A bulging tummy is not always due to fat. when a famous French actress was offered a role in a film, she quickly wanted to lose some weight she had put on around her middle. She came to London to see me, and as she entered my room I knew exactly what the problem was.
As she lay on the couch I asked her to place her hands on the sides of her abdomen and note the temperature. “Warm”, she said. Then I asked her to move her hands to the centre of her abdomen and she immediately notices it was much cooler. I asked her to lift both legs about 15 cm above the couch and told her to look at her tummy. “That’s strange”, she remarked, ‘it’s bulging more, like an inflated balloon’.
I explained that although she had some excess fat around the hips and buttocks, her tummy was bulging because of a hernia. The sheaths of abdominal ligaments that encase the straight muscles in the front (the ‘ads’) are joined in the centre of the abdomen, along the thickened hairline. Excessive abdominal gas, pregnancy, lack of exercise and sometimes abdominal surgery can cause them to open up and the two edges to become loose ans separate. Habitually lying on your side for a sleep immediately after heavy meals can also cause this common type of hernia. When a person stands up, the intestines form a pouch under the skin, giving the false impression of a large tummy. When lying down, the pouch disappears. Because the muscles and blood vessels no longer meet, the central area of the abdomen feels cooler than the sides.
I recommended a low fat diet for a month and suggested she went an elastic abdominal support. She lost the weight quickly and, when I later went to see the film, I was delighted that she looked perfect, with no bulges.