An abnormally enlarged abdomen is referred to as abdominal distension. You can feel, measure, or even see this change. Gas bloating, accumulation of fluid, tissue or gastrointestinal contents can cause a distended stomach. It can be acute or chronic.
How can you describe abdominal distension in detail?
Bloated stomachs are noticeably larger than usual. This is often accompanied by a feeling of being bloated from stomach secretions or trapped gas. However, abdominal distension is rarely caused by digestive processes. Flatus (gas), fetus (pregnancy), fat, and faces are all factors that can cause a distended abdomen.
Your doctor and you can see a distended abdomen as a sign of something more serious. You can either have an acute, rare event or a chronic condition that occurs over time. A digestive condition is often associated with chronic abdominal distension that causes bloating and unpleasant sensations.
What causes abdominal distension in adults?
An abdominal distension or swelling can be biological or functional. Physical evidence can help to diagnose illness. Functional issues can be seen but not explained.
- Menstruation can cause water retention.
- Significant weight gain in recent years, which is retained as intra-abdominal fatty tissue but can restrict digestion.
- An intestinal blockage can be minor or major. It causes gas buildup and other waste materials.
- Gastroparesis causes temporary paralysis in the abdomen and a buildup digestive content.
- Gas and bloating can be symptoms of gastrointestinal diseases and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
- Peritonitis (inflammation of the abdominal lining)
- Ascites is a fluid buildup in the abdomen that results from liver problems.
- Inflammation or growth can cause organ enlargement.
- Internal bleeding (intra-abdominal hemorrhage)
A distended stomach is often caused by digestive problems that can cause gas or other digestive contents to accumulate. There are several possible causes.
- Functional indigestion, dietary intolerances or IBS can cause gas.
- Constipation can cause stools to build up and the digestive contents to back it up.
- Urinary retention is when urine can accumulate.
- An abnormal condition in which the muscles contract during digestion, causing digestive contents to back-up (intestinal pseudo obstruction).
- Weak abdominal muscles can cause the abdominal contents to droop downward and outward.
How can healthcare professionals manage abdominal distension?
Your doctor will examine your abdomen if you visit him for a distended stomach. Your symptoms of a distended abdomen will be discussed. They will also inspect your abdomen to determine where it is. They can determine which organs are affected by the position of the curvature outward, and narrow down the possible causes. They could feel the area with their hands, strike it, and listen for the sounds it makes to determine if fluids, gases, or other solids are present.
There are two types of abdominal internal organs: hollow and solid. They can become distended due to inflammation, overgrowth, tumors, cysts, and other conditions. They may be detected by your healthcare provider by touching them or taking an image of the internal organs. You may feel a large growth through your skin. Imaging tests will be used by your healthcare professional to diagnose the problem and then multiple treatment options will be offered.
Another reason for abdominal distension is fluid buildup in the abdominal cavity membrane, also known as the “peritoneum“. They can become inflamed from infection or fill up with fluid from a condition called ascites. Ascites occurs when fluid is pulled into the abdomen cavity by pressure on the blood vessels in the liver. This is known as portal hypertension. An ultrasound exam is more sensitive than a physical exam, which may reveal fluid in the abdomen.
Management of abdominal distension
The treatment will be adjusted if your abdomen is distended for organic reasons. This could be a sign that you are dealing with an infection, growth, impediment or other problem. An acute case can be resolved if the root cause is identified. For chronic conditions, diuretics may be used to reduce fluid retention, constipation or active carbon capsules for gas.
It may take some trial and error to determine the cause of your functional abdominal distension. Your healthcare provider may recommend a hydrogen breath test to help diagnose excessive intestinal gas. Your healthcare provider may recommend that you try diet modifications, probiotics or enzymes to aid digestion.
Here are some tips to help you avoid abdominal distension at your home
It is easier to prevent the problem by knowing what it is. You may be able adjust your eating habits to prevent stomach distension if you notice it after you eat. Here’s an example:
- Find out your dietary sensitivities so you can modify your diet accordingly.
- Reduce portions and eat smaller meals more slowly. Take more time between meals.
- Drink lots of water to avoid waste buildup and eat more fiber.
- Consider probiotics and digestive enzymes before you eat.
What should I do if abdominal distension is a medical emergency?
If you experience the following symptoms of abdominal distension, seek medical attention immediately.
- It only gets worse.
- This is often accompanied by severe stomach discomfort.
- This is often accompanied by symptoms of disease such as fever, vomiting, and bleeding.
- If you don’t know the cause,
The bottom line:
Although it is often a temporary digestive problem, a distended stomach can sometimes indicate a more serious condition. You don’t have to live in silence. Your doctor can help you determine the cause of your digestive problem and provide home remedies. You should seek medical attention if you are suffering from a serious condition that isn’t improving. Sometimes a symptom can be a sign of a more serious condition.