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Abdominal bloating

  • Definition

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

    Alternative Names

    Bloating; Meteorism


    Common Causes

    Common causes include:

    • Air swallowing (a nervous habit)
    • Constipation
    • Gastroesophageal reflux
    • Irritable bowel syndrome
    • Lactose intolerance and other food intolerances
    • Overeating
    • Small bowel bacterial overgrowth
    • Weight gain

    The diabetes medication acarbose, as well as any medicine containing lactulose or sorbitol, may cause bloating.

    More serious disorders that may cause bloating are:

    • Ascites and tumors
    • Celiac disease
    • Dumping syndrome
    • Ovarian cancer
    • When the pancreas is not able to produce enzymes to help digestion (pancreatic insufficiency)