What is Abdominal Swelling?
Abdominal swelling, also known as stomach bloating or abdominal distention, is a condition characterized by the excessive accumulation of intestinal gas. The abdominal wall swells when gas is trapped in the intestines or peritoneal cavity – gas is produced at a higher rate than normal. Your abdomen feels full and tight, even when you have not eaten.
What Causes Abdominal Swelling?
This is a common condition and may be due to overeating, weight gain, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), contraceptive pill, pregnancy or constipation. Very often abdominal swelling is caused by intestinal gas as a result of a sudden increase in fiber such as vegetables and fruit. Eating fatty, salty or processed foods and drinking carbonated drinks or too much alcohol can also lead to a stomach bloating.
Sometimes swallowing air unconsciously, too little protein in the diet, food allergies or being lactose intolerant may cause a puffy stomach. However, abdominal swelling may also be the result of a more serious illness that causes intestinal inflammation or obstruction such as colon cancer, diverticulitis, Crohn’s disease, or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Abdominal swelling occurs when large volumes of different gases – hydrogen sulphides or mercaptans are produced at a higher temperature and pressure. These gases stretch the gut wall past its elasticity limit, causing the abdomen to expand and become bloated. This bloated feeling may be painful, smelly and very uncomfortable.
Help for Abdominal Swelling
The best way to deal with abdominal swelling is by eliminating certain foods from your diet. Eliminate gas-producing foods (such as beans) one at a time. If gas does not decrease, put the gas producing food back into your diet and eliminate another one until you have tested all of them. Over-the-counter and prescription medication such as antacids may also help to relieve discomfort. If symptoms persist, you should consult your doctor to rule out any other underlying conditions.
Natural herbs are also an excellent treatment option for relieving stomach bloating and excessive gas. Herbal ingredients are safe to use and gentle on the body’s system. Best of all, herbs benefit your overall health – keeping the mind, body and soul in better shape than ever! Zingiber officinale (Ginger) is one of the most well known herbs and is very effective for the digestive system – it boosts digestive fluids and neutralizes acid while also reducing symptoms of indigestion, flatulence and nausea.
Herbs such as Foeniculum vulgare (fennel) and Mentha piperita (mint) have wonderful soothing and calming anti-inflammatory properties but are also extremely effective in treating the symptoms of digestive problems such as heartburn. In addition, Pelargoneum graveolens (stomach pain bush) is an anti-spasmodic herb that minimizes stomach pain and cramps.