Abdominal distension is a medical condition wherein there is heaviness in the abdomen and an increase in its size. Frequently, individuals interpret abdominal symptoms as abdominal distension, particularly if those symptoms are not relieved by burping, passing out gas, or bowel movement.


Abdominal distension can have a lot of causes or types.

These types include the following conditions:

  • Ascites
  • Capillaria philippinensis
  • Celiac disease
  • Coccidiosis
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Diverticulitis
  • Eosinophilic gastroenteritis
  • Fasciolosis
  • Giardiasis
  • Hookworm disease
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Kidney stones
  • Kwashiorkor
  • Lactose intolerance
  • Obstructed bowel
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Polycystic liver disease
  • Pregnancy
  • Premenstrual syndrome
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection
  • Bacterial overgrowth of small bowel
  • Strongyloidiasis
  • Tropical sprue
  • Weight gain
  • Whipple’s disease

Abdominal distension can have numerous causes. The most common causes, for example gas pains, acid reflux or muscular distension, are not usually serious. Different diseases may require medical consideration with more prominent urgencies.

Abdominal pain can usually happen and get resolved in a couple of hours to a few days. Pain can be intermittent or rambling, which implies that it can go back every now and then. This abdominal symptom can last from months to weeks, or even years.



Symptoms of abdominal distension may include the following:

  • Belching
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Abdominal pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Weakness
  • Feeling of stomach bloating
  • Sense of fullness
  • Cramps


The doctor will do a medical interview then do a physical exam. Tests that may be requested may include the following:

  • Complete Blood Count
  • Liver Function Tests (LFT)
  • Urinalysis
  • Kidney function
  • Ultrasound
  • Barium x-ray
  • Colonoscopy
  • Endoscopy



The treatment of abdominal distension depends on its underlying cause. The person suffering from abdominal distension is advised to consume a low-spice, low-fiber and low fat diet.

Medications that may be given include the following:

  • Certain enzymes and probiotics
  • Prescription medications such as antibiotics
  • Antidepressants
  • Antispasmodics
  • Low doses of laxatives


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