Bloating/Distention: Prednisone or Inflammation?

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Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 36
   Posted 8/14/2011 6:16 AM (GMT -7)   
Does anyone experience abdominal bloating and distention immediately upon eating?

I have chronic proctitis and have been treating a flare recently with prednisone (start at 40 mg, now at 15 mg), Apriso (4 pills), mesalamine enema, cortifoam, and steroid suppository. I am rotating the enema/cortifoam/suppository every other day to reduce steroid exposure.

What are people's opinions on immediate abdominal bloating/distention as being caused by steroid treatment vs. possible inflammation/bowel narrowing as caused by disease (which can also cause these symptoms)? I'm trying to figure out how to tell the difference from my symptoms. I was surprised that bloating/distention would occur promptly after eating if the "blockage" was all the way in the distal colon/rectum, but I suppose that is possible.

I have not been on a particularly long course of steroids and I'm not otherwise retaining water (diet is appropriate, exercise is consistent, no face swelling, etc.). Is this more of a stomach (upper GI) issue with prednisone vs. back-up caused by gas/stool in the colon (from underlying disease)? Have you seen your symptoms improve below a certain level of prednisone or after a certain amount of time? Thanks! :)

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2011
Total Posts : 4691
   Posted 8/14/2011 6:20 AM (GMT -7)   
In my experience, bloating and distention soon after eating means only one thing: you've eaten and wrong foods and combined them improperly.
Mis-food combining can create havoc in the body: gas, distention, even cramping, D, and bleeding too.
Dx with UC in Sept. 2010.Tried various Mesalamine enemas/suppos/pills with Prednisone for several rounds without any help.Diet consists of mostly only protein: protein shakes w/almond milk, Liquid Minerals& Vitamins,Maca powder,L-Glutamine 15g, D-Ribose 5g, chia seeds,5-Loxin.VSL#3,K2,VIt. D3 100,000 IU every 10 days.Canasa suppos. as maintenance. But Transdermal LDN is working!!

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Apr 2004
Total Posts : 23549
   Posted 8/14/2011 6:55 AM (GMT -7)   
When I see the bloating, it's because my gut didn't agree with my choice of foods. I am in the process of trying to pin point my no-no foods with a food diary.
Moderator-Allergies/Asthma and Alzheimer's, Co-moderator-UC
~Left sided Uc-'92**Unable to tolerate ALL mesalamines**
Colazal(9 daily)/6mp(50mgs)/Bentyl-Prilosec~allergies-Singulair/Zyrtec~Reynauds~OA-Tylonel Arthritis~Scoliosis~Sacroilitis~Dry eye-Restasis~GAD-Klonopin (.25mgs)~Rosacea~IBS~Diverticulosis~Fibromyalgia

Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 36
   Posted 8/14/2011 10:09 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi, Guys. Thanks for the suggestions.

I'd love to believe it is solely the foods (or food combinations), but I think that's unlikely here. I've essentially have never been bloated a day in my life before this most recent flare and treatment regimen. I also keep to a careful diet, already eating and not eating foods that contribute or don't contribute to bloating.

I'm wondering if anyone's seen a distinct change in abdominal distention/bloating at the start or during prednisone (or steroid enema/suppository) treatment.

I think I have rectal-sigmoid narrowing (from chronic inflammation) that's causing some of the constipation and fullness after eating. But, I'm looking for hope that some of this may be medication related.

It's a difficult question- continued steroid-treatment to reduce potential swelling and constriction from the obstructed area (with no active inflammation) that could be causing the bloating or reduction of steroids to see if indeed the side-effect is responsible (while risking rebound swelling)?

New Member

Date Joined Apr 2012
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 4/4/2012 10:55 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi - I have suffered from severe stomach distension since I was 16.  I am now 45 and still have no answers :-( I have had CT Scans, xrays, a hysterectomy, endoscopy, colonoscopy etc.  Even had diaticians tell me the distension is caused by whatever I ate the night before - albeit that I told her that you can see the swelling instantly after eating or even drinking water.  I am 5ft 5 inches and at 9 months pregnant was 52kgs ...I mention this so you understand that I am not a large built person.  However, my stomach often bloats to 40 plus inches (from just under the bust to just above the pubic line).  I am misterable and hate my stomach but have not got any answers to date.  I can relate to your frustration.  In your case, as you had a flat stomach prior to taking medication it could well be that the medication is causing the distension.  If you, or anyone else has any answers/suggestions for me, I'd love to hear from you. tongue BTW - I have also had biopsies for caeliac which came back negative and other than this stomach issue...have not other medical issues.

