Stomach is Swollen and Bloated: What Could it Mean?

You’ve likely experienced the discomfort of a swollen and bloated stomach, perhaps after indulging in a large, delicious Thanksgiving dinner. That full and tight feeling usually eases with time or a soothing cup of peppermint tea. However, if you’re experiencing persistent bloating that causes regular pain and discomfort, it could be a sign of an underlying condition.

Experiencing consistent abdominal symptoms can significantly impact various aspects of your life, from daily activities to social interactions. And it’s normal to feel concerned about the potential impact on your digestive health.

On this page, we aim to deliver valuable insights into these sensations, exploring their potential causes and symptoms. Additionally, we’ll discuss how healthcare professionals clinically assess gastrointestinal discomfort to discover the underlying cause.

Remember, ongoing abdominal pain doesn’t have to be a constant part of your life. We’re excited to share how we can provide targeted treatments for gastrointestinal pains without the need for medications or invasive procedures.

Our goal is to help you better identify your symptoms and gain a clearer understanding of why your stomach feels swollen and bloated. This way, you can discover effective solutions that bring relief and enhance your overall well-being.

Let’s begin by exploring the underlying pathophysiology, discovering what occurs inside your abdomen that triggers the sensations of swelling and bloating.

Stomach Bloating And Swelling

Abdominal bloating and swelling, also known as “abdominal distention,” are two very common yet complex gastrointestinal complaints. Although these terms are often used interchangeably, their underlying processes might involve different mechanisms, which adds to their complex nature.

“Bloating” refers to the unpleasant sensations experienced in the belly, whereas “swelling” refers to a noticeable increase in abdominal size. Importantly, bloating and swelling don’t always appear together.

The exact pathophysiology is still not yet fully understood by experts. However, these symptoms are believed to be triggered by issues such as the buildup of gas, fluid, or solids in the digestive tract, creating a sensation of fullness and tightness in the abdomen. Let’s explore the pathological process of these factors a bit further:

  • Gas buildup: The presence of excessive gas in the digestive system, such as methane, hydrogen, or carbon dioxide, can occur due to factors like swallowed air, bacterial fermentation in the gut, or difficulties in gas expulsion. The increased volume of gas contributes to the feeling of both fullness and distension in the abdomen.
  • Fluid retention: Retention of fluids, influenced by factors like hormonal fluctuations, kidney function, or dietary choices, can lead to increased abdominal volume. Even a small increase in abdominal volume can cause individuals to feel bloated or look visibly distended.
  • Solid accumulation: Poor digestion or slowed movement of solid contents through the digestive tract can result in a build-up of undigested food. This then causes the abdomen to feel full and distended, particularly after meals.

Gaining a better understanding of these complex factors highlights the many challenges individuals may face when dealing with gastrointestinal upset on a regular basis.

While pinpointing the exact underlying cause of swelling and bloating might not always be straightforward, the signs and symptoms are typically easily identifiable. In the next section, let’s explore some of the distinguishable symptoms of abdominal bloating and swelling.


Associated Symptoms Of A Swollen And Bloated Stomach

While a bloated stomach itself is uncomfortable, it’s essential to identify if you are also experiencing any associated symptoms. Each symptom provides valuable insights into what might be happening internally, allowing for a more accurate diagnosis. Let’s explore these symptoms individually.

Stomach Pain

Stomach pain is the main symptom associated with a swollen and bloated stomach, making this issue even more uncomfortable. This pain can be felt anywhere in the entire abdomen, from low in the pelvis to high under the rib cage, causing either a dull ache or sharp, stabbing sensations. A bloated stomach’s heaviness and fullness puts excess pressure on nearby organs and tissues, making the pain and discomfort more intense.


Both swelling and bloating are often accompanied by cramping in the abdomen. These cramps are a result of increased pressure in the digestive system. The expanded abdomen can trigger muscle contractions, causing mild to severe cramping. Some people use heat or cold therapy to ease these sensations.


Belching, or burping, is closely associated with stomach bloating. When the stomach accumulates excess gas, it may be released through the esophagus and mouth, providing relief and reducing the sensation of swelling. Excessive burping can signal underlying issues related to digestion or dietary habits.


