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 systems.
Gastrointestinal causes of abdominal swelling
Abdominal swelling may accompany other conditions affecting the digestive tract including:
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
Lactose intolerance and other food intolerances
Other causes of abdominal swelling
Abdominal swelling can also be caused by problems in body systems other than the digestive tract including:
Abdominal tumor or mass
Advanced stages of certain cancers, such as lymphoma and breast, colon, stomach or ovarian cancer
Life-threatening causes of abdominal swelling
In some cases, abdominal swelling may accompany a serious or life-threatening condition that should be immediately evaluated in an emergency setting. These include:
Abdominal aortic aneurysm
Acute congestive heart failure
What are the potential complications of abdominal swelling?
In some cases, abdominal swelling can be associated with serious and life-threatening complications, especially if the swelling is severe or the underlying disease or condition is untreated or poorly managed. Complications of these conditions include:
Severe discomfort or pain
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.
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What other symptoms might occur with abdominal swelling?
Abdominal swelling may be accompanied by other symptoms, depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition.