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Weight gain gas bloating: Swollen Stomach and Weight Gain: Causes of Abdominal Bloating

Swollen Stomach and Weight Gain: Causes of Abdominal Bloating

Bloating or swelling around your stomach or abdomen can have many causes, including digestive conditions, hormonal changes, and even some medications.

In addition to abdominal bloating or swelling, it’s possible that you may have noticed that you’ve also gained some weight without changing your exercise routine or diet.

So, what does it mean when these two symptoms — stomach bloating and weight gain — occur together?

In this article we’ll take a closer look at what can cause stomach swelling along with unexpected weight gain, and discuss when it’s a good idea to see your doctor.

Outlined below are possible causes of a swollen stomach and weight gain that can affect both men and women. Some of these causes are related to lifestyle factors while others may be a symptom of a more serious medical condition.


It’s possible that high levels of stress can cause weight gain and bloating. Too much stress can have a variety of negative effects on your body, including on your digestive symptom.

When you’re stressed, you can experience gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms like bloating, abdominal discomfort, and diarrhea. Additionally, some researchers believe that stress may contribute to your perception of abdominal bloating.

Stress can also cause some people to “stress eat.” In fact, about 40 percent of people increase food intake when they’re feeling stressed. It’s also possible that stress may lead to a decrease in physical activity. Along with stress eating, this can cause weight gain.

There are steps you can take to help reduce your stress levels. For instance you can try:

  • getting regular exercise
  • prioritizing your sleep and aiming for at least 7-8 hours rest each night
  • relaxation techniques like meditation, yoga, or breathing exercises
  • listening to music or writing down your thoughts
  • indulging in a favorite hobby

Alcohol consumption

Alcohol is an inflammatory substance that can affect many parts of your body, including your digestive system. Alcohol consumption can lead to several unpleasant GI symptoms like bloating, gas, and abdominal discomfort.

Alcohol is full of empty calories. Per gram, it has almost twice as many calories as carbs or protein, yet provides no nutritional value. Because of its calorie content, increased alcohol intake can lead to weight gain.

You can prevent alcohol-related bloating and weight gain by drinking in moderation. This means one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men. A standard drink is considered to be:

  • 12 ounces of beer (5 percent alcohol)
  • 8 ounces of malt liquor (7 percent alcohol)
  • 5 ounces of wine (12 percent alcohol)
  • 1.5 ounces of liquor (40 percent alcohol)


It’s possible that some types of medications can cause abdominal bloating and weight gain. Some examples include:


Corticosteroids are used to reduce inflammation in your body. Fluid retention as well as weight gain, particularly around the abdomen and face, are potential side effects of oral corticosteroids. Other possible side effects include:

  • high blood pressure
  • swelling of the lower legs
  • mood swings
  • increased eye pressure (glaucoma)
  • slow wound healing
  • increased risk of infections
Oral contraceptives

Oral contraceptives can also cause bloating. While you may gain some weight on these medications, studies have indicated that they don’t lead to major weight gain. Other possible side effects of oral contraceptives include:

  • spotting between periods
  • breast tenderness
  • nausea

Antibiotics treat bacterial infections. Because they can also affect bacteria in your digestive tract, they can cause GI symptoms like bloating. Other potential side effects of antibiotics include:

  • diarrhea
  • nausea or vomiting
  • abdominal pain
  • reduced appetite

Because GI bacteria can play a role in weight gain, it’s also possible that changes to GI bacteria through the use of antibiotics may contribute to weight gain. However, more research is needed in this area.


Ascites is a condition that’s characterized by fluid buildup in your abdomen. It’s the most common complication of cirrhosis, a condition that’s caused by scarring or damage to your liver.

In addition to cirrhosis, additional causes of ascites can include:

  • some types of cancer, such as ovarian, liver, colorectal, or pancreatic cancers
  • heart failure
  • kidney failure
  • pancreatic disease
  • tuberculosis

Ascites happens when high blood pressure in the veins of the liver (portal hypertension) is combined with reduced liver function. This causes fluid to accumulate in the abdomen. Symptoms can include:

  • swollen or distended abdomen
  • weight gain
  • abdominal pain or discomfort
  • shortness of breath
  • feeling full quickly after eating (early satiety)

The overall goal of ascites treatment is to limit the amount of fluid that builds up in the abdomen. Treatment options can involve:

  • diuretic medication, which helps remove water from the body through increased urination
  • insertion of a temporary drain in your abdomen to remove fluid
  • placement of a shunt within your abdomen that reroutes blood flow around the liver
  • liver transplant

Cushing’s syndrome

Cushing’s syndrome is a condition in which your body produces too much cortisol. You may be familiar with cortisol as your “stress hormone.” Cortisol can impact all areas of your body and is important for processes like:

  • responding to stress
  • maintaining blood pressure
  • reducing inflammation
  • regulating the way nutrients are turned into energy

Most of the time, Cushing’s syndrome develops due to the prolonged use of corticosteroids, which are used to treat conditions like asthma and rheumatoid arthritis. Specific types of tumors can also cause the condition.

