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Swollen Abdomen

Swollen Abdomen

When a person has had a heavy meal, he may have a feeling of swollen abdomen. Though normally it is not something to panic about, but sometimes it may be an indication of a serious disease. To know more about swelling in the abdomen that may be accompanied by pain, read on...
Marlene Alphonse
Last Updated: Mar 19, 2018
The abdominal region consists of vital organs like the stomach, large and small intestines, liver, spleen and pancreas. These organs perform the function of digestion and assimilation of food. At times, the organs can be affected due to various disorders. One such disorder that affects the stomach is bloating.
A swollen abdomen, also known as abdominal distention, occurs when the abdomen increases in size due to overeating or weight gain. Some other reasons for experiencing distention can be due to pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS), swallowing air unconsciously, consuming aerated drinks, intestinal gas resulting from eating fibrous vegetables and fruits, legumes etc.
Bloated Abdomen Causes
An enlargement in the abdomen can be due to several reasons, some of which may be due to minor health issues, while some may require prompt medical attention. Mentioned below are some of the causative factors for abdominal bloating.
  • Many people show intolerance to lactose which is a constituent of milk and which is also present in other dairy products like cheese, butter, yogurt etc. If a person having lactose intolerance symptoms consumes dairy products, then he may develop diarrhea, bloated abdomen and gas.
  • Overeating or eating food that is heavily spicy or oily may lead to indigestion causing stomach pain and bloating.
  • The presence of a uterine fibroid, which is a benign growth in the uterus, can also cause a swelling in the abdomen in women.
  • Another cause for this illness in women is the existence of cysts in the ovaries. When the follicle containing the ovum grows and fails to rupture in order to release the ovum, then it tends to swell leading to a feeling of heaviness in the abdomen.
  • Irregular bowel movements like diarrhea and constipation are also some of the known causes of bloated stomach.
  • Certain diseases like pernicious anemia, celiac disease, hernia and hemorrhoids etc. are plausible causes for distended abdomen.
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which is a gastrointestinal disorder, also causes swelling in the stomach. The symptoms of this syndrome are traces of blood and mucus in the stool, foul odored flatulence, painful contractions of the intestines.
  • Certain types of tumors or cancers like ovarian cancer, abdominal cancer, lymphoma and tumor in the gastrointestinal tract can give you a feeling of bloated abdomen.
Symptoms of Abdominal Bloating
It is essential to identify the signs of this stomach disorder in the initial stages, in order to prevent further health complications. These symptoms should be reported to a physician without much delay so that prompt treatment can be administered and quick relief can be sought.
  • Abdominal pain is the most common symptom of a swollen stomach. It can be mild or severe pain, depending on the severity and size of the swelling.
  • Sudden spasms in the stomach region is another symptom for this health condition.
  • A feeling of fullness even after eating a small meal can be an indication of bloated abdomen.
  • Other symptoms of swollen stomach are flatulence, general discomfort and excessive sweating, change in the size of the intestines, etc.
  • Nauseous feeling and vomiting are also the symptoms of an enlarged abdomen.
Swollen Abdomen Treatment
Though swelling of the stomach is not a life-threatening disease, it may be an underlying symptom for a serious disease like colon cancer or Crohn's disease. The signs should not be ignored and it is essential to take the necessary precautions. Given below are some remedies which can be used as a means for treatment.
  • Avoid eating fibrous foods if you have a swollen belly, as these foods are known to alleviate the disease further.
  • Reduce the regular intake of aerated or carbonated drinks, as they release a lot of gas in the stomach and give you a feeling of heaviness in the abdominal region.
  • There are certain herbal remedies to reduce the bloating of the abdomen. A herb known as Burdock (Articum lappa) cleans the digestive system and reduces distention.
  • Sweet fennel and Fasque flower help in reducing the abdominal swelling and aid in proper digestion of food.
  • If you feel heavy and experience a feeling of bloated stomach after having a heavy meal, it is advisable to drink lemon juice with salt.
  • If you experience swelling or feeling of discomfort in the abdominal region due to mal-absorption of food or intolerance to certain food items, you can change your diet accordingly.
  • If you undergo problems in the stomach due to irritable bowel syndrome, then you can take fibrous vegetables and fruits to clear your irregular bowel movements.
Eating a well-balanced diet, regular intake of fluids and having proper bowel movements will help reduce the bloating sensation in the abdomen. If the pain is unbearable, it is always advisable to visit your physician. Stay healthy!