Hard stomach


Rough and swollen belly during pregnancy

A rough belly during pregnancy is very common and occurs in almost all expectant mothers.

As the uterus expands, it begins to press against the walls of the stomach, causing a “feeling of hardness.”

During this time, the abdomen does not harden, but the uterus (in the abdominal area) grows and feels rough.

Around the 20th week, the organ reaches navel height and you can feel it when the area is carefully palpated.

The feeling of a hard and swollen belly is especially in the evening or at night after you have eaten.

Abdominal rigidity is a cause for concern for pregnant women, because the hardening causes pain.

Below are the most important causes.

Causes of a hard stomach in pregnancy

During the second trimester, the uterus extends to the level between the pubic bone and the navel.

The fetus grows inside the organ, stretches it and thus creates more space for itself.

The uterus increases in size and begins to press against the walls of the stomach, creating a feeling of rigidity.

This symptom worsens in the third trimester and lasts until the last day of pregnancy.

In addition to the increase in size, there are other factors that cause this complaint.

Amniocentesis is the puncture of the amniotic sac to examine the amniotic fluid, which is performed during the 15th and 17th week of pregnancy.

After this examination, the abdomen may be:

  • Rough
  • Aching.

By the end of the twenty-first week, the child’s skeleton is “rubbery.”

In the twenty-second week, the bones develop and harden.

This increase in bone hardness in the child causes hardening of the abdomen.

The child’s movements (fetal movements) can trigger contractions of the uterus.

At the end of pregnancy, the contractions cause a rough belly.

Hard stomach at the beginning of pregnancy

In the first weeks of pregnancy (up to about the thirtieth week) it is normal for the area around the abdomen to become firmer.

This feeling is very common in the time of joyful expectation.

In some patients, this development occurs between the end of the eighth and twelfth week.

During pregnancy, the uterus widens. Our organism reacts to stretching and widening with a contraction of the muscles of this organ, which should not be confused with the contractions of labor pains.

This is a normal and physiological reaction and there is no need to worry.

The following may occur:

  • A persistent painful contraction,
  • A contraction that occurs sporadically in certain situations, for example after standing for a long time.

A full bladder can make the stomach even harder, especially in the morning.

The increase in size of the abdomen also depends on the stature of the mother.

  • If the expectant mother is slim, you can feel the uterus after just one or two weeks of pregnancy.
  • If the woman is fatter, she feels the uterus after the third week.

The organ only becomes “compact” when labor begins or childbirth takes place.

The gynecologist may prescribe isoxsuprin, a drug that prevents premature birth during contractions and premature rough abdomen.

In the hours leading up to the birth, there is not much you can do to relieve the feeling of pain. However, this is only a temporary phase.

Hard, swollen and aching abdomen during the menstrual cycle

The symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (pain in the breasts, buttocks, abdomen, etc.) also include a hard and swollen abdomen throughout the day.

This symptom begins a few days before the start of the cycle and passes as soon as menstruation has begun. It is strongest in case of delay.

Hard and swollen stomach during menopause

Menopause symptoms may begin a few years before menstruation stops.

This period is called premenopause.

After a period of 12 cycle-free months, the woman officially enters menopause.

Most women reach menopause around the age of 50.

The swollen and hard abdomen is more common during premenopause than during menopause.

During premenopause, estrogen levels in the blood may be elevated.

These hormones cause water retention and thus lead to swelling.

Sometimes it is difficult to distinguish water retention from an increase in body weight.

In general, swelling occurs only for a short period of time after eating, in:

  • A large amount of food,
  • Very fast consumption,
  • foods that cause flatulence.

Hard and swollen abdomen in men

Gas formation due to overeating

Too rich food is a cause of a bloated belly.

After eating, the stomach is filled and causes the belly to be rough.

Overeating causes:

  • Indigestions
  • Formation of intestinal gas (meteorism).

The stomach easily digests small amounts of food.

