Abdominal swelling – thick belly, city practice berlin

The most common cause of a "big belly" is obesity.

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A bloated or fat belly is the swelling of the abdomen beyond its normal size.


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This alone does not represent a disease. However, an increased waist circumference indicates an increased risk of metabolic diseases (diabetes) and cardiovascular diseases (cardiovascular diseases). Significant cardiovascular diseases are high blood pressure (hypertension), coronary heart disease (CHD) and stroke (apoplexy, insult). If the abdominal circumference in women is over 80 cm and in men over 94 cm, there is an increased risk of these diseases. The risk is significantly increased if the waist circumference is even over 88 cm Women and 102 cm for men.

Abdominal swelling can also result from severe, more serious ones illness his. This can be caused by tumors in the abdominal cavity, especially gynecological tumors, but also by liver swelling (hepatomegaly). An accumulation of fluid in the abdominal cavity (ascites, abdominal dropsy) can also lead to a swollen abdomen, which is a sign of urgent medical care. In this case, there are usually other symptoms.

Functional disorders of the gastrointestinal tract (gastrointestinal tract, GI tract) often cause a bloated abdomen due to gas accumulation (meteorism) in the intestine. This can be done by eating flatulent foods such as Beans are caused. If there is an intolerance to milk products (lactose intolerance), this can also lead to abdominal swelling. Furthermore, an irritable bowel (irritable colon) or chronic constipation (constipation) leads to swelling in the abdomen. There are many reasons for constipation and should be clarified by the specialist (gastroenterologist).
Other causes of swelling in the abdomen are premenstrual syndrome (PMS), pregnancy or the unconscious swallowing of air (aerophagy).


Causes of abdominal swelling can include:

  • Obesity
  • Acute, excessive food intake
  • Ovarian cyst (ovarian cyst)
  • Uterine fibroids (benign tumor of the uterus)
  • Ascites
  • irritable stomach
  • Hepatomegaly (swelling of the liver e.g. in fatty liver)
  • Colon irritable (irritable bowel)
  • Lactose intolerance (lactose intolerance)
  • premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
  • Aerophagia (swallowing air, usually a nervous habit)

What you can do yourself
A big belly, which is due to excessive food intake, can ultimately only be treated by specifically combating obesity. A swollen abdomen, which results from the acute intake of excessive portions of food, will usually subside after being digested. Eating in moderation therefore prevents swelling in the abdomen, but also obesity.

In irritable bowel syndrome, fiber intake should be increased, emotional stress reduced and a doctor should be consulted.

If there is a lactose intolerance or another enzymatic defect, an appropriate diet is urgently recommended.
If the swelling is caused by swallowed air, this problem can usually be remedied by conscious self-control (eating slowly and avoiding carbonated drinks).

Contact your doctor

Contact your doctor if:

  • the abdominal swelling increases and does not go away after a few days.
  • the swelling is accompanied by other symptoms, particularly pain, loss of appetite, vomiting and / or diarrhea.
  • Your stomach is sensitive to touch.

What to expect from your doctor

Your specialist will take a medical history (medical history) and a physical examination.

You can expect the following questions:

  • When did the abdominal swelling start??
  • The swelling always occurs after eating or only after eating certain foods?
  • What other symptoms appear at the same time?
  • diarrhea?
  • Vomit?
  • too less sleep?
  • the feeling of excessive, noticeable gas accumulation in the intestine?
  • gained weight?
  • no menstruation?

Examinations (diagnostics)

Investigations that can possibly be carried out:

  • blood tests
  • stool analysis
  • Abdominal ultrasound
  • Abdominal computed tomography
  • Esophago-gastro-duodenoscopy (gastrointestinal mirroring)
  • colonoscopy
  • sigmoidoscopy


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Christina Cherry
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