Abdominal Fullness or Bloating
Abdominal fullness or bloating occurs when excess gas builds up in the digestive tract.
Common causes of gas and abdominal fullness or bloating include:
- Swallowed air. If swallowed air is not burped up, it passes through the digestive tract and is released through the anus as gas (flatus). Excessive air swallowing may cause hiccups.
- Gas-producing foods and drinks, such as beans, broccoli, carbonated drinks, and beer. The amount of gas and the odor that different foods cause vary from person to person.
- Lactose intolerance. A person who can't easily digest lactose, a type of natural sugar found in milk and dairy products, can have both gas and bloating as well as other symptoms.
- Constipation. This can cause bloating but generally does not increase gas.
- Medicines or nutritional supplements. Both prescription and nonprescription medicines, as well as dietary supplements, can cause bloating and gas as side effects.
- Changing hormone levels. Many people feel bloated right before their periods because their bodies retain fluid.
Occasionally, excess gas and bloating may be caused by a more serious medical problem, such as a bowel obstruction, liver problems, gallbladder disease, or cancer.
Treatment depends on what is causing the problem. Call your doctor for a checkup if you have abdominal fullness or bloating that has not gotten better or gone away with home treatment.