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Old 08-30-2003, 03:35 PM   #1
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Post Ascites and bulging belly button?

I know this sounds crazy but I think my husband has a tumor coming through his belly button - either that or it has herniated.
He has always been a heavy drinker - actually although he doesn't drink that much anymore he does have about a six pack a day - I would classify him as an alcoholic - and in the last few years has gotten quite a beer belly. He will never go to the doctor unless he is in intense pain.

I have read that it could be an umbilical hernia because of fluid build up if he has cirrohsis. I don't know if he has cirrohsis but he did have hepatitis (alcohol induced) a while back and pancreatitis. I don't know what a hernia would look like as opposed to a tumor.

I am really worried about this but he doesn't want to hear about it and definitely will not go to the doctor.

Has anyone had something like this or known anyone with a similar problem?

Thanks


 
Old 08-30-2003, 10:43 PM   #2
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What you describe sounds normal given the circumstances. In people that have massive ascites, the belly is so full of fluid that it not only distends, but the belly button "turns inside out"! If a loop of bowel is caught in there, you can get a herniation that way, but that would mean that there's a weakness in the muscle of the stomach wall, and your husband would be in much more pain.

The other thing that it COULD be is something a Sister of Mary Joseph umbilical nodule which is a metastic tumour from a GI source which has placed itself "behind the bellybutton"....this however is much less of a possibility than just an "inside out bellybuton" as a result of ascites.

 
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Old 08-31-2003, 03:34 AM   #3
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I think you are right about the fluid build up. Sometimes his stomach is bigger than others.

I wish he would see a doctor but he won't. He thinks he is fine - or he's just in denial.

I imagine sooner or later this will develop into an emergency room situation and then it will get resolved. But I am also sure he will never stop drinking or smoking.

How long can people live with cirrohsis and not take care of it?

Do you know what phaze of cirrohsis he would be in with the ascites. He has had this belly for a couple of years now. He's in his fifties.

We have a home based business so that if anything happens to him I can take over fully - although it would be very hard to do all the work and I may lose some of our international buyers because they don't like to deal with women. So I would probably be able to stay relatively stable financially if anything should happen to him.

We are buying a new house that will be about 3 hours away from the rest of our family so I am kind of worried about handling things alone. I just wish he would stop the drinking altogether (he never gets drunk but does still drink about a 6 pack a day - he used to drink a lot more than that). One time he quit with the help of a psychiatrist but then he started the nono-alcholic beer (which still does have alcohol) and progressed back to the real stuff.

Well thanks for your reply and for letting me vent. Sometimes it is not the person who is sick who needs the most care.

 
Old 08-31-2003, 03:32 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by maxsam:
I think you are right about the fluid build up. Sometimes his stomach is bigger than others.

I wish he would see a doctor but he won't. He thinks he is fine - or he's just in denial.

I imagine sooner or later this will develop into an emergency room situation and then it will get resolved. But I am also sure he will never stop drinking or smoking.

How long can people live with cirrohsis and not take care of it?

Do you know what phaze of cirrohsis he would be in with the ascites. He has had this belly for a couple of years now. He's in his fifties.

We have a home based business so that if anything happens to him I can take over fully - although it would be very hard to do all the work and I may lose some of our international buyers because they don't like to deal with women. So I would probably be able to stay relatively stable financially if anything should happen to him.

We are buying a new house that will be about 3 hours away from the rest of our family so I am kind of worried about handling things alone. I just wish he would stop the drinking altogether (he never gets drunk but does still drink about a 6 pack a day - he used to drink a lot more than that). One time he quit with the help of a psychiatrist but then he started the nono-alcholic beer (which still does have alcohol) and progressed back to the real stuff.

Well thanks for your reply and for letting me vent. Sometimes it is not the person who is sick who needs the most care.
I'm glad I was able to be of some help! It's hard to tell what stage of liver disease he's in without seeing him. There are many different liver disease signs--over 20 different symptoms! The only way, really, to see these symptoms is to do a physical exam, liver enzyme profile and possibly a liver biopsy. One of the most dangerous problems with liver disease, other than liver failure itself is the presence of something called varices (especially the ones in the esophagus). Varices are basically very distended veins which appear in the esophagus and rectum (i.e. hemorrhoids). What can happen with these abnormal vessels is that they can bust and cause a HUGE bleed (often which is very disturbing because the patient will throw up blood until (s)he dies) which can result in death if not taken care of.

