DefinitionAbdominal bloating is a condition in which the belly (abdomen) feels full and tight. Your belly may look swollen (distended).
Alternative NamesBloating; Meteorism
Common CausesCommon causes include:Air swallowing (a nervous habit)ConstipationGastroesophageal refluxIrritable bowel syndromeLactose intolerance and other food intolerancesOvereatingSmall bowel bacterial overgrowthWeight gainThe diabetes medication acarbose, as well as any medicine containing lactulose or sorbitol, may cause bloating.More serious disorders that may cause bloating are:Ascites and tumorsCeliac diseaseDumping syndromeOvarian cancerWhen the pancreas is not able to make enzymes needed for digestion (pancreatic insufficiency)
Home CareYou may take the following steps:Avoid chewing gum or carbonated drinks, especially those with high levels of fructose or sorbitolAvoid foods such as Brussels sprouts, turnips, cabbage, beans, and lentilsDo not eat too quicklyStop smokingIf you have constipation, it should be treated. However, fiber supplements such as psyllium or 100% bran can make your symptoms worse.You may try simethicone and other medicines you buy at the drugstore to help with gas, but these medications are often not helpful.See: Lactose intolerance for more on how to treat this problem.
Call your health care provider ifCall your health care provider if you have:Abdominal painBlood in the stools or dark, tarry looking stoolsDiarrheaHeartburn that is getting worseVomitingWeight loss
ReferencesBailey J. FPIN's Clinical Inquiries: Effective management of flatulence. Am Fam Physician. 2009;79:1098-1100.Ohge H, Levitt MD. Intestinal gas. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger & Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier;2010:chap 16.