Abdomen - swollen
Swollen belly- Swelling in the abdomen- Abdominal distention- Distended abdomen
A swollen abdomen is when your belly area is bigger than usual.
See also: Abdominal girth
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
Partial bowel blockage
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 malabsorption, try changing your diet and limiting milk. Talk to your doctor.
For irritable bowel syndrome:
Decrease emotional stress
Increase dietary fiber
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:
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
Excessive gas or belching
Tests that may be done include:
Abdominal CT scan
X-rays of the abdomen