British Lung Foundation
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Abdominal Tightness

Hi all,

I hope you're all keeping as well as can be expected.

I'm just after a bit of advice on behalf of my mum if that's okay ....

She has Emphysema and Fibrosis (? - still a doubt over the fibrosis unti her next CT Scan) and after being admitted to hospital in May (where her lung problems were diagnosed) she was discharged on 3L of Oxygen for 15 hours per day which keeps her SATS at 97-98% and 2 different inhalers which don't aid her breathlessness at all. She doesn't cough up any mucus, doesn't have a cough , doesn't feel tired and feels 100% fine in herself, however, all she has to do is stand up and her abdomen goes tight and she says it feels like her abdominal contents are moving up into her chest which makes her totally breathless. She can manage a few steps before being unable to breathe. Turning up the oxygen does nothing to help on exertion and neither does taking her inhaler. She does have a bloated stomach - in fact, she says she feels like she's having quads and she often belches and says when she eats/drinks, it feels like it is stuck at the bottom of her breastbone - this also happens when she tries to take a deep breath.

She isn't seeing the Thoracic Consultant until next month where I'm hoping they may be able to prescribe something to help, but I was wondering if anyone else experiences this and what you do to help relieve it.

She is absolutely fine whilst sitting and breathes normally with no breathlessness whatsoever, yet when she stands up, it starts before she even move off. I had to buy her a wheelchair a couple of weeks ago to get her out and about as she can't manage walking around the shops anymore - her legs work fine, she just can't breath! We are also getting a stairlift fitted for her next week as she really struggles with the stairs. It's so horrible feeling helpless and she feels so angry as well as depressed about it, but I'm sure there must be something that may help or can be prescribed for the tightness, so any suggestions or hints/tips would be greatfully appreciated.

Julie x

4 Replies

Hi Julie how awful for your mum to be going through this and you must feel so helpless.

I personally feel that her appointments need bringing forward as she needs help now. Can you arrange that if possible?

I hope that something can be done and that your dear mum gets help immediately.

Love to you both. Xxxxxx


Hi Julie,your poor Mum,that would be frustrating.Its quite a while to wait another month,before she's seen.Have you thought of taking her to the GP for a check up,as it might not be a respiratory problem?

I had something similar a few years back,& it turned out to be a hernia,however a check by the Doc.seems to be the best advice I could give.

It's lovely that you're so caring,& making life easier with the wheel chair,&. stairlift. Take care,Wendell xx


I was just about to suggest looking to see if it was a hernia- you beat me to it.

1 like

Good idea by Sassy to bring forward your mum's appointment. Ask her doc if it could be reflux induced asthma. A type of reflux called "silent reflux" (due to it occurring when heartburn and more usual reflux symptoms are absent) has stomach contents leaking into the windpipe and often reaching the lungs causing irritation and asthma like symptoms. This could be worsened by a hiatus hernia as suggested above. The food getting stuck there could possibly indicate this.

Im just a patient, not a doc, so this is not a diagnosis, just a suggestion based on personal experience. Might be something else altogether but please send good luck and best wishes to your mum and let us know how she goes on :)


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