Watermelon Stomach (Gastric Antral Vascular Ectasia)

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

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Despite the name, watermelon stomach is not a pleasant medical condition, by any means, and due to its severity, it is important to be able to recognize the symptoms and causes of this unusual disorder.

Diagnosis of Watermelon Stomach

Diagnosing watermelon stomach can be achieved through various tests, such as an endoscopy, biopsy, and ultrasound, among others.

Endoscopy

This approach to diagnosis involves sending a small tube with a light and camera into the gastrointestinal system to see whether the characteristic stripes and bleeding are present in the stomach.

A woman clenching her stomach with both hands

Bloating is when your belly feels swollen after eating. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Biopsy

A biopsy consists of removing a small piece of tissue from the affected part of the body to determine whether it has been infected by a specific disease.

Ultrasound

An ultrasound allows doctors to image the final section of your stomach, where it can identify swelling and dilation of blood vessels that signify this condition.

Treatment for Watermelon Stomach

To eliminate watermelon stomach, the best options include surgery, certain medications, and even blood transfusions, as well as dietary alterations.

Surgery – Endoscopic laser surgery will help to seal up ruptured blood vessels. Argon plasma coagulation is another treatment option that can seal up ruptured and bleeding tissue.

Medication – Corticosteroids have been shown to be somewhat successful, as well as hormone therapy, to minimize the symptoms of this condition.

Diet – You should change your diet to avoid harsh, acidic foods. Eating a lot more soups and smoothies can give your stomach a break; you should also avoid caffeine and alcohol until the symptoms subside.

Transfusions – If a significant amount of blood has been lost, transfusions may be required to offset the blood loss.

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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