Take a look at your husband and see if you see any of the following:


reddish colour on the palms of his hands

the appearance of woman-like breasts

loss of hair on his body (such as chest hair, or armpit hair)

white nails

distended veins on his stomach

tiny red spots on his body (especially on his chest) which turn white if you press them

swollen ankles

complaints of hemorrhoids

There are more, but see if you can see any of these.

 
Old 08-31-2003, 06:29 PM   #5
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He has already had hemorrhoid surgery two years ago but I think he is having trouble again. Of course he eats no vegetables except maybe corn or beans once in awhile. Yes he is does all the wrong things healthwise.

The thing is he NEVER gets sick. I have had the flu - stomach viruses etc. and he hardly ever even gets a cold.

Yes I know about the possiblity of a bleed out. I am worried about that one the most.

His palms are good - I will have to check down the rest of the list.

He does bruise easily and has a spot on his wrist he is constantly scratching - there is nothing there.

He had hepatitis and pancreatitis about 2 years ago when he was drinking much much more. He probably only drings a six pack a day at this point in time. He doesn't guzzle the beer either - he sometimes makes a beer last 45 minutes or more. He has one or two at lunch - probably two around 5:00 and probably another one or two around 8:00 or 9:00. I don't allow the beer in the house but the dog does go for lots of walks.

He stopped taking his B complex and multi vitamins because I wasn't putting them in front of him every day. They really seemed to help him in the past. Yesterday I started being his "mother" again to make sure he takes them.

Since he won't go to the doctor do you know of any natural diuretics that are fairly safe to use?


I appreciate your help. I will let you know about the rest of the list.

 
Old 09-01-2003, 05:29 AM   #6
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My dad had this just before he FINALLY went into the hospital for treatment. He looked like he was pregnant and his belly button was pushing out. Also, his ankles were terribly swollen. He was so uncomfortable, especially trying to sleep. He also had blood in his stool. He finally admitted he was ready to go in. The doctor immediately DX liver problems, admitted him and ordered liver biopsy. They confirmed cirrohsis and began treatment and meds. I hope you can get him to a hospital. I know exactly what you're going through. Good luck!

 
Old 09-01-2003, 07:37 AM   #7
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The only way my husband will go to a hospital or even a doctor's office is if he is in intense pain or just can't function.

So far his ankles aren't swollen and he has no pain. He thinks his belly is the normal male thing since everyone male in this town is overweight.

I am sure he has blood in his stool but he probably attributes that to hemorrhoids.

Believe it or not I can't see if his eyes are yellow because he always wears sunglasses (war injury - can't stand bright lights). He only takes them off at night and I can't really see them then. I will have to work something out about that.

Fingernails are good.

He hasn't lost any chest or armpit hair. I have to check him out when he takes off his shirt to see if he is growing female like breasts.

It's just this stomach thing that has me worried.

I can't figure out a way to make this guy go to a doctor. Lecturing or demanding will send him in the opposite direction. Pleading falls on deaf ears. He doesn't want to hear it. He thinks he is fine. He thinks all doctors are out to make a killing by doing unnecessary tests and procedures. Denial and fear are strong emotions.

I can also tell you that he is not going to stop drinking beer just like he is not going to stop smoking.

So I guess the best thing I can do is have him take his vitamins every day. I am also looking for a fairly safe herb that helps liver function and some kind of natural diuretic so maybe he can excrete some of that fluid.

The other thing I think I have to do is think about me. I have to make sure I take care of myself mentally and physically so that I can deal with whatever comes next.

I am waiting for some blood tests myself to check on my thyroid. I take meds for low thyroid function already but the dose may have to be increased. My doctor has also given me Lexapro (anti-depressant) to help me through menopause. I won't start that until after the blood tests. But I think an anti-depressant may help me through the stress.

I can't understand how he ignores these things and has no understanding of the stress it places on me. He is a really good man but thick as mud.

Do you think I am making too much of this? Maybe I am blowing things out of proportion.

Thanks for your reply. It's really comforting to know there are people out there who can identify with this. I don't want to upset my kids with it because they have things going on in their lives that they have to deal with right now and there is nothing they can do. My husband wouldn't listen to them anyway and I don't want to upset them unnecessarily.

Thanks again to all of you.

 
Old 09-01-2003, 11:15 AM   #8
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Maxsam...why don't you ask him to do it for you? Tell him how worried you are. Tell him that they won't have to do any "procedures" right away...just some blood tests and a physical exam.

