provide much nutritional value. Switch to high fiber carbs (wheat bread, cereal, whole grains) and raw veggies for snacks, to help keep your digestive system moving smoothly. These changes may not make a huge difference today, but they'll be really important in a few years.