Bloated abdomen

A bloated abdomen means swelling of the abdomen beyond its normal, usual size (girth).
This common phenomenon is also known as abdominal swelling, bloated abdomen or bloated abdomen and can have various causes.


Common causes of abdominal swelling

Irritable bowel syndrome
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) causes, among other things, cramps and stomach pain. It can also cause bloating, bloating and abdominal swelling.

Lactose intolerance
With lactose intolerance, the body is unable to digest lactose; Lactose is milk sugar found in dairy products. Symptoms include bloating and swollen abdomen.
If the abdomen inflates within two hours of eating dairy products, lactose intolerance may be present.

Ascites is a pathological accumulation of fluid in the abdominal cavity.
As a rule, it is caused by diseases of the liver (e.g. cirrhosis).
With cirrhosis of the liver, the liver becomes fibrous.
The dropsy may not show any symptoms in the initial phase.
Over time, the amount of accumulated fluid increases and one can observe increasing swelling of the abdomen, even outside meals.
Dropsy can cause discomfort.

can be the cause when intestinal gases are released frequently, but no other symptoms occur.
Everyone has bloating every now and then; up to 15 flatulences a day are completely normal.
There is no medical definition for excessive flatulence; if the flatulence causes discomfort, there are means to reduce it.
One should avoid foods that have a high proportion of non-absorbable carbohydrates.
These include mainly beans and legumes, broccoli, cabbage, plums, apples and foods containing sorbitol.
These are usually digested very slowly and can release small amounts of sulfur gas as they pass through the intestines.
Nutritionist Ian Marber recommends: “Eat slowly and don’t forget to chew”.

Gluten intolerance
Gluten intolerance or celiac disease can be a cause if:
1. fatigue also occurs, 2. body weight decreases for no apparent reason,

3. abdominal pain occurs.
Celiac disease is a counter-reaction to gluten, which is found in wheat, barley, rye, as well as in pasta, bread, cakes and certain sauces made with it.
It is an autoimmune disease in which the body classifies gluten as dangerous and attacks it; the result is damage to the mucous membrane of the small intestine, which reduces its ability to absorb nutrients from food.
Abdominal bloating may occur suddenly after meals.

Hormone fluctuations
A swollen abdomen can occur before menstruation or at the beginning of pregnancy.
During pregnancy and just before menstruation, progesterone levels rise.
Premenstrual syndrome can slow down the muscular activity of the intestine and bowel movements; this means that food travels more slowly through the body. The result is a swollen abdomen and possibly constipation.
Regular exercise can help stimulate intestinal activity, a half-hour walk every day makes a difference.
In addition, to prevent constipation, the diet should be changed: it is important to drink plenty of fluids and plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

peritonitis The peritoneum is a thin layer of connective tissue that lines the abdomen and surrounds most organs.
Inflammation of the peritoneum is called peritonitis.
It is caused by a bacterial or fungal infection, usually as a result of an abdominal injury, illness or by a therapeutic device, such as a feeding tube or dialysis catheter.
Symptoms vary depending on the cause of infection.
Common symptoms include:
1. Abdominal pain
2. Movement and pressure pain in the abdomen
3. Swelling or widening of the abdomen
4. Nausea and vomiting
5. Diarrhea
6. Constipation or meteorism

Long-term use of cortisone-containing medications can lead to abdominal dilation.
Cortisone drugs cause fat gain and muscle weakness. As a treatment measure, if possible, the steroid dose should be reduced.

Disorders of the abdominal wall General abdominal swelling is usually caused by obesity, usually as part of a general increase in body weight.
Local swelling can be caused by:
1. Lipoma – a benign fatty tumor
2. Inguinal hernia or inguinal hernia – normal or pinched hernia
3. Tumors

In the abdominal cavity
1. Abdominal dropsy – accumulation of fluid in the abdominal cavity, usually due to organ failure (heart or liver) or malignant deposits in the peritoneum.
2. Gas – excessive gas deposits in the intestine, usually due to nutritional problems or enzyme deficiency, swallowing air, with incomplete or complete intestinal obstruction.
3. Gas in the abdominal cavity, e.g. through an intestinal perforation.

enlargement of an organ Any organ
located in the abdominal cavity (liver, kidneys, spleen, pancreas, etc.) can enlarge; the causes are:
1. Infections, such as hepatitis.
2. Cancer – lymphoma, enlargement of the spleen, ovarian cancer.
3. Congestion of the liver due to heart failure.
4. Congenital diseases, such as a polycystic kidney.
5. Occlusion, can cause widening of the intestine.
6. Aortic aneurysm.

Causes of swelling in the area of the navel

  • Umbilical hernia (hernia umbilicalis or paraumbilicalis)
  • Gastric carcinoma
  • At the level of the transverse colon: e.g. carcinoma, constipation, diverticulitis
  • In the small intestine: e.g. Crohn’s disease
  • Retroperitoneal: aortic aneurysm or lymphadenopathy

Swollen belly after eating

Reheated food

For some people, the abdominal swelling only occurs when they eat out of the house, for example, when they eat pasta, rice or potatoes in a restaurant.
The reason for this can be the repeated warming up of the food.
It seems that the reheating of starchy foods leads to a change in the molecular structure, resistant starch is formed; this is probably not digested in the small intestine but in the large intestine. The starch-splitting bacteria produce gas and thus flatulence.
Some people have greater difficulty digesting starch than other substances. You therefore do not have to do without these foods, only a warming up should be avoided. Transformed foods, such as ready meals and pre-baked bread, contain even more resistant starch.

Natural remedies for bloated belly

Depending on the cause of the swollen abdomen, symptoms may be easy to treat at home.
Smaller meals can have a preventive effect.
One should eat slowly and give the food enough time to be processed in the stomach.
If the abdomen is bloated due to intestinal gases, critical foods should be avoided; these include beans and certain vegetables such as broccoli and cabbage.
Avoid carbonated drinks and do not drink with straws.
Those who eat slowly swallow less air, which can lead to bloating of the abdomen.
With lactose intolerance, abstaining from dairy products will relieve abdominal swelling.
In the case of irritable bowel syndrome, avoiding stress and increasing dietary fiber intake have been shown to alleviate symptoms.
For dropsy, bed rest and a reduced sodium intake help the body rid itself of the excess fluid.

Diagnosis and examination procedures

1. Urinalysis: may detect blood in the urine (hematuria) in patients with bladder or kidney cancer.
2. Pregnancy test.
3. Ultrasound examination of the abdomen.
4. Blood count: count of white blood cells in infections or neoplasias, anemia in abnormal vaginal bleeding associated with fibroids or as a result of cancer.
5. Blood test: Hypokalemia or uremia can cause a non-mechanical intestinal obstruction.
6. Liver function tests: in case of hepatic insufficiency, cholestatic hyperbilirubinemia with carcinoma of the pancreas, hypoalbuminemia, associated with dropsy.
7. X-ray examination of the abdomen, colon contrast enema: in case of constipation, colon disease, intestinal obstruction.
8. Sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy.
9. Other possible examination methods are CT and paracentesis.

Therapy and prevention

With increased intestinal gas production, constipation, or minor digestive discomfort, treatment may include making the diet richer in fiber, using herbs, and changing lifestyle habits.

Another effective method is to replace the digestive enzymes that the body loses with age.
A good digestive system contains different enzymes, because the food consumed needs different enzymes to be digested.

A simple and quick self-help measure is to keep an eating diary.
There everything is noted, what and how much is eaten during the day, at what time the meals take place and how you feel afterwards.
The notes are analyzed after a week, looking for foods, combinations or meal times that could be the reason for the feeling of fullness.
If the cause is known, the diet can be changed in such a way that the problematic foods are removed from the diet and certain behaviors are omitted.

Below are some useful tips for relieving bloating, gas formation and bloating:

  • Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. They have a high proportion of fiber and counteract constipation.
  • Drink plenty of bright liquids. In this way, the migration of food through the intestine is favored and fluid remains in the large intestine.
  • Avoid alcoholic and carbonated drinks, especially beer. The carbon dioxide can become trapped in the stomach and cause a feeling of fullness.
  • Prefer fresh and natural foods. Packaged foods contain preservatives and are harder to digest.
  • Read the package labels and avoid foods that contain a lot of sodium. Sodium drains the body and causes water retention.
  • Moderate the consumption of dairy products if there is lactose intolerance; preferably choose lactose-free products.
  • Extremely cold or hot foods cause increased air intake when eating and should therefore be avoided.
  • Avoid caffeine because it has a stimulating effect and can overstimulate the digestive system.
  • Avoid foods high in fat because they are difficult to digest and can cause digestive cramps.
  • Regular exercise promotes intestinal activity, especially in the morning before breakfast.
  • Women can take supplements to prevent premenstrual syndrome and thus reduce the swelling typical of the menstrual cycle.
  • Increase fiber intake gradually up to 25-30 g per day. Fiber reduces indigestion, bloating and bloating.
  • As a preventive therapy, regular colon cleansing can be considered.

These changes should not all be introduced at once, but gradually. Studies show that people can more easily change their behavior in this way. Progress should be noted, this gives the necessary motivation to change and improve life.

Activated charcoal or medical charcoal is a very effective, natural remedy for persistent abdominal swelling. They are available in the pharmacy in the form of comprettes or capsules.
Coal helps with abdominal cramps, colitis, aerophagia, meteorism, maldigestion and constipation.

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