Swollen Tummy

Common Reasons for a Swollen Tummy

When it comes to a swollen tummy, the cause could be any number of things.  While this problem could be serious in some instances for both children and adults, any time a physical change is seen children, it would be important to have the child checked by the family doctor as soon as possible.  Chances are good that the problem is nothing serious but with children, you can never be too careful.  In addition, if anyone with an extended stomach were to experience fever, vomiting, chronic diarrhea, and/or bleeding, medical treatment should be sought immediately.



One of the more common causes of a swollen tummy is the buildup of gas.  For instance, if a person were to eat something spicy or any gas-producing foods to include refried beans, broccoli, bell peppers, lettuce, cabbage, avocado, asparagus, onions, smoked fish, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower are just a few examples.  Taking an antacid will solve the problem in most cases.  Additionally, if someone were to heat a large meal it would be expected for the abdominal to extend beyond its normal size.

Another possibility for a swollen tummy is malabsorption.  This means foods being consumed are not providing the proper type or amount of nutrients needed by the body.  Although typically seen in undeveloped or underdeveloped countries, even people within the United States can face this problem.  Malabsorption can be very dangerous if not corrected because the body is not getting the fuel needed to survive.  Typically, changing diet and eating the proper amount of food is the solution.  However, in the case of Giarda, a parasite that lives and grows within the gastrointestinal system, it would be imperative for the parasite to be eliminated for the malabsorption and swollen tummy to go away.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS is another common problem that can cause a swollen tummy.  In this case, the body does not process food and waste properly, which leads to chronic diarrhea and gas.  In addition to dietary change, it would be important for the person to increase fiber intake, reduce or eliminate stress, and see a doctor so any underlying cause of IBS could be identified or ruled out.  Millions of people live with IBS, some having only a minor case but others having full-blown symptoms that can prove very debilitating to life.

Finally, if the person had some type of growth, whether benign or malignant, if left unchecked it could continue to grow, which would result in the swollen tummy becoming larger and larger.  In all cases, excluding eating gas-producing foods or consuming large amounts of food, it would be essential for the individual to be seen by a doctor, especially if the swelling becomes worse, other symptoms develop, or tenderness to the touch occurs.

At the doctor’s office, information would be gathered specific to when the swollen tummy started, how long the person has been living with the swelling, and what, if any other symptoms are being experienced.  From there, the doctor would run a number of tests such as an ultrasound, CT scan, blood tests, x-rays, stool analysis, blood test, colonoscopy, and others to find the cause.  With that identified, the doctor would get the person started on appropriate treatment so the stomach would return to its normal state.