A swollen abdomen is when your belly area is bigger than usual.
Swollen belly; Swelling in the abdomen; Abdominal distention; Distended abdomen
Abdominal swelling, or distention, is more often caused by overeating than by a serious illness. This problem can be caused by:
Air swallowing (a nervous habit)
Buildup of fluid in the abdomen (this can be a sign of a serious medical problem)
Gas in the intestines from eating foods that are high in fiber (such as fruits and vegetables)
Irritable bowel syndrome
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
A swollen abdomen that is caused by eating a heavy meal will go away when you digest the food. Eating in moderation will help prevent swelling.
For a swollen abdomen caused by swallowing air:
Avoid carbonated beverages
Avoid chewing gum or sucking on candies
Avoid drinking through a straw or sipping the surface of a hot beverage
For a swollen abdomen caused by
For irritable bowel syndrome:
Talk to your doctor
For a swollen abdomen due to other causes, follow prescribed therapy to treat the cause.
Call your health care provider if
Call your health care provider if:
- The abdominal swelling is getting worse and does not go away
- The swelling occurs with other unexplained symptoms
- Your abdomen is tender to the touch
- You have a high fever
- You have severe diarrhea or bloody stools
- You are unable to eat or drink for more than 6 – 8 hours
What to expect at your health care provider’s office
Your health care provider will perform a physical exam and ask questions about your medical history, such as:
- Time pattern
- When did the abdominal swelling begin?
- Does it occur after meals or after eating certain foods?
- What other symptoms occur at the same time? For example, have you had:
- Absent menstrual period
fatigue Excessive gasor belching
- Weight gain
Tests that may be done include:
Abdominal CT scan Abdominal ultrasound
- Blood tests
Colonoscopy Esophagogastroduodenoscopy(EGD) Paracentesis Sigmoidoscopy
- Stool analysis
X-rays of the abdomen