 
Old 09-01-2003, 03:12 PM   #9
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Hi Projapoti

Well I tried to approach him carefully and let him know how concerned I was. I asked him to do it for me. I told him how it was stressing me out. I told him if he has it taken care of now it would probably just be an office visit and some blood tests. But if he waits it could be a more costly and a more serious situation.

As I expected he got VERY defensive. He really did not want to talk about it. He said this week is extremely busy (that is the truth) and he doesn't have time to go to doctors that are going to tell him all the things that are wrong with him. Obviously he is afraid. He also doesn't want to be told he has any kind of weakness.

I told him he doesn't have to go this week. He can make an appointment at the end of the week for a week or so down the road when it is convenient. He told me he has enough on his mind and "don't dump anymore on me." He also told me to stop being his mother.

I tried to appeal also to his vanity and told him his stomach was getting bigger and bigger. I told him he looked pregnant. He then sucked his stomach in as far as he could. It was almost comical.

I should add that we generally get along great. We are home with each other 24/7 because of our business. We argue very little for being around each other that much. I know he loves me and I love him. He just hates doctors and thinks he is infallible.

Now he is in a bad mood and he took the dog out for a walk - which means he will have a couple beers. This is a no win situation.

He just doesn't want to face it and I doubt he will go to the doctor unless it is an emergency room visit. I pretty much knew what his reaction would be no matter how I approached him.

He also told me to stop searching the internet for and digging up this stuff.

So you see my predicament. I am not bringing it up again. I do think I know a sneaky way to make him go to the doctor down the road. I told him we need to get more life insurance or mortgage insurance when we get the new house. They will most likely require a physical exam for that. Hopefully he will go.

Meanwhile I am not going to get upset by it anymore. I am going to take care of myself and take one day at a time. I am also probably going to start taking the anti-depressant the doctor prescribed. I think it will help me get a handle on things.

I think his only real symptom right now is the ascites, and the bruising easily. His eyes look good. I am having him take Max B vitamins and a multi but after our little conversation he may stop doing that. I actually haven't seen him put them in his mouth anyway. He might have chucked them for all I know.

Think I will take the rest of the day off.

Thanks for your input and suggestions. I really appreciate it. You gave me the push I needed to approach him and bring it to a head. Now he knows how I feel and I am sure he will think about it. I know he will look at his stomach in the bathroom mirror where I can't see him do it. At least I have put the thought in his mind that something is not right. And although I am a little upset right now I know I have done all I can in this situation.

Thanks again.

 
Old 09-02-2003, 03:03 PM   #10
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Hey maxsam....your husband's reaction, frankly, was what I expected too. I've seen this reaction or heard about of from a number of patients that I've seen in the past. The thing is, though, at the point in time you were talking about it, you're right, he didn't want to hear it, but I'm sure that he'll be thinking about it and at least talk to you about it again. It is a very humbling experience when one faces a situation that could be a source of his/her mortality....I'm sorry that the "boat has been rocked" in your household, but I assure you you did the right thing for a man that I know you truly love.

I am glad to be of any help that I could.

 
Old 09-03-2003, 06:16 AM   #11
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Hi maxsam ~ I can relate to you soooo much. My husband is starting to go through the same thing ~ the large stomach, swollen ankles, etc. and he won't go see a doctor about it either. I too know that he is scared of what is happening and I am too. I am on this site constantly ~ I don't know what I am looking for but I am a worrier and reading others problems seems to help me. I am so thankful I found this site. I keep telling my 46 year old husband about all the symptoms I have read about and he knows as well as I do that he has a lot of them. His stomach got large VERY FAST! He is scared ~ I see it in his eyes when I talk to him about this but won't go to the doctor. I guess it's not an easy thing to do. I don't know where it will all end. I am so scared and sick of his drinking. He drinks every day! Take care Maxsam

 
Old 09-03-2003, 04:38 PM   #12
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Hi ladydi1

I know what you mean about the drinking. There is nothing you can do about it. It has to be his decision to stop or get help.

Since I talked with my husband about going to the doctor he is drinking more and yes his stomach is bigger today. Probably the stress of thinking about going to the doctor will make him drink more. He probably knows the doctor will tell him to stop drinking and he will drink more just to prove he can.

It's like he doesn't see it even (stomach). He used to be so proud of his build. I don't think he thinks his stomach even sticks out. He looks like he is carrying around a bowling ball in there.

We are not just fighting the alcholism but also self esteem problems - at least in my case. My husband has a lot of issues from his family and stresses from when he was in Viet Nam.

