A bloated stomach describes a feeling of pressure of the affected person in the upper abdomen. The feeling of pressure may be temporary or include a prolonged episode. The intensity of the sensation of the inflated stomach is not always a marker of the severity of a corresponding cause. In general, it is important to clarify where the cause of the symptom is coming from and whether the pressure may not come from the rib cage and require timely professional examination.
It is possible for a bloated stomach to be a transient condition, for example as a result of a high-fat and difficult-to-digest meal. If the condition persists for several weeks or if the episodic occurrence of the symptom persists again and again, this can be understood as a disease of the stomach or of the gastrointestinal tract.
Often, inflammation of the lining of the stomach, called gastritis, is the main cause of the appearance of a bloated stomach. These are subdivided into three subgroups according to the cause.
Type A is described as autoimmune gastritis, no direct cause can be found for this.
Type B is called bacterial gastritis. The cause is described as the colonization of the stomach with the bacterium Helicobacter pylori. This provides for the reduced protective mucus production of the stomach and for increased acid production, which promotes inflammation.
Type C has chemical causes and is the result of prolonged use of drugs in the group of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as aspirin, ibuprofen or Voltaren®. Furthermore, a high alcohol consumption, smoking and chronic Gallereflux (back flow of the bile fluid in the stomach) lead to the expression of type C. Another cause is the increased swallowing of air during eating.
Pain in the upper abdomen, accompanied by nausea, often occurs as an additional complaint of a distended stomach. The pain can occur on the one hand in the fasting state, on the other hand, but also after eating. It is also possible that frequent belching and heartburn may occur concomitantly Abdominal sensations may be impressive, these often manifest in a feeling of fullness.
Furthermore, patients often report a more rapid onset of satiety after food intake. In general, accompanying symptoms of bloated stomach or gastric mucosal inflammation occur variably and inconstantly, so that these symptoms may or may not occur. A quick clarification of the exact cause should be made.
The diagnosis of a bloated stomach can be made by the doctor first by an intensive questioning of the patient. Here, the temporal occurrence of complaints, habits and after taking certain pain medications are asked. For an extended examination of the respective cause, a gastroscopy can be performed. In this case, the surface of the gastric mucous membrane is assessed with a tube in which a light source including a camera is located. In addition, tissue samples can be taken which are examined by specialists. In addition to this invasive method, there are also ways to detect the cause of the discomfort in the stool or in the blood.
In any case, longer lasting discomfort associated with a bloated stomach should be clarified by a physician. This then ensures the diagnosis and can be detected early by adequate therapy, complications such as bleeding or gastric ulcer or prevent its emergence. Depending on the cause of the underlying disease then a corresponding therapy is initiated.
The most common cause, bacterial gastritis, is given over a period of 7 to 10 days, an acid-production inhibitor in conjunction with two antibiotics. In this so-called eradication therapy, it is set to complete the bacterial colonization with the bacterium Helicobacter pylori completely.
At this point, it is recommended to use easily digestible, low-fat foods and little meat. In addition, smoking and drinking alcohol should be avoided as it stimulates acid production, which in turn irritates the lining of the stomach. An acid-production inhibitor may still be taken over a longer period of time.
Accompanying nausea in the context of bloated stomach not infrequently occurs in addition to the actual symptoms burden. This can vary from person to person and also occur at different times. Due to the reduced protective mucus production and the increased acid production in the context of gastritis, the gastric mucosa is greatly irritated and is exposed to additional irritation by alcohol or smoking unprotected. The body then reacts with the feeling of nausea as a protective mechanism to prevent further, even more extensive damage.
Pain in the context of a bloated stomach often confirms the suspicion of gastritis. They affect the upper abdomen and can occur both fasting and after eating. Increased irritation of the mucous membrane, the narrowing of the mucus layer and increased acid production drive the local inflammatory reaction.
Since the prolonged intake of analgesics such as aspirin, ibuprofen and diclofenac may also be a cause of gastritis and thus the inflated stomach, these should be avoided as possible for treatment. The doctor will then resort to painkillers that do not affect the protective mantle of the stomach. In case of severe stinging pain, a doctor should be consulted immediately to counter possible complications. These include gastric bleeding or a stomach puncture, which can quickly have serious consequences.
