Abdominal Pain And Bloating Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

Abdominal Pain And Bloating Causes, Symptoms, Treatment


What Is Abdominal Bloating?


Abdominal pain and bloating is a condition in which the abdomen feels uncomfortably full and tight and may be visibly swollen (distended).

There are many possible causes for abdominal pain and bloating such as diverticulitis, food allergies, food poisoning, stomach flu and indigestion. Pain in the upper portion of the abdomen may be an indication of a heart attack. Pain or burning sensation in the upper abdomen that is either relieved or gets worse when we eat may result from gastritis or an irritation of the stomach resulting from an ulcer. A stomach that is very tender to the touch accompanied by bloody diarrhea or stools that are black and tarry or vomiting blood may be an indication of appendicitis, infectious diarrhea, bleeding from the bowels or bowel blockage. Pain in the upper portion of the abdomen that worsens when we eat fatty foods may indicate an infection of the gallbladder. Pain in the lower abdomen accompanied by blood or mucus in the stools could be a sign of ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease which is an inflammatory disease of the large intestines. Going without a bowel movement for a few days or longer or having to strain while using the bathroom is usually an indication of constipation. Abdominal pain may also indicate the presence of parasites or obstruction within the intestines resulting from a tumor or polyp. Chronic dull pain associated with the loss of body weight and the presence of blood in the stool, black tarry stools, vomiting or jaundice may indicate the presence of cancer or hepatitis. Pain experienced in response to an injury sustained after an accident or blow to the stomach may be an indication of internal bleeding, rupture of the spleen or damage to other internal organs.

It's important that we not ignore symptoms of disease, but to see a physician to determine the cause and administer proper treatment if necessary. We need to seek medical attention if we are unable to pass stools, if we are vomiting blood or passing blood in our stools, experience burning sensations while urinating or if we have a fever over one hundred degrees Fahrenheit. Electrolyte imbalances caused by chronic diarrhea can have especially severe consequences particularly in young children and the elderly and may result in dehydration, brain damage, kidney failure, heart attack or stroke. A physician should be consulted if diarrhea persists for longer than twenty-four hours. Diagnostic measures such as blood tests, ultrasound of the abdomen and gastroscopy and colonoscopy can help to determine the source of the problem.

What Causes Abdominal Pain and Bloating?


The most common causes of abdominal pain and bloating are:

  • swallowing air
  • constipation
  • heartburn
  • irritable bowel syndrome
  • intolerance to dairy products
  • eating too fast
  • weight gain
  • overgrowth of bacteria in the small bowel
  • menstruation
  • giardiasis (intestinal parasites)
  • anatomical or structural abnormalities of the gastrointestinal tract
  • some medications
  • sugar substitutes (fructose and sorbitol)
Abdominal bloating can also be a symptom of several serious conditions, including:

  • fluid in the abdominal cavity (ascites) as a result of cancer, liver disease, kidney failure, congestive heart failure, and other disorders
  • celiac disease (wheat gluten intolerance)
  • ovarian cancer
  • pancreatic insufficiency (impaired digestion because the pancreas cannot produce enough digestive enzymes)

What Are the Symptoms of Abdominal pain and Bloating?


The symptoms of bloating can be vague and difficult to pinpoint, but most people describe an uncomfortable feeling of fullness, tightness, or swelling in the abdomen. This can be accompanied by pain, excessive gas (flatulence), frequent burping or belching, and abdominal rumbling.

Treatment Options for Abdominal Pain and Bloating

In many cases, the symptoms of abdominal pain and bloating can be diminished or even prevented by adopting a few simple lifestyle changes.

Consult your doctor if bloating is accompanied by any of the following:

  • abdominal pain
  • blood in the stools or dark, tarry looking stools
  • diarrhea
  • worsening heartburn
  • vomiting
  • unexplained weight loss

Dietary Choices


Poor dietary choices are often the source of abdominal pain and bloating. Consumption of highly processed foods, artificial sweeteners and carbonated drinks contribute to bloating. Greasy, fried, fatty foods can cause gastrointestinal irritation. Foods with high amounts of cholesterol are conducive to the formation of bile stones. Consumption of fatty foods can lead to the formation of fat cells throughout the body. Fatty foods also cause bloating by slowing down the body's ability to empty the stomach.

Diets high in fiber consisting of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds help to support healthy digestion. Peppermint tea, ginger, pineapple, parsley and yogurts containing intestine-friendly bacterial cultures can enhance our digestive process thereby reducing bloating.

We need to remember that digestion begins in the mouth. We can decrease bloating by taking time to taste and chew our food thoroughly. We also need to be drinking plenty of fluids and getting at least thirty minutes of physical activity a day.

Diet and supplements are critically important to maintaining healthy digestion. Some people take the notion too far, assuming they can solve all of their digestive issues by eating the right foods and taking supplements. Our digestive tract will never fully heal until we learn to digest the difficult or painful emotions and heal the traumas that place so much stress upon our physical bodies.

Treatment for Digestive Distress


People in our western culture have for many years primarily relied upon conventional Allopathic treatment modalities to address symptoms of digestive distress and abdominal pain. Medications are commonly used to alleviate symptoms of gas, bloating, constipation, acid reflux or the pain and inflammation associated with conditions such as ulcerative colitis. People suffering from ulcerative colitis may require surgery if their symptoms do not respond to the medications or if they experience complications such as bleeding or perforation of the intestine.

More people are now turning to holistic treatment modalities such as acupuncture and massage. Herbal remedies such as ajwain seeds, fennel, mugwort, horehound and chamomile help to relieve symptoms of gas and facilitate digestion. Bad bacteria are another common source of digestive issues. The use of probiotics promotes a balance of healthy bacteria within the digestive tract that boosts the immune system and supports good digestion.

Conventional Allopathic and holistic treatment modalities may help to provide momentary relief from the symptoms of digestive distress, but they do not repair the damage within the physical or subtle bodies. Fasting, colonics, acupuncture, acupressure and massage can free up the stagnant energies and other stresses held within the body, but in many instances people do not have the capability to process the feelings and memories that are being brought to the surface.

The stresses of daily life can overwhelm our bodies and minds. We can feel the stress accumulating within my own body in response to the difficulties that I face from day to day.We have to make time to digest these stresses by breathing into the feelings and sensations we experience within my abdomen and various other parts of my body.

Ways to Stop the Bloating


Once the air is in your system, the best way to get it out is to try to belch or release flatulence. Holding the air in will simply lead to further pain, and that pain will likely contribute to further anxiety and discomfort. Most gas caused by hyperventilation is scentless, so embarrassment should be less severe, but gas caused by indigestion can be highly scented so finding a bathroom may be in your best interests.

There are a few over the counter medications that can reduce the feeling of bloating, especially if it's caused by indigestion. Some people find that Pepto-Bismol and other antacids provide some relief. The relief is only temporary, however, and may not affect those that have air from air swallowing.

If you feel the bloating occurring as a result of hyperventilation, you'll also need to make sure that you're not promoting further hyperventilation. While hyperventilating, the body has a tendency to want to breathe in more air, faster. Fight this feeling and try to slow down your breathing, resisting the urge to yawn a lot or breathe quickly.