Distended Stomach (Abdominal Distention): Symptoms & Signs

A distended stomach is a term usually used to refer to distension or swelling of the abdomen and not of the stomach itself. When the term is used in this manner, a number of different diseases and conditions can cause abdominal distension. These conditions can be related to digestion, such as malabsorption or lactose intolerance, or to disturbances in bowel function, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or constipation. Bloating is another term that is sometimes used to refer to a swollen belly. Consumption of high-fiber foods can lead to intestinal gas and bloating. Less commonly, ovarian cysts or other types of tumors can cause the appearance of a distended abdomen. The accumulation of fluid in the abdominal cavity, known as ascites, can cause the appearance of distension. Ascites has a number of causes, including cirrhosis of the liver.

A distended stomach (abdomen) can be associated with other symptoms, including

Other Causes of Distended Stomach (Abdominal Distention)

  • Bacterial Infections
  • Benign Ovarian Tumors
  • Bowel Obstruction
  • Malabsorption
  • Malnutrition
  • Small Bowel Bacterial Overgrowth Syndrome
  • Swallowing Air
  • Tumors
  • Viral Infections
  • Weight Gain

Related Symptoms & Signs

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Medically Reviewed on 9/10/2019
References
Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.
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