The swollen belly or abdominal distension is an increase in the size (circumference) of the abdomen proportional to the rest of the body.
This phenomenon can be called distended abdomen or swollen belly. A swollen abdomen has several potential causes and occurs many times.
To heal it, it is important to understand the difference between bloating and distension.
The swelling is the sensation that we feel when the abdominal region is bigger.
The distension means that the size of the abdomen is actually higher than the norm and can be seen without a doubt.
It is possible to feel the swelling without being really swollen.
For example, if we make a healthy meal, we can feel the belly swollen, but in reality it is not dilated. To be defined as dilated, the abdomen should increase in size by one quarter.
The most common causes of swollen belly
Irritable bowel syndrome
The irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a disease that causes stomach cramps and pain, among other symptoms. IBS can also cause bloating and gas that could cause abdominal dilation.
The intolerance to lactose is a disease that occurs when the body is unable to digest lactose, a sugar found in dairy products. The symptoms are swollen belly and distention.
If we feel the abdomen swollen after two hours after the ingestion of dairy products, we may be lactose intolerant.
Ascites is a disease that occurs when fluid accumulates inside the abdomen.
This buildup is usually caused by liver problems, including cirrhosis .
Cirrhosis occurs when the liver becomes fibrous.
In the first stage of ascites, the symptoms are probably not noticeable.
Over time accumulates much fluid and one begins to notice the abdomen becoming more and more bloated, even out of meals.
Ascites can cause discomfort.
Could be the cause when many intestinal gases are expelled, but without other symptoms.
We all have flatulence from time to time, it is perfectly normal to get 15 times a day.
There is no medical definition of excessive flatulence, if you feel shame or there is a feeling of discomfort, there are products that can be taken to reduce it.
Try to reduce foods high in nonabsorbable carbohydrates.
The most common culprits include beans and vegetables, broccoli, cabbage, plums, apples and foods that contain sorbitol.
These tend to be digested slowly and may release small amounts of sulfur gases as they pass through the intestines.
Nutrition consultant Ian Marber says: “Eat slowly and remember to chew.
The Celiac disease or gluten intolerance can be caused if:
1. Symptoms There is fatigue,
2. If you lose weight without apparent reason,
3. suffer from abdominal pain.
Celiac disease is a clinical adverse effect to gluten found in wheat, barley, rye and all foods containing them, whole dough and bread, cakes, some sauces and sauces.
It is an autoimmune disease in which the body mistakes gluten for a threat and attacks it, then damages the surface of the small intestine that reduces the ability to absorb nutrients from food.
The swelling can start suddenly after meals.
May be the cause of the swelling before menstruation or in the early stage of pregnancy .
During pregnancy and just before the cycle , the levels of hormone progesterone increase.
Premenstrual syndrome can slow bowel movement and evacuation, this means that food passes slowly through the body. The consequence is bloated belly and constipation.
Exercises can help improve bowel mobility and walking for 30 minutes a day can make a difference.
In addition, the diet should be changed because we need to drink lots of fluids and eat lots of fruit, vegetables and whole grains to avoid constipation.
The peritoneum is a thin layer of connective tissue that covers the inside of the abdomen and most of its organs.
The inflammation of the peritoneum is called peritonitis .
The inflammation is caused by a bacterial or fungal infection, usually caused by an injury to the abdomen, a disease or a device to do the therapies, such as a feeding tube or the catheter by dialysis.
Symptoms vary depending on the cause of the infection.
Are frequent symptoms of peritonitis:
1. stomach ache ,
2. abdominal pain that worsens during movement or pressure,
3. Swelling or bloating,
4. Nausea andvomiting ,
5. Diarrhea ,
6. constipation or bloating.
If we take cortisone medications for an extended period of time, the consequence is abdominal distension.
The effect of cortisone is increasing fat and weakening of the muscles and can be painful. The treatment anticipates reducing the dose of steroids if possible.
Abdominal wall disorders
Swelling is usually caused by the accumulation of fat and is usually part of the weight gain.
Local swelling can be caused by:
1. Lipoma , a benign fat tumor;
2. Inguinal or abdominal hernia – normal or imprisoned;
Contents of the abdominal cavity
1. Ascites – fluid in the abdominal cavity, usually associated with organ failure (heart or liver) or due to malignant deposits in the peritoneum.
2. Gas – excess gas in the intestine, usually the cause of dietary or enzyme deficiency problems, swallowed air, partial or total intestinal obstruction . 3. Gas in the peritoneal cavity, for example, by a perforated intestine.
Enlargement of the organ
All abdominal organs (liver, kidney, spleen, pancreas, kidney, etc.) may increase due to:
1. Infections such as hepatitis C;
2. Cancer – lymphoma , enlarged spleen, ovarian cancer;
3. Congestion of the liver due to heart failure ;
4. Congenital problems such as polycystic kidney disease ;
5. Occlusion can cause intestinal distention;
6. Aortic aneurysm .
Causes of swelling in the umbilical area
- Umbilical or umbilical hernia .