Because of the broad action of cortisol throughout the body, Cushing’s syndrome has a wide variety of symptoms. Two of them are weight gain and accumulation of fat around the abdomen. Other symptoms include:

  • round face (moon face)
  • thin arms and legs
  • fat accumulation at the base of the neck
  • easy bruising
  • poor wound healing
  • stretch marks, particularly on the abdomen
  • muscle weakness
  • excess hair on the face, chest, and abdomen (women)
  • periods that are irregular or absent (women)
  • reduced libido (men)
  • erectile dysfunction (men)

If Cushing’s syndrome is caused by corticosteroid medications, your doctor will likely reduce the dose or recommend an alternative medication. Surgery can be performed to remove tumors that are causing Cushing’s syndrome.


Hypothyroidism is when your thyroid doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone. Thyroid hormone helps your body utilize energy. When there’s not enough of it, your body’s processes can slow down.

This includes processes like metabolism. In fact, one of the symptoms of hypothyroidism is weight gain. Your digestive system can also be impacted, slowing the movement (motility) of your intestines.

This decreased motility can increase the risk of a condition called small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). SIBO often causes bloating, gas, and abdominal discomfort. Some research has linked it to hypothyroidism.

In addition to weight gain and, potentially, bloating, other symptoms of hypothyroidism include:

  • fatigue
  • constipation
  • body aches and pains
  • dry skin
  • thinning hair
  • sensitivity to cold
  • reduced sweating
  • slowed heartbeat
  • depression
  • irregular periods (women)
  • problems with fertility (women)

Hypothyroidism is treated with a medication called levothyroxine. This is a hormone medication that works to replace the missing thyroid hormone.

Now let’s examine some causes of weight gain and stomach swelling or bloating that can be the result of conditions that specifically affect women.

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)

PMS is a collection of symptoms that happen in the days prior to your period. The symptoms of PMS can be both emotional and physical. They’re caused by changes in hormone levels that occur during your menstrual cycle.

Two of the physical symptoms of PMS are bloating and weight gain. Bloating occurs due to water retention, which, like many other PMS symptoms, is caused by hormonal changes.

Weight gain may be associated with other PMS symptoms, such as:

  • water retention, which can slightly increase your weight (“water weight”)
  • food cravings that may cause you to overeat or eat unhealthy foods
  • fatigue and abdominal cramps, which may lead to a decrease in physical activity

Additional physical and emotional symptoms of PMS can include:

  • breast tenderness
  • headache
  • body aches and pains
  • GI symptoms like constipation and diarrhea
  • acne
  • altered sleeping patterns
  • feeling irritable
  • emotional outbursts
  • feelings of anxiety or depression

Many PMS symptoms can be eased with lifestyle changes like regular exercise, eating a healthy diet, and getting enough sleep. Medications like NSAIDs, oral contraceptives, and antidepressants can also help reduce symptoms.


Bloating is a potential early sign of pregnancy. This often feels similar to the bloating that you experience prior to getting your period. Other early pregnancy symptoms include:

  • missed period
  • breast tenderness and swelling
  • morning sickness
  • frequent urination
  • fatigue
  • constipation
  • abdominal cramping
  • sensitivity to odors

Unexpected weight gain is also a symptom of pregnancy. However, it may not be noticeable early on. During pregnancy, most women gain the majority of their pregnancy weight after week 20.

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)

PCOS happens when levels of androgens (male sex hormones) are higher than normal. This can have a variety of effects on your body, such as interfering with your cycle and causing excess hair growth.

Another potential side effect is weight gain. Weight gain due to PCOS often happens around the abdomen, which may cause your stomach to appear distended or bloated.

Other symptoms of PCOS can include:

  • cysts that form on your ovaries
  • irregular periods, which can include:
    • very heavy periods
    • frequently missed periods
    • absent periods
  • infertility
  • thinning hair
  • acne
  • darkened patches of skin, particularly on your neck and under your breasts
  • skin tags

There’s no cure for PCOS, but medications can help reduce symptoms. Some medication options include:

  • hormonal birth control, which can help keep your cycle regular and reduce symptoms like acne and excess hair growth
  • metformin, a medication that’s typically used to treat diabetes, but may also help with PCOS
  • clomiphene (Clomid), a medication that helps you ovulate


Endometriosis is a condition in which the lining of the uterus (endometrium) grows outside of your uterus. Because this tissue is in an area where it doesn’t belong, it can cause inflammation, pain, and bleeding between periods.

Endometriosis can also cause abdominal bloating. This may be due to:

  • growth of endometrial tissue within your abdomen, which can cause swelling and fluid retention
  • endometriomas, a type of ovarian cyst that can develop with this condition
  • other GI symptoms that often happen with endometriosis, such as constipation and diarrhea

Weight gain itself isn’t a symptom of endometriosis, but it can occur in some women. This may be due to several factors associated with endometriosis, including:

  • Water retention: Retaining extra fluid can lead to a slight increase in weight.
  • Medications: The side effects of some medications used to treat endometriosis, such as hormonal birth control, may lead to weight gain.
  • Hysterectomy: Hysterectomy, a surgery to remove the uterus, is sometimes used to treat endometriosis. One 2009 cohort study found that women gained an average of 3 pounds in the year after their hysterectomy.

