Information on Abdominal Gases & Stomach Swelling

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  1. What is Abdominal Swelling?
  2. What Causes Abdominal Swelling?
  3. Help for Abdominal Swelling
  4. More Information on Abdominal Swelling

What is Abdominal Swelling?

Abdominal swelling, also known as stomach bloating or abdominal distention, is a condition characterized by the excessive accumulation of intestinal gas. The abdominal wall swells when gas is trapped in the intestines or peritoneal cavity – gas is produced at a higher rate than normal. Your abdomen feels full and tight, even when you have not eaten.

What Causes Abdominal Swelling?

This is a common condition and may be due to overeating, weight gain, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), contraceptive pill, pregnancy or constipation. Very often abdominal swelling is caused by intestinal gas as a result of a sudden increase in fiber such as vegetables and fruit. Eating fatty, salty or processed foods and drinking carbonated drinks or too much alcohol can also lead to a stomach bloating.

Sometimes swallowing air unconsciously, too little protein in the diet, food allergies or being lactose intolerant may cause a puffy stomach. However, abdominal swelling may also be the result of a more serious illness that causes intestinal inflammation or obstruction such as colon cancer, diverticulitis, Crohn’s disease, or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Abdominal swelling occurs when large volumes of different gases – hydrogen sulphides or mercaptans are produced at a higher temperature and pressure. These gases stretch the gut wall past its elasticity limit, causing the abdomen to expand and become bloated. This bloated feeling may be painful, smelly and very uncomfortable.

Help for Abdominal Swelling

The best way to deal with abdominal swelling is by eliminating certain foods from your diet. Eliminate gas-producing foods (such as beans) one at a time. If gas does not decrease, put the gas producing food back into your diet and eliminate another one until you have tested all of them. Over-the-counter and prescription medication such as antacids may also help to relieve discomfort. If symptoms persist, you should consult your doctor to rule out any other underlying conditions.

More Information on Abdominal Swelling

Tips to prevent Abdominal Swelling

In order to prevent stomach bloating, follow these helpful tips:

  • Incorporate fresh fruit and vegetables into your diet that will not cause gas and stomach bloating
  • Drink at least eight glasses of water daily to cleanse the body
  • Exercise regularly to encourage more frequent bowel activity
  • Reduce your intake of stimulants such as coffee, tea and chocolate
  • Increase your intake of B-complex vitamins and magnesium and calcium
  • Reduce stress by practicing deep breathing exercises or learn to meditate
  • Keep a diary where you monitor what foods causes you to bloat
Foods to avoid
  • Fruits such as apples, peaches and pears
  • Vegetables such as beans, cabbage, onions, artichokes, asparagus, brussel sprouts and broccoli
  • Whole grains such as bran and wheat
  • Salt and processed foods
  • Carbonated drinks and fruit juices
  • Milk products such as cheese, yogurt or ice cream and foods containing lactose
  • Chewing gum and hard candy
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