Abdominal Swelling: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment

Abdominal Swelling: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment

When your stomach region is larger than usual, you have an enlarged abdomen. A distended abdomen or swollen gut are other names for this condition. Uncomfortable or even painful, an enlarged belly is common. Numerous factors...


When your stomach region is larger than usual, you have an enlarged abdomen. A distended abdomen or swollen gut are other names for this condition. Uncomfortable or even painful, an enlarged belly is common. Numerous factors may contribute to an enlarged abdomen, which is a frequent occurrence.


Unknown complicated aetiologies contribute to abdominal bloating and distension. Organic, pathological, gut-brain interaction disorders, abnormal viscerosomatic reflexes, and other conditions are on the list of potential reasons.

Organic factors

Within this area, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) and intolerance to certain food groups and carbohydrates are the two most frequent reasons. Both situations can result in an overabundance of bacteria, carbohydrate fermentation, and gas production, which stretches and enlarges the intestinal system. According to recent studies, food intolerance affects roughly 20% of the general populace.

Other organic situations that can result in bloating and distension are celiac disorder, pancreatic insufficiency, prior gastroesophageal surgery (for example fundoplication or bariatric methods), gastric outlet obstruction, gastroparesis, ascites, gastrointestinal or gynecologic malignancy, hypothyroidism, adiposity, small intestine diverticulosis, and chronic intestinal pseudo-obstruction.

Crucial factors

IBS, chronic idiopathic constipation, pelvic floor dysfunction, functional dyspepsia, and functional bloating are ailments of the gut-brain axis tis are linked to bloating and distension. It claims that some people who have these diagnoses experience a visceral sensory disorder that makes them believe that their bodies are generating an excessive quantity of gas.

"The hardship is with how these patients with visceral hypersensitivity perceive the senses that move along with stimulating normal quantities of gas, according to Doctors. These people frequently suffer from other sensory disorders like IBS, migraines, chronic fatigue syndrome, or fibromyalgia.

These patients may be aware of intraluminal content and stomach distension, which may aggravate their symptoms of bloating. Complex brain-gut neural pathways that are amplified by conditions like anxiety, melancholy, somatization, and hypervigilance may also be a role in this sensation of bloating, according to research.

Deviation from the viscerosomatic response

Another factor that can cause bloating and distension is an improper viscerosomatic response. The diaphragm and muscles of the abdominal wall constrict and relax as part of this reflex, which regulates gas clearance. The diaphragm descends or contracts improperly in people who react abnormally to the usual discharge of intestinal gas, and the muscles of the abdominal wall relax, causing the abdomen to protrude.

What creates bloating in the abdomen?

There are several causes why your abdomen might be swollen. These include being pregnant and overeating. Your doctor will be the only one who can pinpoint the precise reason for your swollen abdomen.

Gas is a typical contributor to stomach bloating. Gas can be elicited as an outcome of eating foods rich in fiber or nervously habitually swallowing air. If you don't let this gas out, it might cause your abdomen to expand.

Rheumatoid bowel disease

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a condition that, among other symptoms, causes cramping and stomach discomfort. Additionally, IBS can lead to gas and bloating, which may result in an enlarged belly.


There is no remedy. IBS Trusted Source. However, the following at-home remedies might aid in discomfort relief:

  • Foods That Cause Gas, Such as Fructose, Fruit Sugar, Lactose, Milk Sugar, Legumes, Onions, Cabbage, And Broccoli, Should Be Avoided Or Consumed In Moderation.

Using Sugar Substitutes Like sorbitol and mannitol, consuming more slowly to prevent overeating, and adding more fiber to the diet progressively to prevent aggravating bloating.

Several medicinal procedures include:

  • Laxatives to encourage bowel movements, antidiarrheal drugs to lessen the regularity of bowel movements, painkillers for constipation, and antidiarrheal drugs to treat diarrhea.

IBS symptoms are present in about 1 in 10 people, according to the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders.

Intolerance to lactose

When your body is incapable of processing lactose, a sugar present in dairy derivatives, you develop lactose intolerance. Bloating and gas in the abdomen are indications of lactose sensitivity. Your stomach may swell if you experience these signs.

You may be lactose intolerant if you experience an enlarged belly within two hours of consuming dairy products. The majority of individuals with lactose intolerance are of African, Indian, Hispanic, and American Indian descent.


Avoiding lactose-containing foods and beverages is the best method to prevent the symptoms of lactose intolerance.

An alternative is to take lactase supplements before consuming a meal that includes lactose. The body can process this sugar thanks to the lactase enzyme.


When fluid accumulates inside your abdomen, a disease known as ascites develops. Typically, liver-related issues like cirrhosis are to blame for this accumulation. When your liver is severely damaged, it develops cirrhosis.

You most likely won't experience any symptoms when ascites first starts to form. You'll begin to observe your abdomen swelling over time as the fluid forms up in your body. It can be awkward to have ascites.

Other reasons

Other, less typical signs may be the root of your abdominal swelling. As an illustration, your gallbladder may accumulate hard lumps called gallstones.

An inflamed pancreas has pancreatitis. A blockage in your intestine or a weight increase both have the potential to result in abdominal swelling. A swollen belly can result from an ovarian cyst as well.

Severe reasons

There are more severe reasons for stomach bloating. They consist of the following:


In the disease known as cirrhosis, active liver cells are replaced by inactive scar tissue. a scarred liver increased blood pressure in the blood vessels encircling the liver can be brought on by Trusted Source. In turn, this may result in fluid build-up in the belly.