Endometriosis is treated with medications, which can include hormonal birth control, gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonists, and pain relievers. In cases where symptoms are severe, surgery may be an option.

In some cases abdominal swelling with weight gain can signal an underlying condition that needs medical attention. See your doctor if you experience swelling and weight gain that:

  • comes on suddenly
  • is severe
  • is prolonged
  • can’t be explained by an existing health condition
  • occurs along with additional symptoms like abdominal pain or shortness of breath
  • happens along with changes to your menstrual cycle, such as very heavy periods, irregular periods, or absent periods (women)

Additionally, if you’re taking a medication that’s causing unwanted side effects like bloating and weight gain, speak with your doctor. They may be able to recommend an alternative medication or treatment.

Stomach swelling that happens with weight gain can have several causes. Some causes may be related to stress, alcohol consumption, or medications. Other causes can be a result of health conditions like hypothyroidism or PCOS.

Many causes of stomach swelling and weight gain can be treated with lifestyle changes and medications. However, others, such as ascites, can be serious.

See your doctor or healthcare provider as soon as possible if you have stomach swelling and weight gain that comes on suddenly, is severe, or happens with other concerning symptoms. Your doctor can work with you to determine what may be causing your condition, and prescribe the right treatment plan for you.

How To Tell The Difference, From Experts

Whether it’s after a fun night out filled with cocktails and pizza or seemingly for no reason at all, you’ve probably woken up to a distended stomach and tighter pants at some point in your life. But how do you know when you’re just bloated—or if it’s body fat?

We talked to five experts to find out the difference between the two and how to address either one if that’s your goal. Plus, how to get to the root cause of bloating and stomach fat so you can prevent it altogether—and when to call your doctor.

Meet the experts: Allison Koch, RD, is based in Chicago. Mary Sabat, RD, is the founder of Body Designs by Mary. Bryan Curtin, MD, is a gastroenterologist and the director of the Center for Neurogastroenterology and GI Motility at Mercy in Baltimore, Maryland. Alex Caspero, RD, is a plant-based chef behind the Delish Knowledge and a certified personal trainer. Lisa M. Davis, PhD, is a clinical consultant in nutrition.

The Difference Between Bloating And Fat

Bloating is when your abdominal region or belly feels full, tight, and has the appearance of being swollen or distended,” says Allison Koch, RD, of the Running Dietitian. It can occur when you eat, drink, or have too much gas. It may feel different from person to person, but it can range from mildly uncomfortable to intensely painful.

Fat, especially if it builds up around the midsection, develops over time and tends to stick around longer. “It feels soft instead of tight,” Koch adds. But, remember: Not all body fat is harmful to health. It keeps you warm and stores vitamins like A, D, E, and K, which are essential to organ and tissue function. Fat is also important for the proper functioning of blood sugar, the brain, hormones, and metabolism.

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“Stomach fat refers to subcutaneous fat, which is the fat that accumulates just beneath the skin in the abdominal area,” explains Mary Sabat, RD, founder of Body Designs by Mary. “It is the fat you can physically feel and pinch.” This type of fat is generally considered less harmful to overall health than visceral fat, which is located deeper within the body, per Sabat.

Bloating typically resolves on its own, while you’ll need to get rid of fat by lowering your body percentage of fat through exercise and diet.

How do you know if a swollen stomach is caused by bloating or fat?

Weight gain due to excess fat shows up on the scale gradually, while weight gain as a result of bloating can show up suddenly, such as overnight or even within the same day, according to Koch.

Here are other tips to help you figure out whether you are dealing with bloat or excess fat in the stomach region.

Check the mirror in the a.m. “When we wake up in a fasted state, our food has already left our stomach and is probably well into our colon, so we do not get that bloated feeling and look,” says Alex Caspero, RD, the owner of Delish Knowledge. “If you wake up with a stomach that is a good two sizes smaller than when you go to bed, something is going on in your gut.

Think back to your bathroom activities. “Being backed up causes you to weigh more until your body releases the waste it is holding onto,” says Lisa M. Davis, PhD, a clinical consultant in nutrition. This can literally expand your stomach. While every woman’s regular is slightly different, if yours is not on a pretty reliable schedule, it is not regular. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), low fiber intake, PMS, sleep changes, stress, and even traveling can all contribute to constipation, she says.

Dehydration can also cause bloating. “Your pee should be a light lemonade color. It does not need to be clear or very pale, but it should not look like iced tea or dark lemonade,” says Caspero.

Know your body. “When you gain weight, it is rarely in one area,” says Caspero. It spreads out over your arms, belly, butt, face, thighs, etc. Though you might notice it most in areas where you tend to carry more of your body fat, bloating is all about the abdomen, she says.

Consider your cycle. Throughout the menstrual cycle, changes in female sex hormones, especially estrogen and progesterone, can result in serious water retention. “The fluid can spread around the body, but seems to affect your tummy most of all,” says Davis.

Re-evaluate after meals. “Bloating tends to happen around and after meal times and changes throughout the day. If you eat lunch and feel bloated afterward, but that feeling goes away when you hit the gym, it is likely bloating,” Caspero explains.

What you eat matters too—consuming a lot of carbs or salt can cause tissue to hold onto water, says Davis, noting that just two cups of water weighs one pound. If you are on a low-carb eating plan, you can expect more fluid in your system post-pasta.

What causes bloating in the stomach?

“Most of the time bloating is due to an accumulation of gas in the GI tract,” says Bryan Curtin, MD, a gastroenterologist and the director of the Center for Neurogastroenterology and GI Motility at Mercy in Baltimore, Maryland. This can be due to a variety of reasons, which include the following:

  • Chewing a lot of gum
  • Eating too quickly
  • Having a digestive disease such as Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), or ulcerative colitis
  • Drinking a lot of carbonated beverages
  • Consuming too many fiber-containing foods
  • Being constipated
  • Having dairy when you have lactose intolerance

“Medical conditions, such as food allergies, gluten intolerance, infections, or even a bowel obstruction can also cause bloating,” Koch says, adding that certain medications may have bloating as a side effect as well.

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“If you have recently undergone abdominal surgery and experience bloating along with severe constipation and loss of appetite, or if you have bloating along with a distended belly, abdominal pain, difficulty breathing, heartburn, nausea, or vomiting, consider contacting your doctor or visiting the nearest emergency room,” says Koch.

What causes fat to accumulate around your stomach?

Excess calorie intake, together with lack of physical activity and a stressful lifestyle, can lead to weight gain that preferentially shows up as fat deposits around the midsection, Koch says.

Certain foods may contribute to abdominal fat gain, including alcohol, foods high in fat (specifically those containing trans fat), and sugary beverages and foods, according to Koch.

Menopause could also be to blame, thanks to the change in hormone levels, specifically a decrease in estrogen.

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How can you reduce fat around your stomach?

“It is important to understand that spot reduction of fat is not possible,” shares Sabat. “To reduce stomach fat, you need to engage in overall weight loss strategies by creating a calorie deficit through a combination of a healthy diet and regular exercise.” This will lead to overall fat loss, including in the abdominal area. Here are a few ways to do just that:

Aim for a calorie deficit. A tried-and-true way to reduce fat around your stomach is by creating a calorie deficit by consuming fewer calories than you burn. This can be achieved through mindful eating, portion control, and regular exercise.

Eat a balanced diet. Focus on a well-rounded diet that includes fruit, healthy fats, lean proteins, vegetables, and whole grains. Avoid or minimize processed foods and sugary beverages and snacks.

Get a sufficient amount of sleep. Aim for seven to nine hours of quality sleep per night. Inadequate sleep can disrupt hormone levels and increase appetite, leading to weight gain.

Manage stress. Chronic stress can contribute to abdominal fat and weight gain, which is why Sabat says to practice stress-reducing techniques like deep breathing, engaging in hobbies, or meditation.

Engage in regular exercise. Combining cardiovascular exercises (i.e. cycling, running, or swimming) and strength training exercises (i.e. bodyweight exercises or weightlifting) can help boost metabolism, burn calories, and increase muscle mass. HIIT workouts, which involve short bursts of intense activity followed by periods of rest, can also help change your body composition.

Incorporate core moves. We repeat: It is not possible to target fat loss in specific areas of the body, but there are ways to focus on strengthening and toning the abdominal muscles. “This can create a more defined appearance and improve core strength,” says Sabat. “Incorporating exercises that specifically target the abdominal muscles, such as bicycle crunches, planks, and traditional crunches can help strengthen and tone the muscles in that area.

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    How can you relieve bloating fast?

    Koch points out it is best to identify and address the cause of bloating, and prevent it before it happens. Here are a few tips to consider:

    Reduce your consumption of certain types of foods. “For excess gas accumulation, you may find reducing your consumption of the types of foods that contribute to bloating may help,” Koch says. This includes fibrous foods like beans, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and oats, as well as carbonated drinks, and gum.

    Eat more gut-friendly foods. Incorporating fermented or probiotic-containing foods like kefir, kimchi, kombucha, tempeh, sauerkraut, and yogurt, can help strengthen your gut bacteria, which aids in breaking down food and digestion. “I encourage my clients to eat at least one fermented food or probiotic per day,” says Koch.

    Slow down at mealtime. “Put your fork or spoon down between bites, stay mindful, try not to multitask while eating, and consider smaller portions. This will help slow your eating, which can impact the amount of air you swallow, reducing stomach bloat,” Koch says.

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    Go for a walk. Taking a short walk or including some light movement post-meal can also encourage gas to pass through your digestive system, providing relief. Laying or sitting down can contribute to gas buildup and bloating.

    Consider an OTC option. Dr. Curtin says some over-the-counter products like Gaviscon, Simethicone, or natural products like peppermint oil can help. But he emphasizes that the best way is generally to try and have a bowel movement and avoid carb or sugar-heavy foods.

    When to Call Your Doctor

    Sabat says to look out for these signs that it’s time to talk to a pro:

    Your abdominal fat is not going away. If you are struggling with excessive abdominal fat and have tried lifestyle modifications without significant improvement, it can be helpful to consult a healthcare professional. They can provide guidance, evaluate your overall health, and recommend appropriate strategies for weight loss or further investigation if necessary.

    Your bloating is persistent or severe. If you experience chronic or severe bloating that is accompanied by other symptoms such as abdominal pain, blood in the stool, changes in bowel movements, or unexplained weight loss, it is important to seek medical attention. These could be signs of an underlying digestive or gastrointestinal issue that requires evaluation.

    You notice rapid or unexplained weight gain. Sudden or unexplained weight gain, especially in the abdominal area, should be discussed with a doctor. It could be a sign of an underlying medical condition such as fluid retention or hormonal imbalances that needs to be addressed.

    Ashley Martens


    Ashley Martens is a Wellness Writer based in Chicago, Illinois. With a digital marketing background and her knowledge of general nutrition and a lifelong passion for all things health and wellness, Ashley covers topics that can help people live happier and healthier lives. 

    Bloating – causes and treatment, which doctor to contact

    What is bloating and where does it happen

    Abdominal distension (tympania) – an uncomfortable feeling of heaviness and fullness in the abdomen. As a rule, it is accompanied by rumbling, belching, sometimes diarrhea or constipation. Rarely, with swelling, pain and colic are noted.

    In addition to bloating and a feeling of fullness, some patients report nausea, bad taste in the mouth, and pain.

    Localization of pain depends on where exactly the gases are accumulated :

    • Splenic flexure of the intestine – there is pressure and pain in the left hypochondrium. The pain radiates to the region of the heart.
    • Subhepatic flexure of the intestine – feeling of fullness and pain under the right rib. The pain radiates to the right shoulder blade, shoulder and neck.
    • Cecum – pain in the right lower abdomen.
    • Small intestine – bloating is felt in the area around the navel.

    Causes of swelling

    Bloating can have many causes, from a can of canned peas for lunch to pancreatitis or irritable bowel syndrome.

    Physiological causes

    The most common cause of bloating is the consumption of gas-promoting foods.

    The fact is that in the intestines the food is finally broken down to the necessary substances, which are absorbed in the small intestine, and unnecessary, which enter the large intestine and are excreted during defecation.

    Some foods contain complex substances that are difficult to digest, such as fiber or starch. To break them down, bacteria that constantly live in the intestines come to the rescue. Gases are the waste products of such bacteria, which are formed when they process carbohydrates and other substances. The smell and amount of gases depends on what bacteria live in the intestines and how many of them.

    A common cause of bloating is the consumption of gas-promoting foods. Gases are waste products of bacteria living in the intestines

    Another cause of bloating is swallowing air. This happens when a person is in a hurry and eats or drinks on the go, talking while eating. In this case, the swelling is short-term, and the discomfort disappears with belching.

    In addition, bloating is aggravated by smoking and obstructed nasal breathing, because in these cases the person also swallows air through the mouth.

    In the elderly, bloating may be associated with age-related changes in the intestines.

    After 50-60 years, the intestinal mucosa partially atrophies, peristalsis slows down, so digestion can slow down – gases accumulate and provoke flatulence and bloating.

    In pregnant women, bloating often occurs in the later stages. This is due to mechanical compression of the intestines by an enlarged uterus, slowing down of peristalsis due to hormonal changes, as well as an increased load on the liver and pancreas. Usually, relief occurs within a month after childbirth.

    In addition, bloating may appear on the background of emotional experiences. For example, a little nervousness due to a morning jam can lead to the release of stress hormones and slow down digestion, causing bloating, pain, or constipation. More serious worries, for example due to an upcoming public speaking, can lead to an acceleration of digestive processes and even diarrhea.

    There is no exact relationship between the strength of stress and digestive disorders – these are individual reactions.

    The listed causes are physiological and are not considered a sign of illness. As a rule, in such cases, improvement can be achieved by changing the diet or using symptomatic remedies. But there are more serious causes of bloating.


    Against the background of infectious diseases, the bacterial composition of the intestine is disturbed – dysbiosis develops. As a result, gas formation increases – the stomach swells and hurts. In addition, other signs of infection appear – nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever.

    Infectious diseases accompanied by bloating :

    • acute intestinal infections – dysentery, salmonellosis, rotavirus infection;
    • fungal infection of the gastrointestinal tract – intestinal candidiasis caused by fungi of the genus Candida;
    • parasitic infections – giardiasis, opisthorchiasis, toxocariasis, echinococcosis, ascariasis, enterobiasis.

    Not only the listed, but also any other intestinal infections, regardless of the pathogen, can lead to bloating.

    Colon pathologies

    Abdominal distention is one of the signs of colon damage, which is often combined with constipation and abdominal pain.

    Pathologies of the colon accompanied by bloating :

    • inflammatory diseases – ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease;
    • oncological diseases and precancerous conditions – benign and malignant tumors of the intestine, polyps;
    • congenital or acquired enlargement of the colon – megacolon or dolichosigma;
    • change in the intestinal lumen – pneumatosis (formation of air cavities), diverticulum (protrusion of the intestinal wall).

    Diseases of the esophagus and stomach

    Bloating is often seen with inflammation of the upper digestive tract. At the same time, the motility of the gastrointestinal tract is disturbed: gases accumulate and move along it unevenly, provoking discomfort.

    Diseases of the esophagus and stomach accompanied by bloating :

    • gastroesophageal reflux disease – a chronic disease caused by impaired motility of the organs of the gastroesophageal zone, due to which the contents of the stomach are periodically thrown back into the esophagus;
    • hiatal hernia – protrusion of part of the esophagus into the middle compartment of the chest wall.


    Sometimes food is not absorbed properly in the small intestine: there are not enough enzymes. If you are deficient in lactase (the enzyme that breaks down milk sugar) or have an intolerance to gluten (the main protein in cereals), eating the right foods can increase gas production and lead to bloating.

    In addition, bloating is caused by malabsorption, a condition resulting from malabsorption of nutrients in the gastrointestinal tract.

    Abdominal inflammatory processes

    Sudden bloating accompanied by severe pain may be a sign of serious conditions requiring immediate medical attention. This happens with acute inflammation of the abdominal wall – peritonitis, as well as intestinal obstruction.

    Severe bloating and absence of flatus are characteristic signs of intestinal obstruction.

    In addition, the cause of bloating may be an abnormal accumulation of fluid in the abdominal cavity – ascites.

    Functional disorders of the gastrointestinal tract

    Functional disorders are conditions that present with gastrointestinal symptoms without pathological changes.

    In functional disorders, the sensitivity of nerve endings in the mucous membrane is disturbed. This makes the stomach feel “something is wrong” and reacts with pain, bloating, or diarrhea when there is really nothing to worry about.

    The most common forms of functional disorders of the gastrointestinal tract are irritable bowel syndrome and functional dyspepsia.

    Abdominal wall failure

    Changes in the anatomical structure of the abdominal wall can also lead to bloating. This happens, for example, with a divergence (diastasis) of the rectus abdominis muscles, a hernia of the white line, or postoperative hernias.

    When and which doctor to contact

    Bloating occurs periodically in every person and in itself is rarely associated with something dangerous to health. Most often, the stomach swells due to stress, carbonated drinks, a diet rich in complex carbohydrates, a sedentary lifestyle, snacking on the go, or an imbalance in the composition of the intestinal microflora.

    If bloating bothers you all the time and interferes with a normal life, you should consult a doctor. You can start with a therapist or immediately sign up with a specialized specialist who treats gastrointestinal problems – a gastroenterologist.


    To understand the exact cause of swelling, the doctor may order laboratory or instrumental studies.

    Laboratory methods for diagnosing distension

    The most commonly used advanced or basic biochemical study, determine the level of the main enzymes of the pancreas and liver in the blood.

    Clinical blood test with leukocyte formula and ESR (with microscopy of a blood smear in case of pathological changes) (venous blood)

    Code 3.9.1.

    Clinical blood test – a blood composition test that allows you to assess general health, detect inflammation, bacterial, viral and fungal infections, as well as help in the diagnosis of anemia, diseases of the hematopoietic organs, allergic reactions and autoimmune diseases.

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    Liver and pancreas

    Code 27.56.

    The study allows to detect pathologies of the liver and pancreas at an early stage. The complex is especially recommended for patients who experience unpleasant pain in the upper abdomen, nausea, vomiting, bitterness in the mouth.

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    To assess the chemical composition and physical properties of the contents of the large intestine, as well as to conduct a microscopic analysis for pathogenic microflora, the doctor may prescribe a coprogram, tests for fecal calprotectin, pancreatic elastase enzyme, Clostridium difficile toxins in feces, analysis for helminth eggs. To exclude inflammatory and oncological diseases of the intestine, an analysis for occult blood in the feces is used.


    Code 21.2.

    Analysis includes physicochemical and microscopic examination of feces. The study is prescribed to identify pathologies of the gastrointestinal tract.

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    Calprotectin in feces

    Code 26. 44.

    Fecal calprotectin test helps to find the cause of abdominal pain and gastrointestinal bleeding, distinguish between inflammatory bowel diseases (ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease) from non-inflammatory ones, and monitor the effectiveness of treatment.

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    Pancreatic elastase 1

    Code 2 1.9.

    Pancreatic elastase is a pancreatic enzyme involved in the digestion of food. The analysis helps to identify a malfunction of the pancreas – pancreatic insufficiency.

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    Toxin A and B (Clostridium difficile, pseudomembranous colitis), antigen test

    Code 186. 0.

    The study can detect toxins from stool samples produced by the bacterium Clostridium difficile and diagnose pseudomembranous colitis, an inflammation of the large intestine.

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    Helminth eggs

    Code 21.5.

    Examination of biomaterial under a microscope makes it possible to detect eggs of helminths (worms) in feces and to diagnose diseases caused by them – helminthiases.

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    Colon View Hb and Hb/Hp test for fecal occult blood (detection of hemoglobin or hemoglobin/haptoglobin complex in feces)

    90 004 Code 21.10.

    The analysis reveals occult bleeding from the lower gastrointestinal tract. It is used in the framework of screening for colorectal cancer and precancerous conditions.

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    In addition, tests for gluten and lactose are used to detect intolerance to these nutrients.

    Celiac Disease: Advanced Screening

    Code 28.549.

    Comprehensive serological examination reveals antibodies to the connective tissues of the small intestine, as well as to gliadin, a component of the cereal protein gluten. It is used when celiac disease is suspected and to control the treatment of this disease.

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    Lactose intolerance

    Code GNP032

    Study of polymorphism (varieties) in the regulatory region (MCM6) of the gene encoding lactase enzyme (LCT). Allows you to identify the genetic causes of lactose intolerance – the inability of the body to fully absorb milk and dairy products in adulthood due to a lack of an enzyme.

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    Instrumental methods for diagnosing bloating

    Esophagogastroduodenoscopy , or gastroscopy: a doctor using an endoscope – a flexible tube with a camera at the end – examines the mucous membrane of the esophagus, stomach and initial sections of the intestine from the inside. In this way, inflammation, mucosal defects or tumors can be detected.

    Colonoscopy is another endoscopic examination that allows you to assess the condition of the mucous membrane of the lower intestine. During colonoscopy, the endoscope is inserted through the anus.; The study requires special preparation.

    Ultrasound of the abdominal cavity – allows you to quickly and non-invasively assess the condition of the biliary tract, liver, spleen, blood vessels, detect tumors, cysts or other changes.

    X-ray – allows you to assess the general condition of the internal organs and motility of the small and large intestines (X-ray with barium), exclude intestinal obstruction.

    Treatment of bloating

    Treatment will depend on the cause of the swelling. So, in infectious diseases of the intestine, therapy will be aimed at destroying pathogens and restoring the balance of microflora, with gastritis – at restoring the gastric mucosa, and with lactase deficiency – at the exclusion of milk from the diet.

    Only a doctor should determine the exact cause of swelling and prescribe treatment.

    If bloating is not associated with diseases or pathological conditions, you can try to help yourself by slightly changing your lifestyle and adding good habits.

    How to relieve bloating

    Gas is an individual reaction, therefore, before you actively fight bloating, you should observe yourself and highlight those foods, medicines or conditions after which the stomach begins to rebel. Then it will become clear what the reason is – in shawarma, soup with beans or emotional experiences.

    If the culprit is found, try to exclude him from life, or at least limit him, in order to check whether he really was the case.

    What else will help to cope with bloating

    Physical activity

    After eating, it is definitely not recommended to lie down or sit crouched at the computer. At least 20 minutes after eating, you should be in an upright position with a straight back. If you want, you can take a walk – this will help reduce bloating.

    Restriction of products that increase gas formation

    Legumes, cabbage, milk, black bread, eggs contribute to increased gas formation, but this is an individual reaction.

    Often, bloating is due to the fact that the foods consumed contain a lot of fiber. But fiber is an integral part of a healthy diet and it is not recommended to completely exclude it from the diet.

    If a person has never eaten it regularly, then you should gradually add legumes, vegetables and fruits to the diet to find your optimal portion.

    Falafel increases gas production due to high fiber content

    Fermented products

    If gas is associated with an imbalance of microbes in the gut, foods containing beneficial bacteria (probiotics) will help. Food sources of beneficial bacteria include canned vegetables and fruits, kefir or yogurt.

    Conscious eating

    Chewing food thoroughly and not talking while eating is not just a lecture for small children, but an important step that will help not swallow excess air and at the same time make the process of eating more conscious and enjoyable. In addition, a slow meal helps to normalize weight, because satiety signals do not reach the brain until 20 minutes after the first bite has entered the mouth.

    No carbonated drinks

    Often with bloating, it’s not the food, but the drinks. For example, effervescent or carbonated liquids like beer, mineral water, or sweet soda cause carbon dioxide to accumulate in the stomach, causing it to swell.

    The best drink to combat this is water. Just not carbonated.

    Bloating and gas formation in children and adults: causes and treatment

    January 14, 2020

    Bloating is almost impossible to miss. It literally bursts in different directions, it becomes larger visually, rumbling sounds are heard, there is a feeling that the abdominal area is about to tear. Perhaps the most unpleasant symptom among all that complex is the release of accumulated digestive gases, in order to restrain which, you have to make every effort.

    Causes of bloating

    Flatulence, as this condition is otherwise called, can occur for a number of reasons, many of which are quite serious. Bloating and gas formation occur due to the presence of:

    • chronic pancreatitis – an acute lack of nutritional enzymes produced by the pancreas. Since there is nothing to digest food, it accumulates in the stomach, creating a feeling of heaviness of bloating after eating;
    • irritable bowel syndrome – a person has bloating and pain in the abdomen due to changes in bowel movements;
    • dysbacteriosis – a disease characterized by malfunctions in the field of microflora, as a result of which pathogenic microorganisms located on the walls of the mucosa begin to produce gases that interfere with the full functioning of the gastrointestinal tract;
    • individual lactose intolerance – the diagnosis is also associated with enzyme deficiency: the patient does not have enough milk sugar, which contributes to the full absorption of lactose. In the presence of this syndrome, intestinal flatulence can occur at any age, but it is most often diagnosed before the age of 5-8 months;
    • Intestinal obstruction is a rather serious disease, diagnosed early. In this case, flatulence is associated with the growth of polyps or the formation of a tumor in the intestinal area. In most cases, it requires surgical intervention;
    • celiac disease is an extremely rare disease, but it does occur. According to statistics, in our country only 1 out of 1000 people are affected by it. Celiac disease is associated with a partial or absolute inability to break down gluten, as a result of which toxic compounds are created in the body that negatively affect the surface of the intestine. If a patient is given a similar diagnosis, then, first of all, he is prescribed a diet for flatulence, based on the complete exclusion of gluten from the diet. This includes sausages and sausages, barley. Wheat, rye, oatmeal, pasta made from ordinary flour, bakery products, ready-made sweets, store-bought yoghurts and curds, etc. Enzymatic medications can also be prescribed by a gastroenterologist to break down gluten that enters the body.

    Often, one of the reasons that provoke bloating is malnutrition and the abuse of foods that do not bring any benefit to the body.

    • Frequent consumption of various carbonated drinks such as Coca-Cola and sparkling mineral water. Bloating in the lower abdomen, which has arisen for this reason, as a rule, passes on its own and quickly enough: gases are absorbed into the body through the walls of the intestine, and then removed from it without additional help.
    • Food portions too large. Nutritionists around the world categorically do not recommend eating huge portions. Hastily absorbing food, swallowing it quickly instead of chewing normally, is harmful to the digestion process. The bloating and gas formation that has arisen for this reason requires a simple treatment – just change your approach to nutrition.
    • Abundance in the diet of foods that cause fermentation, which, in turn, stimulates bloating and gas formation in an adult or child. The solution to this problem is not difficult: it is necessary to limit the consumption of sweets, pastries, legumes, potatoes and other foods known for their content of starch and fast carbohydrates.
    • Food incompatible with each other. So, for example, any fruit should be separated from the main meal: eat them about 1 hour before or 2 hours after breakfast, lunch or dinner.

    Bloating treatment

    Bloating requires treatment in combination, since it is necessary to eliminate not only the annoying symptom, but also the cause, otherwise the situation will repeat itself.

    Any appointment should be made by a specialist – a gastroenterologist or therapist. As a rule, the standard scheme always includes the intake of enterosorbents, which allow the gases accumulated in it to be removed from the body as soon as possible. Since these drugs cannot independently distinguish harmful compounds from useful ones, they cannot be taken for a long time.

    Depending on the patient’s history and the causes of bloating, intestines, non-toxic defoamers can be prescribed, used even at a very young age, enzymatic agents, probiotics that restore the affected intestinal microflora. The specialist will also definitely recommend to stick to a diet that does not burden the work of the gastrointestinal tract system for some time.

    It is very important to find the cause as quickly as possible in order to alleviate the patient’s condition as soon as possible. Therefore, it is necessary to contact only experienced therapists and gastroenterologists. These are exactly the kind you will meet within the walls of JSC “Medicina” (clinic of academician Roitberg) – a multifunctional medical center located in the very center of Moscow. The building is located at 2nd Tverskoy-Yamskoy pereulok, 10, next to the Mayakovskaya metro station.

    Here they will quickly pick up a medicine for bloating, which will specifically solve your cause, since the main principle of this clinic is an attentive and individual approach to each patient.

    You can sign up for a consultation, diagnosis and treatment by calling +7 (495) 775-73-60 or using the feedback form on the website of the medical center https://www. medicina.ru.

    Answers to the most common questions

    • Which foods that cause bloating should not be eaten?
      You need to eat varied, and in the absence of individual food intolerances, you can eat everything. However, you should be careful about the consumption of sweets, white and black bread, rich pastries, legumes, white cabbage, starchy foods.
    • Severe flatulence. What to do?
      Contact your doctor for a prescription. Only a specialist, based on your history, can decide which drug to prescribe. It can be syrups, suspensions, tablets for bloating.
    • What causes bloating in women during pregnancy?
      Indeed, this symptom is popular among women who are carrying a child, especially in the first trimester. This happens, for the most part, due to an unstable hormonal background and is considered completely normal. However, it is necessary to inform your gynecologist about this, as he can prescribe drugs that relieve the tone of the uterus and alleviate the condition of a pregnant woman.