Abdominal distension is one of the most common complaints of the patients. Distension of the abdomen may occur after consumption of certain foods or it is pathological and related to certain medical conditions.
It has been reported that up to 25% of US population suffers from abdominal distension on regular basis. This symptom may be alone or accompanied by belching, nausea, rumbling sounds, cramps and/ or pain. Many people do not take this symptom seriously and look for certain over-the counter-medications to solve the problem.
Causes of Abdominal Distension
A variety of illnesses and disorders may result in abdominal distension and accompanying symptoms and signs.
Aerophagia is considered the leading cause of abdominal distension. It features with abdominal distension due to excessive swallowing of air. Even though people belch and release the ingested air some of it passes into the intestine and leads to bloating. Abdominal distension also affects people suffering from irritable bowel syndrome. Furthermore, dyspepsia, which is improper and inadequate digestion caused by stomach problems, typically results in distended stomach. Even hyperacidity may lead to distended stomach. Bloating is almost always a symptom in people suffering from constipation, particularly if they do not defecate for a long period of time. One more condition which features in abdominal distension is lactose intolerance. In people with lactose intolerance abdominal distension occurs after consumption of dairy products. Bowel obstruction is another disorder accompanied by bloating. In some people bloating results from poor motility or anastalsis. Celiac and tropical sprue are also considered potential causes of abdominal distension.
Systemic conditions such as heart failure and liver cirrhosis lead to ascites and consequent abdominal distension. Women typically complain about abdominal distension right before and during menstrual bleeding. Severe abdominal distension occurs in malnutrition diseases such as Kwashiorkor.
Bloating may be a consequence of certain cancers such as bowel cancer, pancreatic cancer, liver cancel, ovarian cancer and primary or secondary peritoneal cancer.
And there are many more intestinal conditions which commonly led to abdominal distension. Some of them are bacterial overgrowth syndrome, giardiasis, intestinal worms, diverticulitis etc.
Symptoms which Accompany Abdominal Distension
Abdominal distension almost never occurs alone. It is usually accompanied by certain symptoms. What symptoms will occur together with abdominal distension basically depend on the underlying medical condition. They include diarrhea, constipation, excessive belching, increased irritability and mood swings, nausea and vomiting, discomfort and/ or pain.
All these symptoms need to be taken into consideration and once the underlying disease has been identified and the appropriate therapy administered abdominal distension can be successfully taken care of.