What is abdominal swelling?

Abdominal swelling is any bloating, distention or enlargement of the area between the chest and the groin. Commonly referred to as the “belly,” the abdomen consists of many organs, including the stomach, intestines, liver, gallbladder, pancreas and numerous blood vessels.

Abdominal swelling is a common symptom of a wide variety of mild to serious diseases, disorders and conditions, such as gallstones, overeating, food poisoning, pancreatitis, liver disease, and pregnancy. Abdominal swelling may be generalized, occurring throughout the abdomen, or it may be present in a small area of the belly, called an abdominal mass.

Depending on the cause, abdominal swelling can last briefly, such as after a single episode of overeating. Abdominal swelling can also occur over a longer period of time, such as when it is due to obesity or ascites.

Abdominal swelling can range in severity from mild bloating to extreme abdominal distention that can interfere with breathing and other bodily processes and functions. Abdominal swelling that is associated with dizziness, fainting, shortness of breath, or yellowing of the skin (jaundice), can be a symptom of a serious, potentially life-threatening condition. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you, or someone you are with, have any of these symptoms.


What other symptoms might occur with abdominal swelling?

Abdominal swelling may be accompanied by other symptoms, depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition.

Digestive symptoms that may occur along with abdominal swelling

Abdominal swelling may occur with other symptoms affecting the digestive tract including:


What causes abdominal swelling?

Abdominal swelling has many possible underlying causes. General conditions that can cause abdominal swelling include infection, malignancy, inflammation, trauma, obstruction and other abnormal processes.

Abdominal swelling can result from gastrointestinal or digestive conditions or from conditions of other body systems, such as the endocrine, nervous, reproductive and urinary syst... Read more about abdominal swellingcauses

Medical Reviewer: Cynthia Haines, MD Last Annual Review Date: Jul 29, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Digestive System, Endometriosis

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