Bloated belly: 9 common causes and what to do

The sensation of a bloated belly can arise due to excess intestinal gas, being a common symptom when swallowing air while chewing, speaking or if you have a diet rich in fats and sugar, and can also arise due to constipation.

In addition, a swollen belly can also be caused by gastrointestinal problems, such as irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease or intestinal obstruction, for example, and be associated with other symptoms, such as nausea, abdominal pain, heartburn or the presence of blood in the stool.

It is important to consult a gastroenterologist when the feeling of a swollen belly becomes constant, worsens or is accompanied by other symptoms, so that the cause can be identified and the most appropriate treatment can be started.

Watch the following video and better understand the causes of a swollen belly:

Causes of a swollen belly

The main causes of a bloated belly include:

1. Excessive gas

This is the most common cause and is usually caused by a diet rich in fats, fried foods or sweets. Eating very spicy foods or foods with too much seasoning are also common causes of a swollen belly, as they stimulate the formation of intestinal gas, which tends to dilate the lower abdominal region.

What to do: eating slowly, not swallowing air while eating and drinking fennel tea are some natural and simple options to calm gas production, relieving symptoms quickly. You can also use medications, such as Luftal. See other natural ways to combat intestinal gas .

Don’t ignore the signs your body is giving you!

Count on our experts to understand the cause of your symptoms. Book your appointment now!


Available in: Brazil, …

2. Constipation

Constipation can be related to low fiber intake, little physical activity and low water intake, and can affect people of all ages. It is more common in sedentary and bedridden people.

In addition to a swollen belly, constipation is also accompanied by difficulty defecating and a feeling of gas trapped in the belly, for example.

What to do: eat foods rich in fiber, as they help to form fecal matter, reducing constipation and the gases associated with it. Good examples are oats, muesli, wheat bran, whole grain foods, and raw fruits and vegetables or those cooked in water and salt.

You can also drink a glass of natural yogurt mixed with 1/2 papaya every day. This recipe has no contraindications and can be used by people of all ages. See other natural ways to combat constipation .

3. Excess weight

Sometimes, the belly is not just swollen but there is an accumulation of fat in this region and in this case it is necessary to make changes in lifestyle and thus lose weight and burn the fat in the abdominal region to solve the problem.

What to do: exercise daily and eat less foods low in fat and sugar, in addition to having nutritional and medical monitoring to reduce weight.

4. Menstruation

It is very common for women to complain of a swollen belly during PMS and menstruation. This is due to the accumulation of fluids in the abdominal area during this phase, which tends to disappear naturally when menstruation ends.

What to do: you should consult a nutritionist, who can adjust your diet, thus reducing the effect of this distension.

5. Pregnancy

When your belly starts to feel more swollen from the navel down and your period is a few days late, this could be a sign of pregnancy.

It is normal for the belly to start to become more prominent below the navel in the first trimester of pregnancy and, over time, it will grow with a more uniform shape until it reaches close to the breasts.

What to do: If a woman suspects she is pregnant, she can take a drugstore pregnancy test or a beta HCG blood test, and avoid taking any teas or medications on her own. If the test is positive, she should schedule an appointment with her obstetrician to begin prenatal care and the use of supplements and vitamins to ensure a healthy pregnancy. See how prenatal care is done .

6. Ascite

Ascites is a medical condition where fluid builds up in the abdominal region, mainly due to liver problems, such as cirrhosis of the liver. The belly becomes swollen not only due to fluid buildup, but also because organs such as the liver and spleen have their functions altered.

What to do : If you suspect ascites, it is recommended to consult a gastroenterologist to assess the cause of the problem and begin the most appropriate treatment. Learn more about ascites and how it is treated .

7. Bowel obstruction

Intestinal obstruction is an emergency situation that occurs when feces cannot pass through the intestine due to interference in its path, resulting in symptoms such as difficulty evacuating or eliminating gas, bloating, nausea or abdominal pain.

What to do: Treatment for intestinal obstruction varies according to the location and severity of the symptoms, and should always be done in a hospital, as surgery may be necessary. Learn more about when obstruction occurs and how it is treated .

8. Gastrointestinal problems

A bloated belly can also be caused by gastrointestinal problems, such as irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, gastroesophageal reflux or peptic ulcer, for example, which can lead to an increase in the amount of gas in the gastrointestinal system.

In addition, other symptoms may be present, such as heartburn or a constant burning sensation, abdominal pain, nausea, or the presence of blood in the stool, for example.

What to do: you should consult a gastroenterologist so that the gastrointestinal problem can be diagnosed and the most appropriate treatment can be started according to its cause. The use of gastric protective medications, such as omeprazole or esomeprazole, antibiotics, corticosteroids or immunosuppressants, for example, may be recommended.

Read also: Feeling full and swollen: 11 causes (and how to relieve them)

9. Food intolerance

Food intolerance is a difficulty in digesting certain foods such as milk, bread, pasta, or food additives, such as dyes or preservatives, for example, causing bloating, excess gas, diarrhea, nausea or abdominal cramps.

What to do: it is important to try to identify the food that caused the intolerance and consult a gastroenterologist to confirm the diagnosis, and follow an individualized diet, guided by a nutritionist.

When to see a doctor

It is important to see a doctor in the following situations:

  • Worsening of abdominal swelling;
  • Severe abdominal pain;
  • Nausea and vomiting;
  • Severe diarrhea;
  • Blood in the stool;
  • Heartburn or burning sensation in the stomach;
  • Chronic constipation;
  • Fever;
  • Difficulty eating or drinking.

In addition, a doctor should be consulted if the person has difficulty eating or drinking for more than 6 to 8 hours, as this can cause dehydration, especially in cases of diarrhea or intense vomiting. Learn how to identify the symptoms of dehydration .


You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *