What Can Be Done For My Tummy To Make It Look Better Without Surgery?

Q:  Hello,  I have several questions regarding cosmetic surgery. First off I want to say I am a single mom of four wonderful children but they have destroyed my once nice looking tummy. But I HATE how I look. I have suffered an eating disorder since my first child being born, to the point I was approx. 90 lbs and I am 5′ 5″. I still do not eat right as I am petrified that I am going to gain weight and make my stomach even bigger. I am also a full time student so I know I cannot afford surgery. There is simply no way. Is there ANYTHING I can do? I hate the way I look, I hate to take showers, I hate to be seen by my fiance naked!!! I literally HATE my body. I currently weigh 135 lbs. So I have done very well maintaining weight. I am at a loss as to how can I rid myself of this awful belly? Please help!!

A: Unfortunately, the short answer is that only surgery can offer any help. After multiple pregnancies, your abdominal wall has been irreversibly changed. The abdominal muscles are no doubt separated along the midline and are lax which accounts for the protruding appearance of your belly despite being at a good body weight. In addition, the overlying skin has been stretched beyond its elastic limit as evidenced by stretch marks. All you can do with your weight is keep the fat layer thin but that will not change your skin and muscle of the abdominal wall. Perhaps one day you will be able to have the tummy tuck surgery that can provide the solution that you are looking for.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana