When you’re experiencing abdominal inflammation, the last thing on your mind is how appealing your stomach looks. You’re probably worried about your health. The swelling could be a symptom of a more serious illness. Try not to worry too much. It’s likely that your swollen belly is a reaction to something altogether more benign.
Still, forewarned is forearmed, as the saying goes. Abdominal inflammation is not just a little niggle. It can be an offshoot of more serious issues such as irritable bowel syndrome, for instance. If you don’t suffer from IBS, you’ll want to know what else can cause you stomach discomfort and bloating so that you can avoid it as much as possible.
To this end, we’re going to outline a few of the most common causes of abdominal swelling. We’ll also give you some ideas about how to treat it and – ultimately – how to prevent it leading to bigger health problems.
When your body isn’t eliminating waste properly, constipation is the usual result. As a bonus prize, you get a swollen tummy to go along with it. Take heart. It’s a fairly common problem and it’s normally quite easy to address. It can be as simple as eating more fruits and vegetables, as well as seeds and legumes. These foods provide fibre. Combine this healthy diet with a bit of physical movement and some extra fluids and you’ll soon be waving goodbye to constipation. We’d recommend that you try to get at least 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise at least every other day. This should loosen things up in no time.
These days, food allergies are more common – and they come in many different guises. Abdominal swelling is an unpleasant side effect of quite a few of them. For instance, lactose (the sugar component of dairy milk) is thought to be one of the worst triggers. It causes an accumulation of gas that leads to bloating and discomfort. Thankfully, there’s a huge variety of dairy alternatives available in supermarkets today. You don’t have to give up milk, cheese or yoghurt. Just replace them with plant milk (coconut, almond, oat), nut cheeses and coconut or soya yoghurts. Be careful of consuming too much soy, though, as it’s been associated with disrupting hormones.
Woah, there. Slow your roll. That food’s not going anywhere! When you shovel food into your gob at lightning speed, you’re inhaling loads of air along with your meal. This, of course, could very well mean a swollen belly, post-repast. You’re also setting yourself up for indigestion – and you know that’s not a nice place to be. So, we’d recommend that you take a more leisurely approach. Savour your food. It gives your brain time to communicate with your stomach to let it know that it’s getting enough food. You feel fuller, but you eat a more moderate amount of food. There are really no downsides to this. Slow down and enjoy…
If you’re sexually active – even if you’re careful about birth control – it’s worth consideration that there’s another potential reason for persistent swelling in your abdomen. Is it possible that you’re pregnant? This could be a good time to get to the chemist and buy a pregnancy test. You never know. By the way, if you are pregnant, do take care of yourself and the person growing inside of you. You’ll want to do your pest to prevent any problems during gestation.
Have you suddenly developed a knack for retaining fluid? This is a condition that will cause abdominal inflammation. If you suspect that your body’s holding on to liquids, see your GP. This could be a symptom of a much more serious illness.
Just as eating too quickly can cause you to bloat, so can what you’re eating. Processed foods are not dense with nutrients. They’re often loaded with fillers and preservatives that can cause gas and inflammation in the abdomen. In fact, gastroenterologists agree that eating too many artificial sweeteners causes excess air in some people’s stomachs. Junky fast foods are often also high in sodium and low in fibre, which is the magic combination when it comes to abdominal inflammation. The good news is that it’s easy to avoid these triggers if you make a bit of effort. Stick to whole, fresh foods that are low in sodium.
While it’s true that there are quite a few harmless causes for swollen belly, it must be said that some diseases could also be culprits. Cardiovascular disease, tumours, cirrhosis, appendicitis, ulcers, pancreatitis and even PMT may present the symptom of an inflamed stomach. The only way to be sure, of course, is to make an appointment with your GP. We urge you to do so immediately if you’ve been experiencing abdominal discomfort for more than a few days and you’ve ruled out some of the most typical triggers. You’ll need some diagnostics to rule out serious diseases, but it’s still a good idea to embark on a healthy regime of nutritious diet, moderate exercise and ample relaxation.
Our last word of wisdom: abdominal swelling is generally the result of poor diet or ill-advised lifestyle choices. Prevention is key, so we’d love it if you’d ensure that you’re eating foods that are rich in fibre along with fresh fruits and vegetables to ease your digestive transit. Your stomach will jump for joy when it’s not feeling the pressure of bloat – and, in all likelihood, this will have the aesthetically pleasing fringe benefit of a flatter tummy. Bon appetit!