|Other encyclopedia topics:||A-Ag Ah-Ap Aq-Az B-Bk Bl-Bz C-Cg Ch-Co Cp-Cz D-Di Dj-Dz E-Ep Eq-Ez F G H-Hf Hg-Hz I-In Io-Iz J K L-Ln Lo-Lz M-Mf Mg-Mz N O P-Pl Pm-Pz Q R S-Sh Si-Sp Sq-Sz T-Tn To-Tz U V W X Y Z 0-9|
|Contents of this page:|
Alternative NamesSwollen belly; Swelling in the abdomen; Abdominal distention; Distended abdomen
Definition Return to top
A swollen abdomen is when your belly area is bigger than usual.
See also: Abdominal girth
Considerations Return to top
Abdominal swelling, or distention, is a common condition, which usually results from over-eating, rather than from a serious illness. Simple weight gain, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), pregnancy, or the unconscious swallowing of air can lead to this problem.
Abdominal distention is often due to gas in the intestines. This may result from eating fibrous foods such as fruits and vegetables. Beans are common sources of intestinal gas. Dairy foods can lead to abdominal swelling if you are lactose intolerant.
Abdominal swelling may also occasionally result from the accumulation of fluid in the abdomen, which can be a sign of serious medical problems. There are usually other symptoms in this case.
Causes Return to top
Home Care Return to top
A swollen abdomen that results from eating a heavy meal will go away when the food is digested. Eating in moderation will help prevent swelling.
For a swollen abdomen caused by swallowing air, awareness often leads to self-control. Eat slowly, avoid carbonated beverages, avoid chewing gum or sucking on candies, avoid drinking through a straw, or sipping the surface of a hot beverage.
For swollen abdomen caused by malabsorption, try changing diets and reducing milk consumption. Consult your doctor.
For irritable bowel syndrome, increase dietary fiber, decrease emotional stress, and consult your doctor.
For swollen abdomen resulting from other causes, follow prescribed therapy to treat the underlying cause.
When to Contact a Medical Professional Return to top
Call your health care provider if:
What to Expect at Your Office Visit Return to top
Your health care provider perform a physical exam and ask questions about your medical history, such as:
References Return to top
Proctor DD. Approach to the patient with gastrointestinal disease. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 134.
Postier RG, Squires RA. Acute abdomen. In: Townsend CM, Beauchamp RD, Evers BM, Mattox KL, eds. Sabiston Textbook of Surgery. 18th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2008:chap 45.Update Date: 11/16/2008 Updated by: Linda Vorvick, MD, Family Physician, Seattle Site Coordinator, Lecturer, Pathophysiology, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.