The variety of causes for liver diseases Reliable Source, ranging from fundamental medical issues to chronic alcoholism.


The underlying reason for cirrhosis will determine the course of treatment. Usually, cirrhosis cannot be cured. However, the following alterations in lifestyle can aid a person in managing their symptoms while halting the disease's progression:

  • Refusing booze
  • stopping smoking
  • losing weight, and if required, exercising frequently to keep muscle mass.
  • observing proper hygiene to lower the chance of infections.
  • discussing any required immunizations with a doctor

Eliminating salt from the diet can help people decrease stomach bloating. To aid in the removal of fluid from the body, they can also take a diuretic.

Immune system disorders

When a person has an autoimmune illness, the immune system mistakenly targets and kills healthy body cells.

An autoimmune condition known as autoimmune atrophic gastritis (AAG) causes the stomach's parietal cells to be destroyed by the immune system. The body needs stomach acid to receive vitamin B12, and these cells produce it. Iron and vitamin B12 deficiencies are potential consequences of AAG's progressive loss of parietal cells.

Potential signs of AAG include:

  • after eating, experiencing satiety in the upper belly
  • abdominal discomfort
  • nausea
  • vomiting

Although the exact origin of AAG is unknown, the following factors may increase risk:

Vitiligo, which is an absence of melanin in certain areas of the skin, is another condition that scientists think may have a genetic component because it appears to be heritable. Other conditions include autoimmune thyroiditis type I diabetes Addison's disease, and an endocrine disorder.

Treatment for AAG

Any nutrient deficiencies must be treated as part of the AAG therapy. While those with a vitamin B12 shortage may need injections of vitamin B12, those with an iron deficiency may need intravenous iron infusions.


A patient's doctor may order one or more of the following tests to determine the reason for severe or persistent stomach bloating:

Analysis of feces drawing of blood abdominal radiographs When a person consumes, an x-ray of their esophagus (the feeding tube) is taken as part of a barium swallow test. Using barium enema, doctors can view the lower intestinal system on X-rays. To find out how quickly food exits the stomach, a procedure called a gastric emptying scan is used. Upper GI endoscopy, which includes looking at the upper GI tract with a flexible endoscope,

What are the alternatives for treating abdominal swelling?

Treatments at home

Your ability to treat your symptoms at home will depend on the reason for your swollen abdomen.

  • Simply waiting for your food to digest could solve your issue if your abdomen is swollen because you ate too much. Future prevention of this issue can be achieved by eating smaller portions. Additionally, think about eating more slowly to allow your stomach more time to digest your food.
  • Avoid eating foods that are known to induce gas if your stomach is bloated because of it. Cruciferous veggies like broccoli and cabbage as well as beans are a few of these foods. Don't use a straw or consume fizzy beverages. You can avoid ingesting air, which causes gas, by taking your time when you eat.
  • Lactose intolerance-related abdominal bloating can be reduced by avoiding dairy products. It has been demonstrated that reducing stress and increasing fiber intake can assist with IBS symptoms. Resting in bed and consuming less sodium can help your body get clear of the extra fluid if you have ascites.

Medical attention

Your doctor might advise using diuretics if resting and reducing your salt intake don't help with symptoms.

Diuretics will aid in the kidney's removal of more of the fluid responsible for puffiness. Your ascitic fluid may occasionally become infected. You'll need to go through a rigorous antibiotic therapy regimen if this occurs.

IBS and lactose intolerance can cause a belly to swell, but there isn't much that can be done about it medically.

Ascites frequently develops as a result of another severe health problem, like cirrhosis. A treatment strategy should be discussed with your practitioner.

You might also need to endure fluid removal in addition to treating the underlying condition. Depending on how much fluid needs to be removed, the paracentesis process can take a variety of times.

Home remedies include taking a stroll since exercise can help the intestines move more frequently, allowing for the discharge of extra gas and stool. The sensation of being bloated can be alleviated by preparing a cup of hot water with a few sprigs of mint leaves and a pinch of honey and drinking it right away.

Most of the meals we consume contain ginger. It has remarkable gas-elimination abilities and can treat indigestion rapidly. Even though it might seem counterproductive, drinking a glass of warm water with a squeeze of lemon can help you quickly get rid of stomach bloating.

Nowadays, more people are using apple cider vinegar as a health aid. A tumbler of warm water and apple cider vinegar can be combined and consumed once per day.

Foods for hyperacidity have traditionally included yogurt. contains natural probiotics that enhance digestion and substitute harmful bacteria in the gut.


The prognosis for someone who has a swollen stomach is completely dependent on the cause. A person can consult a doctor to learn more about their specific prognosis and treatment choices.


A person should think about cutting out foods that make gas from their diet if their gut frequently swells after eating. Among the foods that induce gas are:

  • foods high in starch, such as pinto or baked beans, potatoes, and legumes-dependable source of broccoli
  • Belgian spuds
  • asparagus
  • broccoli
  • artichokes
  • onions
  • apples
  • carbonated beverages with prunes


Stomach swelling may have a wide range of reasons. A person's nutrition may be a factor in some, which are mild and temporary. Some of them might point to a medical issue that needs attention.

If stomach swelling is extreme, ongoing, or recurrent, a patient should consult a physician. The cause will be determined by a doctor, who will then try to treat the condition appropriately.

"Abdominal swelling can be a sign of a wide range of underlying health conditions, from benign to potentially fatal, and should be assessed by a medical professional."