A swollen stomach is often linked to constipation. The slowed movement of stool through the digestive tract can contribute to visible distention and significant abdominal discomfort. Recognizing the connection between constipation and bloating may help you pinpoint the underlying cause of your pain.


Diarrhea is another symptom that can coincide with bloating and swelling. Causes such as viral infections or food poisoning disrupt the delicate balance of the digestive system, prompting an influx of water into the digestive tract. This disruption in the digestive environment then triggers the symptoms of diarrhea, bloating, or swelling. Understanding this connection can guide you toward seeking appropriate care and management.


Flatulence, or the passing of gas, is a straightforward indicator of stomach bloating. When the digestive tract accumulates excess gas, it can trigger the sensation of bloating and then find release through flatulence.

Knowing the symptoms that often accompany stomach bloating and swelling can offer valuable insights into your situation. If you’re currently experiencing any of these symptoms, they may provide additional clues that guide you toward identifying the underlying cause. In the next section, we’ll talk about some of the most prevalent causes, providing a more focused exploration of potential reasons for your symptoms.

Common Causes Of A Bloated And Swollen Stomach

Abdomen bloating and swelling can occur in anyone at all ages and stages of life. Understanding the diverse causes of these discomforts is essential for finding effective relief and symptom management. Let’s explore the various potential causes in the headings below:

Eating Habits

The way you eat your food plays a significant role in gastrointestinal symptoms. Eating too quickly, consuming large quantities, or drinking soda and other fluids during meals can sometimes lead to bloating or swelling.

Additionally, these eating habits can result in heartburn or acid reflux, which also contributes to these sensations. Try adopting mindful eating practices, slowing down, and addressing heartburn triggers to positively impact digestive comfort.


Certain medications may contribute to abdominal bloating and swelling, and these include antibiotics. Antibiotics fight bacteria, but they also fight some good bacteria in your gut, which can cause gastrointestinal upset.

Additionally, taking NSAIDs long-term can affect the gastrointestinal tract and lead to peptic ulcers, causing these symptoms. Being aware of the potential side effects of your medications and consulting with your healthcare provider about alternatives or complementary measures can help manage medication-related bloating.


Monthly hormonal shifts seen in women can result in many symptoms of gastrointestinal upset, including swelling and bloating. As estrogen spikes and progesterone drops during the menstrual cycle, it can lead to water retention and bloating.

Estrogen also influences digestive motility and sensitivity, contributing to feelings of bloating. Understanding these hormonal dynamics gives women insights into managing their gastrointestinal symptoms associated with the menstrual cycle.


Inflammation anywhere in the digestive tract, such as gastritis and enteritis, can trigger swelling and bloating. Gastritis is the inflammation of the stomach itself, while enteritis is when inflammation occurs throughout the small intestine.

Exploring the specific causes of inflammation with your healthcare team to address these inflammatory conditions is crucial for managing your symptoms effectively.

Food Intolerances

The rise of food intolerances in Western society is associated with various symptoms, including abdominal bloating and swelling. Among the primary culprits are gluten and carbohydrates (sugars) like lactose and fructose. These are sometimes referred to as FODMAPs.

When these substances are poorly absorbed, they trigger rapid fermentation and draw fluid into the digestive tract, resulting in bloating and swelling. Identifying and managing these intolerances, possibly with the guidance of a nutritionist or GI specialist, is key to finding strategies for relief.


Stress is a significant factor in gastrointestinal upset and is well-known to cause swelling and bloating. The mind-gut connection is powerful, and heightened stress levels can impact normal digestion. Managing stress through relaxation techniques and adopting a healthy lifestyle is essential for minimizing gastrointestinal discomfort, including bloating.

While these represent common causes of gastrointestinal upset, this is not an exhaustive list and an underlying medical condition may be contributing to your symptoms. So, if you or a loved one is grappling with abdominal bloating and swelling and have concerns about its potential causes, it is crucial to schedule an appointment with your doctor.

In the upcoming sections, we’ll discuss the medical evaluation process, offering insights into what you can anticipate during your initial appointments.

Diagnostic Process And Medical Evaluation

Working with healthcare professionals and undergoing assessments where necessary is a vital step toward gaining clarity and finding an accurate diagnosis for effective management.

Finding the underlying cause of stomach bloating and swelling can require a thorough diagnostic process. Here’s an overview:

  • Medical history: Your healthcare provider will enquire about your medical history. You can expect them to ask about your current symptoms, eating habits, lifestyle, and any underlying conditions. This information helps in identifying potential triggers.
  • Physical examination: A thorough abdominal examination will be performed, assessing for tenderness, visualizing the extent of swelling, and observing any other relevant signs. This hands-on evaluation helps doctors to identify possible causes and guide further diagnostic steps.
  • Tests: Various tests may be ordered to pinpoint the underlying cause of bloating:
    • Blood tests: Bloodwork may reveal signs of inflammation, celiac disease, nutritional deficiencies, or other conditions affecting the digestive system.
    • Stool tests: Analyzing stool samples helps detect infections, malabsorption issues, or imbalances in gut bacteria
    • Breath tests: These tests can identify conditions like lactose intolerance or bacterial overgrowth that may be contributing to bloating.
  • Imaging: Imaging techniques provide doctors with a clear visual insight into the abdominal region.
    • X-rays: X-rays capture images of the digestive tract, highlighting any abnormalities, trapped gas, or blockages.
    • CT scans: CT scans offer a more detailed imaging view of the abdominal structures, aiding in the diagnosis of various medical conditions.
    • Procedures: In certain cases, more invasive procedures may be necessary. The following procedures are done by specialists in hospital settings.
    • Endoscopy: A flexible tube with a camera examines the upper digestive tract, helping identify issues like inflammation and stomach ulcers.
    • Colonoscopy: This procedure involves using a similar approach to explore the colon. It is useful in detecting conditions affecting the lower digestive tract, such as ulcerative colitis.

In certain cases, a comprehensive approach may involve a team of healthcare professionals, including doctors, dieticians, nutritionists, or specialists. This collaborative effort aims to guide treatments tailored to your individual needs and steer the next steps in your healthcare journey.

In the upcoming section, discover how Neuragenex Neurofunctional Pain Management becomes an invaluable ally in this comprehensive approach, offering specialized pain management plans to assist you on your journey to relieve pain and discomfort associated with gastrointestinal upset.

The Neuragenex NFPM Protocol To Manage Pain Caused By Bloating

When dealing with ongoing discomfort, particularly for individuals who have been on medications for an extended period or haven’t found relief from traditional treatments, it is common for people to explore various alternative treatment options.

We are dedicated to offering pain management solutions that go beyond pharmaceuticals and surgical procedures, using the fundamentals of Neuragenex Neurofunctional Pain Management (NFPM). Our protocol encompasses a whole-person approach that utilizes the following fundamental modalities of Neuragenex NFPM:


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IV Therapy

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Lifestyle Counseling

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Conditions Where Neuragenex NFPM Can Help Manage Painful Bloating

We provide non-pharmaceutical, non-chiropractic, and non-surgical solutions to help manage gastrointestinal discomfort caused by medical conditions such as:

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Peripheral Neuropathy Pain Treatment

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Crohn’s Disease Pain Treatment

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Ulcerative Colitis Pain Treatment

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Treat The Pain Induced By Bloating And Swelling 

You don’t have to endure persistent symptoms of painful abdominal bloating and swelling. Recognizing your symptoms, getting a prompt diagnosis, and receiving appropriate treatments can have a substantial impact on your digestive health.

If you are seeking an alternative to medications or are thinking of embracing a whole-person approach to treating conditions such as endometriosisirritable bowel syndrome, or peripheral neuropathy, consider exploring the Neuragenex Neurofunctional Pain Management protocol. We provide an alternative way to manage discomfort associated with digestive symptoms without ongoing medications or surgical procedures.

Our dedicated team is committed to delivering advanced therapies and comprehensive support to those experiencing digestive upset, aiming to enhance their quality of life and overall well-being. So, reach out to us today and discover how our advanced Neuragenex NFPM protocol can bring you the relief you deserve.

Concerned about a swollen and bloated stomach? Discover if it could be Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

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