Home Digestive system Swollen belly: gas or pregnancy?

Swollen belly: gas or pregnancy?

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

Having a bloated belly is a common description of many people when they feel discomfort in the abdominal area. In reality, this expression is linked to many and varied causes that produce the sensation of increase and tension in the belly. The swollen belly can refer to a large amount of gas, it can be related to the first symptoms of pregnancy or more complex conditions.

When the swollen belly refers to the increase in size of the abdomen, in medical terms it corresponds to what is called abdominal distention . A distinction can be made as to the fact that bloating refers to the sensation of having a swollen belly and distention refers to the fact that the abdomen is actually larger. In any case, there are many reasons for this discomfort, which is why at FastlyHealwe answer the question: Swollen belly : gas or pregnancy?

Swollen belly: gas or pregnancy?

Typically, the term bloated belly is a popular term that describes two things. On the one hand, it is associated with the sensation of having a swollen belly , although this is not visible or results in an increase in the abdomen and, on the other hand, it certainly describes abdominal distention, which is the medical term that describes the visible increase in volume. of the abdomen. In short, this expression refers to the feeling of a bloated belly and also to bloating.

So, a swollen belly can be related to various causes. Among them, perhaps the most important are the following:

Excess gas

It is very common for the feeling of a bloated belly to be due to excess intestinal gas produced by bacteria in the intestines. However, there is no clear and direct relationship between the two cases, since there are people who have abdominal distention without having more gas than people who do not suffer from these symptoms. For some patients, a small amount of gas is enough to feel like they have a bloated belly. In many cases the reason why patients fill up with gas is due to the intake of some foods, such as certain sugars and dairy products, in the event that the person is lactose intolerant. In the latter case, you may also have colic and diarrhea, after consuming dairy products. The balance of the intestinal flora can also be responsible for the increase in the amount of gases.

Pregnancy and menstruation

Before and during menstruation, women may experience bloating and abdominal pain . Likewise, in early pregnancy, just when the zygote implantation occurs, similar symptoms may occur. Then, throughout the entire pregnancy, in view of the fact that the uterus will grow pressing the intestines, women will feel different abdominal discomforts. In this case, the females will not only have the sensation of a swollen belly, but the abdomen will actually grow from the 16th week.gestation. The volume of the abdomen will increase and the belly will be more visible and hard. In most cases, women will be aware that they are pregnant, although in overweight women with irregular menstrual cycles, pregnancy and an enlarged abdomen is not so obvious. In these cases, the pregnancy may go unnoticed for a few months.

Hard and swollen tummy: pregnancy symptoms

Throughout the gestation period, there are many changes that women’s bodies undergo. Many of them are related to the growth of the belly. At first, women may experience mild discomfort, cramps, or bloating in the belly . As the baby grows and the uterus in turn, the discomfort will increase, due to the simple physical fact that the uterus will leave little space for the intestines and stomach. For this reason, the sensation of having a swollen belly and abdominal discomfort are a frequent symptom in pregnant women and increase as the pregnancy progresses.

On the other hand, hormonal changes that affect the entire body will also affect the digestive system. Thus, high levels of progesterone will relax smooth muscle throughout the body, including the digestive system. This will slow down digestion, leading to an increase in the amount of gas and discomfort, especially after a large meal. Due to this, it is more common for pregnant women to suffer belching and flatulence, exceeding the average amount of twelve flatulence a day in normal people.

Swollen lower belly: other causes

As we mentioned above, not only pregnancy and gas are the culprits of suffering from abdominal bloating, there are many causes that produce the sensation of a bloated belly . In addition to those described above, we also find the following:

  • Irritable bowel syndrome: this condition alters the motility of the intestines, producing in the patient different symptoms such as gas, abdominal pain and cramps, diarrhea alternated with constipation and a feeling of a swollen belly. This last symptom can remain only as a sensation but it can also turn into a real increase in abdominal volume due to the gases that accumulate in the colon.
  • Constipation: depending on the severity of this condition and depending on its causes, it can produce a more or less significant abdominal distention. It may not have a definite cause but it may be due to the presence of a tumor, diverticula, diabetes, neurological problems, or the use of certain medications.
  • Celiac disease: people who suffer from this disease will produce more gas and will have the sensation of a bloated belly if they consume gluten. This is because this immune disease causes an inflammatory reaction in the gut when exposed to gluten.
  • Ascites: Refers to the accumulation of fluid in the abdomen and is usually a symptom of serious diseases of the liver, kidneys, and heart.
  • Growth of internal organs: certain conditions cause the enlargement of some organs, and, consequently, this increases the abdominal volume. Such can be the case of the enlarged liver or fibroids in the uterus.
  • Parasites: the presence of parasites in the intestines can cause colic, increased amount of gas and diarrhea.

Remedies for swollen gut

Some practical tips can help relieve a swollen lower belly regardless of the cause that is causing it:

  • Eat small amounts each time.
  • Eat slowly and chew well to facilitate digestion.
  • Avoid eating foods like grains, broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage.
  • Avoid carbonated drinks.
  • Reduce dairy consumption if you are lactose intolerant and avoid gluten consumption if you have celiac disease.
  • If you suffer from irritable bowel syndrome, it is advisable to avoid stress, drink plenty of fluids and eat foods rich in fiber.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Swollen belly: gas or pregnancy? , we recommend that you enter our Digestive System category .

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