It is advisable to change bad habits as soon as possible.


A walk after a sumptuous meal then favors and accelerates digestion, because:

  • The blood flow to the organs is increased,
  • The transport of food through the digestive system is facilitated.

High-fiber diet

A high-fiber diet leads to a bloated belly. When starting a diet, one immediately feels this symptom; it is recommended to check with a nutritionist the amount of fiber that should be included in the diet.

Aerophagy (swallowing air)

Aerophagia develops in the following cases:

  • If too much air is swallowed while eating,
  • When carbonated drinks are drunk,
  • If you smoke.


Natural remedies for aerophagia are:

  • Do not speak when eating (this reduces the swallowed air content in the stomach),
  • Do not drink carbonated drinks,
  • Quit smoking,
  • Avoid foods that produce intestinal gases.

Lactose and fructose intolerance

Food allergies or intolerance to lactose or fructose cause bloating in the stomach.


People with lactose intolerance should avoid foods with these substances.


Sometimes a tapeworm can also cause the abdomen to be hard, bloated or soft.

If a tapeworm is suspected, the family doctor should be consulted as soon as possible.

In the meantime, a natural diet should follow.

constipation or constipation

Constipation is one of the main causes of a hard abdomen, especially on the left side, where the last section of the colon and rectum (the last piece of the colon) are located.

Constipation can occur due to various factors:

  • physiological problems,
  • unhealthy eating habits,
  • low-fiber diet,
  • Drink little,
  • Pregnancy
  • Overeating
  • Lack.


Against constipation, an increased high-fiber diet is recommended.

In addition, to combat constipation, abundant hydration is important.

It is necessary to change the diet and consume:

  • Abundant fruit (pears, apples, plums, melons, kiwi),
  • Legumes
  • Nuts
  • Vegetable.

Irritable bowel syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), in addition to hardening of the abdomen, causes the following pathologies:

  • Chronic abdominal pain,
  • Diarrhoea
  • Backache
  • Chronic fatigue.


To reduce the stress of IBS, the following remedies can be tried:

  • change of diet,
  • The doctor may prescribe antispasmodic drugs, for example, Buscopan.

Other factors that cause a hard stomach include:

  • Diverticulosis
  • syndrome of left flexure (intestinal gas accumulation in the large intestine in the upper abdomen on the left, near the spleen),
  • Dumping syndrome (characterized by too rapid gastric emptying, symptoms may include: dizziness, nausea, sweating, weakness, etc.)
  • Ileus
  • allergy to food,
  • Coeliac disease.

A bloated stomach after eating can be avoided by following a healthy and disciplined daily eating program and following a balanced diet with sufficient fiber and fluids.

This prevents most of the problems of indigestion and bloating.

Causes of bloating in children

There are many causes that can lead to a hard stomach in children and infants.

Symptoms of these diseases are pain and abdominal discomfort.


Appendicitis is a condition that occurs in children and adults.

A child with this pathology shows the following symptoms:

  • abdominal pain (only on the right side),
  • Fever
  • Nausea.

Coeliac disease

Celiac disease is a condition caused by gluten intolerance.

This disease leads to a lesion of the inner wall of the small intestine (mucous membrane), which can no longer absorb nutrients.

The most common symptoms of celiac disease in children are:

  • Diarrhoea
  • Swellings
  • Stomach ache.


Often children drink little water. The result is the formation of solid stools, which are difficult to excrete.

An inappropriate diet is another cause of constipation.

Giardia infection

Infection with giardia arises after drinking contaminated water or through contact with an infected person.

Symptoms of the disease include:

  • watery diarrhea,
  • Tense abdomen,


Often children eat without chewing enough.

The food is not digested well and undigested food accumulations form in the intestine and a tense abdomen.

Lactose intolerance

Some children, when they are very young, may develop an intolerance to lactose or another food allergy.

Symptoms of this condition include:

  • Vomit
  • Stomach ache
  • Abdominal cramps.

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