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Common Causes of Abdominal Swelling

Many of you would have experienced a bloated abdomen. Tummies may swell after eating a large meal, indulging in certain foods, or because of health problems. The majority of times, swelling reduces on its own without further treatment. Women tend to suffer more from abdominal swelling than men do. What then are the primary causes of abdominal swelling and how can you distinguish, when medical attention should be sought and when time will heal your maladies?


Abdominal Pain

Excess Gas

A build-up of gas in your digestive system can lead to temporary abdominal swelling and some pain and discomfort. This can be brought on by swallowing air, drinking carbonated beverages, or eating certain known food culprits like beans or cabbage. Chewing gums, candies, carbonated beverages, or eating a meal too quickly can all contribute to gas as well. Avoiding these triggers can reduce discomfort.


Constipation may be caused by numerous circumstances. If you are suffering from dry, hardened stools, this may be the root of your swollen abdomen. Stool softeners are available at local pharmacy to remedy this condition.


Obesity is the most common reason for abdominal swelling and many other health problems. Consulting a physician to help you lose weight will remedy this problem.


As the baby develops inside the woman’s body, the abdomen naturally swells. If the possibility exists that you may be pregnant, taking an at-home pregnancy test to confirm this as the reason for an enlarged abdomen is the first step. Pregnancy test kits are readily available in medical shops.

Hormonal Influence

Women may experience abdominal swelling near or just before the time of their menstruation. This can be alleviated by taking over-the-counter medications designed for PMS and other anti-inflammatory needs.

The below listed conditions that cause abdominal swelling are little serious problems and requires medical attention beyond time and over-the-counter products. Contact your doctor if the swelling does not resolve promptly or if you have the listed warning signs.

Fluid retention

Some diseases that affect other organs of the body including the heart, liver, and kidney, can result in excess fluid formation. You may be noticing swelling in your abdomen and ankles as the extra fluid pools in the lower extremities. Speak with your doctor to discuss options for controlling this.

Urine retention

For men, an enlarged prostate can lead to urine retention in the bladder which in turns causes painful swelling in abdomen, especially in lower part. Discussing this with your primary care doctor is necessary to reduce the pain and swelling.

Warning Signs

If you experience yellowing of the skin, shortness of breath, severe pain, vomiting, excessive drowsiness, fever, a tender abdomen, severe diarrhea, or cannot ingest food or drink for six to eight hours, then you should contact your doctor or seek emergency care. These symptoms accompanying abdominal swelling are markers of obstruction or side effects of serious maladies that need to be addressed immediately.

Being able to distinguish between a mild case of overeating and a signal of a more serious condition may prevent further pain and enable early interventions. Contact your physician if you are experiencing any of the warning signs or your symptoms match those of one of the more chronic conditions. Knowledge will provide the key to better health and allow you to gain a more involved role in your personal health.

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