- A stomach cancer.
- At the level of the transverse colon, for example a carcinoma, constipation, diverticulitis.
- In the gut, such as Crohn’s disease.
- Retroperitoneal aortic aneurysm or lymphadenopathy.
Swollen belly after eating
For some people, swelling occurs only when they eat out.
There are patients who report swelling when they eat pasta, rice or potatoes in the restaurant.
This disorder can occur because the food has been heated twice.
It appears that the double heating of starch-containing foods changes the molecular structure, transforming it into ‘resistant starch’. This can not be digested in the small intestine and large intestine, the bacteria that break it down produce gas, then swelling.
Some people find it more difficult to digest starch than other substances.
It is not necessary to avoid these foods, just make sure they are only cooked once.
Processed foods like ready-made meals and baked bread aside, as baguette has even sturdier starch.
Natural Remedies for the Swollen Abdomen
According to the cause of the swollen belly, we may be able to treat the symptoms easily at home.
Eating smaller meals can help avoid this problem in the future.
It is best to eat slowly to allow time for the foods to be processed through the stomach.
If the abdomen is swollen because of intestinal gas, try to avoid foods that cause gas like beans and some vegetables like broccoli and cabbage.
Avoid drinking carbonated beverages and it is best not to drink straw.
Eating slowly may help prevent swallowing air that causes swelling.
Avoiding dairy products may help alleviate the swelling caused by lactose intolerance.
In the case of irritable bowel syndrome, reducing stress levels if fiber increases, has been shown to help alleviate the symptoms.
In case of ascites, bed rest and reduce sodium intake can help the body to get rid of excess fluid.
Diagnostic and Instrumental Exams
- Urine analysis : may show hematuria ( blood in the urine ) in patients with bladder or kidney cancer .
- Pregnancy test .
- Abdominal ultrasound .
- Hemogram : count white blood cells in infections or neoplasms, anemia with abnormal vaginal bleeding associated with myoma or as a consequence of cancer.
- Renal dysfunction; hypokalemia or uremia can cause non-mechanical bowel obstruction .
- Examination of liver function: hepatic insufficiency, cholestatic hyperbilirubinemia with pancreatic carcinoma , hypoalbuminemia, associated with ascites.
- Abdominal radiography , barium enema for constipation, bowel disease, intestinal obstruction.
- Sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy .
- Other tests are computed tomography and paracentesis.
Treatment and prevention
When you suffer from an increase in the production of intestinal gas, constipation or digestive disorders, the treatment may consist of a modified diet with more fiber , take herbs and change the way of life.
Another very effective solution is to replace the digestive enzymes that the body loses with age.
A good digestive system contains more enzymes, since each type of food ingested needs a different enzyme to be digested.
Among the change in lifestyle easier and faster is keeping a food diary.
Write what you eat every day, how much you eat, when you eat and how you feel afterwards.
Evaluate results after one week.
Look for foods, food combinations or eating times that cause the feeling of fullness.
After identifying the causes of the problem, we can change the diet and avoid foods and behaviors that cause problems.
Below are some helpful changes to relieve bloating, gas and flatulence.
- Eat fresh vegetables and fruits. These have a high fiber content and reduce constipation.
- Drink plenty of clear liquids per day. This helps the food slip in the intestines and keeps the fluids in the colon.
- Avoid soft drinks, beer and carbonated drinks. Carbon dioxide can remain trapped in the stomach causing swelling.
- Eat foods that are fresh and natural. Packaged foods contain preservatives and are more difficult to digest.
- Read labels and avoid foods that are high in sodium. The coolant dehydrates and causes water to be retained.
- Eat dairy products in moderation. Whoever suffers from lactose intolerance notes that reducing the amount of dairy products encourages the digestion of these products. Look for lactose-free products.
- Avoid foods that are too cold or too hot because they increase the intake of air during the meal.
- Avoid caffeine because it acts as a stimulant and can excite the digestive system.
- Avoid fatty foods because they are difficult to digest and can cause digestive spasms.
- Regular exercise. The movement, especially the morning before breakfast, promotes bowel activity.
- Women can take supplements for premenstrual syndrome to reduce the typical swelling of the menstrual cycle.
- Gradually increase fiber to 25-30 grams per day. Fiber reduces digestive disorders, including bloating and bloating.
- Consider preventive care like seasonal colon cleansing.
Make these changes gradually, starting with just one or two at a time. Studies show that people can change their behavior more easily with gradual changes. Keep track of progress. This creates a motivation to change and improve their lives.
Charcoal is an effective natural remedy for swollen belly. It can be purchased in pharmacy handling or as medicine in the form of tablets or capsules.
It is useful as therapy for abdominal cramps , colitis, aerophagia, flatulence, indigestion and constipation.