He did stop drinking the last time he had to go to the emergency room with pancreatitis and hepatitis. He went to a psychiatrist - that was a waste of time and money. He got pills to stop drinking over a couple of days time to ease withdrawal symptoms. Then he went on Prozac which I think he stopped taking after the first week. He started drinking the non-alcoholic beer and progressed back to the real stuff.

It was great while it lasted.

I don't allow it (beer) in the house normally. But when I have dinners with company he brings it in usually when people are around and I can't say anything. He uses the excuse that we have to have it for company or that it's his birthday and he deserves it - or my son came back from Baghdad and he is going to celebrate. At these times I don't push him. I know it will backfire.

I thought about joining the al-anon group for people with loved ones that drink. I may do it when we move.

Does your husband get drunk? Mine doesn't. He will drink a beer real slow. He will usually have a six-pack that will last through the day. If I let him drink in the house that is all he would drink during the day and evening. At least by banning if from the house now he does get some apple juice and soda in his system.

I am going to start taking an anti-depressant to help me through this and menopause. Still waiting for lab results on thyroid. Sometimes low thyroid hormone makes you depressed. I've had it before from that.

Yes thank God for this board. Also for Projapoti.

It really helps to talk with people who are going through the same thing or who are in the medical profession. We are not alone and we can and will handle whatever comes along because we have to.

Also make sure you take care of yourself. This is very important. Don't let your husband drag you down with him. If you need help from a doctor to cope with this then by all means go.

I hope your husband goes to the doctor soon. If my husband's ankles were swelling I think he might go. It has to be something really scary or painful for him to go.

I will keep an eye on the board and look for your messages. Good luck. Keep in touch.


 
Old 10-09-2003, 04:23 PM   #13
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It is too bad your husband will not do something about his condition. I saw my dad go through the same thing. While my dad was not an alcoholic, but he did like to drink his beer. When my dad got ascites he didn't think it was anything to be concerned about until I came online and did some research of my own.

I can say that when someone has Ascites it usually means there is severe irriversable damage to the liver. My dad has his belly pumped 4 times and each time they pumped about 8 liters of fluid out. Which was a lot my dad was only 5'4.

To make a long story short, my dad ended up having cirrhosis with liver cancer. Since the onset of his ascites, he only lived 5 months or so. I think my dad knew his condition was serious and also did not want medical attention because he did not want it to be confirmed. My father was 57, I am 28. I can totally feel for you. I hope things will turn around for the better. But i can not stand this disease.

 
Old 10-10-2003, 08:12 AM   #14
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Hi Maxsam:
Just wanted to know how you & hubby were doing. I haven't been too active on this message board, but I've read all your posts and can certainly identify with what you are going through.
My husband had been experiencing lower back pain for a while so he went to the doctors (he goes at last once a month, thank goodness for that). The doctor said his stomach was distended and he wanted him to get a sonogram. Luckily, he was able to get one yesterday. But we don't know the results yet and naturally we are worried and nervous.
My husband drinks too. Not beer, but scotch. He also smokes, but has cut down somewhat. I think he drinks too much, but he always denies it. So, like you, I've been reading too much stuff on the internet and thinking about the worse case scenario. Could it be this, could it be that.......his mother died of liver cancer 7 years ago but she never drank in her life!
I hope this is not the case, but scared to death! If you can't write I hope someone will. Good luck and I'll be looking for some positive responses.

 
Old 10-10-2003, 12:56 PM   #15
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Hi mzinky:

I am no longer sure my husband has ascites. Now I just think he may be getting fat.

I had been very stressed out about many many things. I am going through menopause, my son was in Iraq (back now but will be going again soon), surgery for a breast lump (turned out okay) and more. My nerves were shot and I think maybe I have overblown things. I am now taking Lexapro and mentally I am a million times better.

My husband is not drinking much - he does still have a few beers a day but I don't know if it's a whole six pack. His stomach is still big but I am noticing his arms are getting bigger also (not his legs). He also has love handles. When his Dad gained weight he had the same kind of belly and he didn't drink. So now I am wondering since he has no other symptoms if this is really ascites. I do know if he stands up straight and sucks in his gut he looks alot better (but don't we all).

I know only a doctor visit will tell but at least I am not as stressed about it as I had been. The anti-depressant has been great for me. Also since I am on the anti-depressant my husband has a better attitude. I think I may have been driving him a little nuts. Menopause really sucks.

Knowing he has no other symptoms of liver disease also helps me out. I pray he is only fat.

Now if I can get him to stop smoking I will really feel good.

Thanks to everyone on this board for their input. Hope things are going okay for them.

 
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