Post Edited (cleo123) : 4/4/2012 11:58:41 PM (GMT-6)

Wiped Out
Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 71
   Posted 6/17/2012 1:42 PM (GMT -7)   
Having UC diagnosed for close to 10 years, I have had multiple flares with bloating and distention. During a flare a few months ago, the gastro prescribed Entocort for me again. I had been off of it for quite a while. In a matter of days, I saw the formation of a stool that I hadn't experienced even during my better times with UC. It kept getting better. I was able to lose weight and was, in remission for about 6 months. Then, during a routine dental cleaning the hygienist told me my throat was severely inflamed. It wasn't even sore then. In quick succession, everything fell apart. Throat pain, headaches, flu symptoms all over. It went to my chest and put me in an asthma attack. Inhaled suspension of budesonide finally brought it under control. Whatever the hell attacked me finally subsided but, I went into another UC flare. Stools lose with diarrhea, and I gained weight like never before. I gained 25 lbs. in a matter of a few weeks. Back to the subject - my bloating and distention is worse now than ever before. I have an appt. scheduled with the gastro for an overdue colonoscopy. I need to find out what's going on now. This bloating and distention sure does a number on self esteem and after the last 10 years, I don't have much of that left anyway. Good luck to everyone with this disease and symptoms.
Left-sided UC Diagnosed 2003
Entocort - 3 daily
Canasa - 1 or 2 daily as needed
Colazal - 4 twice daily
Hyoscyamine ER (Levbid) - 2 daily
Nexium, Folic Acid, Fish Oil

Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 1028
   Posted 6/17/2012 2:15 PM (GMT -7)   
I have severe bloating and distention and can correlate that to hormonal changes in my cycle. Cleo 123, I would have my levels checked ASAP. Silversky-when I am on pred. the bloating and distention is usually better. But that is just me. Good luck, hope you feel better.
diagnosed with left-sided UC in 1997. (45cm)

9 caps Colazal

1 rowasa enemas nightly
magnesium citrate, calcium, VSL#3DS, tumeric, multivitamin and MILA

39, female

Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2011
Total Posts : 1989
   Posted 6/17/2012 2:47 PM (GMT -7)   
I'm 22, slim and stay in shape as much as possible, but even from a few years ago, if I lift my shirt my stomach has some bloating to it, nothing you could tell if wearing a shirt, but it sure bugs the hell out of me. I wonder if its purely inflammation?
Meds: 2400mg Asacol daily
Dietary: L-Glutamine, Omega3, Gluten-Free, VSL#3 Probiotic, Vit. D 5000iu, Boswellia caps
Amazing Herbs: Slippery Elm, Licorice & Marshmallow Root / Peppermint & Chamomile

College grad, diagnosed severe Crohns/UC - Sept. 2011
Remission achieved in february by the SCD!

Bacon Girl
Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2011
Total Posts : 5474
   Posted 6/17/2012 3:53 PM (GMT -7)   
i do notice that prednisone gives me abdominal cramps but don't think it caused bloating for me.

back in march, i had a very distended belly and went to medi-help because all i was passing was little amounts of poop like 5x an hour. it just hurt to touch my belly. they took an xray and saw it was a huge gas bubble. i got on flagyl that day and the next day, the gas was gone. i haven't had that bloating since come to think of it. it was weird because i never get bloated during flares. my belly is always flat as a board.
Joanna, 22
Did 8 fecal transplants- got much worse.
i'm taking- probiotics, vit d, low dose naltrexone
tried- canasa, pred, 6mp, remicade, rowasa, lialda, endocort, l-glut, vit e enema, VSL enema, aloe vera, NAG, prilosec, zofran, psyllium, bentyl, cipro, flagyl
no meat, dairy, eggs, gluten. include-fresh juices, fruits, veggies, greens, grains, soy, beans, nuts/seeds

Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 2818
   Posted 6/17/2012 4:55 PM (GMT -7)   
Pred and gas cause a lot of belly distension.
In remission --pancolitis since 8/09. Asacol 2400 mg. daily; Rowasa 3 or 4 nights a week, add Canasa sometimes, vitamins, calcium, l-acetyl carnitine. limit dairy, no red meat or alcohol. Bipolar/anxiety/depression: lamictal 200 mg, Wellbutrin 150 mg, Lexapro 10 mg

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 2855
   Posted 6/17/2012 6:21 PM (GMT -7)   
When I learned about my food sensitivities, e.g. Gluten, I found out what will cause me to bloat. It's not UC or prednisone, but maybe we feel it more.
49 year old female attorney, diagnosed UC/pancolitis 1985.
Asacol for 20+ years with Prednisone & Rowasa for flares (But nothing since Remicade).
Food sensitivity test by Naturopath showed wheat/gluten, other intolerances, helped some.
Remicade started April 2009 (Humira denied) and doing great~ learning what normal is~ wow

New Member

Date Joined Jul 2012
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 8/14/2012 7:41 PM (GMT -7)   
Yes, I have been experiencing out of the ordinary abdominal bloating since being on prednisone for the past two months. I hope to be able to taper off once I see my doc this Thursday. Prednisone use aside, I had suffered from abdominal bloating since 2005 and thought it had to do with having surgery that year for a hysterectomy. But recently a friend came across an article about FODMAPs, which stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols. There are many foods that contain these types of sugars and they ferment inside of certain people and cause abdominal disstention. I had been experiencing much relief from everyday bloating by avoiding foods that were high in FODMAPs until I had a flare of UC recently and had to go on prednisone. Websites about FODMAPS are plentiful so you should be able to get lots of food lists by doing a little browsing. The suggestions have helped me tremendously. Now insist can't wait to taper off the prednisone so I can just go back to worrying about FODMAPS again! Hope this helps you all.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 867
   Posted 8/14/2012 9:21 PM (GMT -7)   
I've dealt with the bloating even while in remission, for me its mostly from gas although also depends what I eat. Prednisone definitely seems to cause a constant bloating for me though no matter what I eat. I also have noticed that if my food seems to be just 'sitting' and not digesting I am more bloated as well.
I've started taking some digestive enzymes and it seems to help alot of the time (although not always). I take papaya enzymes although there are alot of different types out there.
UC - diagnosed 1994, in remission for 10 years, currently trying to get over a flare
Meds: Prednisone 15mg; Imuran 150mg, Colazal 3 pills/3x day, 2 mesalamine enemas a day, 2 probiotics/day, iron, calcium, folic acid, L-lysine, Zyrtec, Yasmin, multi-vitamin, evening primrose oil, zinc

New Member

Date Joined Apr 2013
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 4/11/2013 3:04 AM (GMT -7)   
i've been on preds for almost a year now. i'm working to get off them. prednisone for me has caused moon face, and abdominal bloating and severe intestinal pain and diarrhea. to the point i just can't do it anymore. down to 10 mg and going to stop taking them. I have wegeners, the dr put me on preds because of severe rashes caused by wegeners. it's 6 am and i've been up all night with abdominal pain...enough is enough.....and the belching it's ridiculous, and i have edema in my left leg. preds has to go at least for a while. prednisone is really harsh on your body. even causing brittle bones. had i known this i would have never been on it this long.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 4034
   Posted 4/11/2013 5:25 AM (GMT -7)   
I bloat a lot. I got bloating when on the steroid enemas and I also get it day-to-day just from eating a really high fiber diet. I bloat really bad if I go a day without a BM.
29 years old; diagnosed pancolitis March 2007

10 mg pred. Asacol, 6 tabs, 2xday; Rowasa nightly; Canasa in a.m. as needed for flares; Ortho Tri-Cyclen; Singulair; Allegra; Deva multivitamin; B-12. Vegan diet.

"I know you're tired, but come, this is the way." - Rumi
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