The duration of an inflated stomach or feeling of fullness varies depending on the cause. For one thing, the bloated sensation of having a very high-fat diet can be sustained over a period of several hours, but should then ease away from the meal.
If it is a gastritis, which causes the distended stomach, this can also over a longer period of weeks or even months creeping repeatedly noticeable without becoming acute.
The bloating of the gastrointestinal tract can have many causes. The consumption of flatulent foods, such as legumes, various types of cabbage and particularly high-fiber foods, play a major role here.
Food intolerances such as lactose intolerance or gluten intolerance can also be causative. In order to investigate the cause, the suspected foods should be deliberately avoided here. Keeping a journal of the meals taken is recommended.
The so-called irritable bowel syndrome, which prevails in more than 50% of cases in patients with gastrointestinal discomfort, is in many cases the cause of this. Backgrounds for the development of irritable bowel syndrome are not yet properly understood and subject of current research. The sufferers suffer from diffuse abdominal pain, which can extend over the entire gastrointestinal tract, in addition to a feeling of pressure and / or bloating, as well as constipation or diarrhea. After defecation, there is a feeling of improvement in the feeling of fullness and pressure in the abdomen. Irritable bowel syndrome is an exclusion diagnosis. This means that other underlying potential illnesses must first be ruled out. These include, among others, chronic inflammatory bowel diseases such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease.
An inflated stomach after eating has several causes. On the one hand, fast food and slings can cause a lot of air to be swallowed. This initially leads to a feeling of flutter and later to increased belching, which should bring improvement. Drinking carbonated drinks is often another cause. High-fat meals also often cause a feeling of fullness. During digestion, the absorbed fatty acids react with the stomach acid and release carbon dioxide. The resulting gas then requires space and thus ensures the perceived feeling of fullness. With existing gastritis, it can also lead to a bloated feeling after eating, so it sometimes comes to a rapid satiety after a small amount of food.
Anatomically, the stomach lies below the diaphragm and is thus spatially assigned to the upper abdomen and not to the thorax, in which the heart is located. In a greatly distended stomach, however, it may come through the increase in size to the spatial approach of the stomach to the organs of the chest. As a result, the so-called Roemheld syndrome can occur. In this case, the person affected develops a fast heartbeat and occasionally feels extra beats of the heart.
The Roemheld syndrome can occur as a result of diaphragmatic hernia. Here parts of the stomach slip through enlarged openings in the diaphragm into the thorax. These enlarged openings may be innate or acquired. In addition, they can also be caused by a trauma, for example, if the diaphragm is injured. If the above symptoms appear, surgery should be considered with careful consideration by the treating physician. These can be done minimally invasive. There is the insertion of a network to prevent the re-passage of the stomach.
A bloated stomach is often a heavy burden for the person concerned and it is not uncommon to resort to home remedy before a visit to a doctor. First, suspected triggers, such as high-fat and flatulent foods or carbonated drinks should be omitted. Gentle food, such as easy-to-digest white bread or soups can provide relief, as do commercially available gastrointestinal teas. These contain a number of soothing herbs that have a calming effect on the gastrointestinal tract. It is important not to overstrain the stomach. So meals should be taken slowly and preferably in smaller quantities in lukewarm temperature. In addition, heat in the form of cherry stone cushions or hot water bottles can have a soothing effect. With all home remedies, however, it is advisable to visit a doctor for longer-lasting complaints.
Inflammation of the stomach caused by gastritis may also lead to serious complications that can not be controlled by conventional home remedies.
Even in pregnancy, a bloated stomach often occurs. The growth of the child and the uterus cause a displacement and partial suppression of the internal organs, so that it can come after a small meals to a feeling of fullness. In addition, the mother is affected by the hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy and suffers more easily from a bloated stomach. Certain hormones cause relaxation of the muscles of the internal organs, such as the gastrointestinal tract, which causes the digested food to remain in the body of the mother for a longer period of time and promotes bloating. Frequently, pregnant women also observe an increased sensitivity to certain foods, which then gives them an increased distention of the stomach. In general, it is dangerous neither to the mother nor to the child. In general, the pregnant woman should try to avoid particularly flatulent foods. If severe pain occurs, a doctor should be consulted immediately. Independent intake of de-aerating medicines should also be discussed with a doctor.