Abdominal Swelling


Find a Doctor:   

By Medicover Hospitals / 11 Mar 2021
Home | symptoms | abdominal-swelling
  • A distended stomach is a term that is used to refer to distention or swelling of the abdomen and not the stomach itself. When the term is used in this way, many diseases and conditions can cause abdominal bloating. Digestion, such as malabsorption or lactose intolerance, or bowel function disorders, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or constipation, may be linked to these conditions. Another word that is often used to refer to a bloated belly is bloating.
  • Article Context:

    1. What is Abdominal Swelling?
    2. Causes
    3. Diagnosis
    4. Treatment
    5. When to visit a Doctor?
    6. Home Remedies
    7. FAQ's

    What is Abdominal Swelling?

  • Abdominal Swelling occurs when the stomach area is larger than normal. This is sometimes known as a distended abdomen or bloated belly. There is always an unpleasant or sometimes painful swollen belly. A bloated abdomen has several potential causes and is a common occurrence. Most people experience swelling or bloating at some point, due to various causes. It feels like the stomach has expanded and stretched, which can be uncomfortable.
  • Eating too much or consuming foods that cause gas can cause temporary bloating in the stomach. However, if the swelling is frequent, it may indicate a dietary problem or be a sign of a more serious underlying condition.
  • Causes:

    Irritable bowel syndrome:

  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a chronic gastrointestinal condition that causes symptoms such as:
    • Swelling
    • Stomach pain or discomfort
    • Constipation or diarrhea

    Lactose Intolerance:

  • Lactose intolerance is a digestive disorder in which a person cannot digest the sugar lactose, which is present in milk. A person with lactose intolerance will develop uncomfortable or painful signs within hours of consuming milk or dairy products. These symptoms can include:
    • Stomach bloating
    • Stomach cramps and aches
    • Stomach roar
    • Gas
    • Flatulence
    • Nausea
  • The severity of symptoms varies depending on the amount of lactose a person has consumed.
  • Cirrhosis:

  • Cirrhosis is a condition in which working liver cells are replaced with non-functioning scar tissue. Scarring of the liver can lead to increased blood pressure in the blood vessels surrounding the liver. This can cause fluid to build up in the abdomen. The causes of liver disease range from underlying medical conditions to long-term heavy alcohol use.
  • Autoimmune diseases:

  • The immune system erroneously attacks and kills healthy cells in the body in people with autoimmune diseases. Autoimmune atrophic gastritis (GAA) is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system destroys the parietal cells of the stomach. These cells produce stomach acid, which the body needs to absorb vitamin B12. In AGA, the gradual loss of parietal cells can lead to iron and vitamin B12 deficiencies. The cause of AGA is unclear, but people may be at higher risk if they have:
    • Autoimmune thyroiditis
    • Type 1 diabetes
    • Addison's disease
    • Vitiligo
  • Scientists also believe that the condition could have a genetic factor, as it appears to run in families.
  • Congestive Heart Failure:

    • Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a disease that reduces the heart's ability to pump blood throughout the body. This alteration causes blood to pool in the chest. Then the fluid can leak into the abdomen and cause stomach bloating.
    • Congestive heart failure usually develops because of other conditions, such as high blood pressure and coronary artery disease.

    Other Causes:

  • There are many other possible reasons why a person's stomach can swell. These reasons, according to the International Gastrointestinal Disorders Foundation, include:
    • High salt intake
    • Hypersensitivity to the digestive process
    • Imbalance of the gut microbiota
    • Small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO)
    • Gallstones
    • A blockage in the gut
    • Greater curvature in the lower spine, reducing the space for gas in the abdomen
    • Edema because of some types of cancer or cancer treatment


  • If a person experiences severe or persistent stomach bloating, their doctor may perform one or more of the following tests to identify the cause:
    • Fecal analysis
    • Blood tests
    • Abdominal x-rays
    • Barium swallow test, which uses x-rays to take pictures of the esophagus (feeding tube) while a person eats food
    • Barium enema, which pictures the lower intestinal tract using X-rays
    • Gastric emptying scan, which is a test to determine how fast food leaves the stomach
    • Upper gastrointestinal (GI) endoscopy, which involves the use of a flexible endoscope to image the upper GI tract


    • If rest and reducing the amount of sodium in your diet do not work to relieve symptoms, your doctor may suggest that you use diuretics.
    • Diuretics will help your kidneys remove more fluid that causes swelling. In rare cases, an infection in the ascites fluid can develop. If this happens, you will need to undergo rigorous treatment with antibiotics.
    • There is not much medical treatment available to relieve a swollen abdomen due to IBS and lactose intolerance.
    • Ascites are usually a side effect of another serious problem in the body, such as cirrhosis.
    • Besides treating the offending condition, you may need to have the fluid removed. The fluid removal procedure, or paracentesis, varies in duration, as it depends on the amount of fluid that needs to be removed.

    When to visit a Doctor?

  • You probably don't need to see a doctor if you have occasional bloating or gas. But it can be very serious and even life-threatening with certain conditions that cause bloating, gas, and abdominal pain. That is why it is so important to consult with your doctor if:
    • Over-the-counter remedies or changes in eating habits don't help.
    • Has unexplained weight loss
    • You have no appetite
    • Have chronic or frequent constipation, diarrhea, or vomiting
    • Have persistent bloating, gas, or heartburn
    • Your stools contain blood or mucus
    • There have been major changes in your bowel movements
    • Your symptoms make it difficult for you to function
  • Seek immediate medical attention if:
    • Abdominal pain is severe
    • The diarrhea is severe
    • You have chest pain
    • You have a high fever
  • Your doctor will probably start with a complete medical history and physical exam. Be sure to mention all of your symptoms and how long you've had them.
  • Home Remedies:

    • Take a walk, as physical activity can cause the intestines to move more regularly, which can help release excess gas and stool.Preparing a cup of hot water with a few sprigs of mint leaves and a pinch of honey and drinking it right away can help improve the bloated feeling you are experiencing.
    • Ginger is present in most of the foods we eat. It has incredible gas expelling properties and can cure indigestion quite quickly.
    • While it may seem counterproductive, having a glass of warm water with a splash of lemon juice can help you get rid of stomach bloating quite easily.
    • Apple cider vinegar, as a health supplement, has become more popular these days. Apple cider vinegar can be mixed early in the morning with a glass of warm water and can be eaten once a day.
    • Yogurt has always been considered a refreshing food for hyperacidity. Contains natural probiotics that replace bad bacteria in the gut and improve digestion.

    Frequently Asked Questions:

  • If your abdominal bloating is prolonged, severe, or if you have other worrisome symptoms (eg, diarrhea, constipation, weight loss, or bleeding), it is extremely important to see your doctor so that you can exclude serious illnesses (eg, cancer).
  • When your stomach swells and feels hard, the explanation can be as simple as overeating or drinking carbonated beverages, which is easy to remedy.
  • A common cause of abdominal bloating is gas. Swallowing air as part of a nervous habit or from eating high-fiber foods can lead to gas production.
  • Citations:

  • Abdominal swelling -
  • Abdominal swelling -
  • Abdominal swelling -