Bloating is the feeling of an uncomfortably full and gaseous stomach accompanied by burping or abdominal rumbling and gurgling. Most of the time, the causes are simple and often overlooked. Typical causes can be:
- swallowing excess air
- irritable bowel syndrome
- intolerance to certain foods or ingredients (lactose, for example)
- drinking too many carbonated beverages
- some medications
Sometimes bloating can also indicate a more severe health issue. Therefore, it’s essential to be familiar with the warning signs and symptoms associated with extreme bloating.
SERIOUS BLOATING – WARNING SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
Abdominal bloating can result from liver disease or cirrhosis, usually caused by cancer, hepatitis, or heavy drinking. The liver is more susceptible to damage because it acts as a filter station where cancer from other organs spreads.
After all, when cancer cells get into the bloodstream, they eventually get filtered through the liver. Other symptoms of liver disease are yellowing of the skin or eyes.
Advanced colon cancer can block the inside of the colon, leading to bloating. However, bloating may be the only early symptom of colon cancer, especially when cancer is higher in the colon than colon cancer located at the end of the colon in the rectum. In addition, it can cause bleeding and worsening constipation.
A serious group of symptoms that may indicate pancreatic cancer is bloating associated with jaundice, weight loss, poor appetite, and upper abdominal pain that radiates to the back.
In addition, the development of diabetes along with bloating, weight loss, and abdominal pain can also indicate pancreatic cancer.
This type of cancer typically shows no symptoms early or causes vague symptoms like bloating, indigestion, and flatulence in the upper abdomen. It’s similar to pancreatic cancer because it only gives more severe symptoms such as weight loss, nausea, and abdominal pain in the more advanced stages. The most significant risk factor is Helicobacter pylori, nitrates, and nitrites in smoked and processed meats.
Persistent bloating, feeling full faster, and pelvic pain are typical symptoms of ovarian cancer. Although it’s the fifth most common cancer in women, it’s highly lethal. The most common risk factors are not giving birth late in life, obesity, a family history of ovarian cancer, specific genetic abnormalities, and long-term treatment with hormone replacement therapy.
Aside from bloating, uterine cancer shows abnormal vaginal bleeding, a watery or blood-tinged vaginal discharge, pelvic pain, or pain with intercourse or urination.
The most common causes include taking estrogen supplements in the absence of progesterone, tamoxifen, radiation therapy, a family history of uterine cancer, or Lynch syndrome (a form of inherited colon cancer).
Ascites happen when extra fluid fills in the abdominal cavity, usually triggered by liver disease. This condition causes bloating expansion of the abdomen and rapid weight gain as fluid pools.
Moreover, if bloating is accompanied by jaundice, which turns the eyes and skin yellow, it can indicate cancer spreading to the liver. Ascites can also occur with milder forms of liver disease such as hepatitis.
Any weight loss of more than a few pounds, especially if it’s 10% or more of your body weight, without any significant change in dietary regime, accompanied by abdominal bloating, can signify cancer.
Weight loss can result from tumors that put pressure on the intestines. It will give you a feeling of fullness after just a tiny amount of food.
Or it can be from substances secreted by tumors that suppress your appetite.
Diverticulitis is inflammation of the diverticulum. It usually happens in the colon, resulting in bloating, fever, abdominal pain, and tenderness. It can also accompany diarrhea or constipation.
The standard treatment includes bowel rest with a liquid diet. Antibiotics are prescribed in case of fever. A high-fiber diet is highly recommended after the acute episode of diverticulitis is over. It is to ensure fecal matter flow in the bowels and prevent future complications.
Pelvic inflammatory disease
STDs such as Chlamydia or Gonorrhea can lead to Pelvic inflammatory disease. It occurs when female reproductive organs, such as the uterine lining, fallopian tubes, or ovaries become infected. This condition can also occur during childbirth, abortion, or miscarriage, or with the insertion of an intrauterine device (IUD). Typical symptoms include bloating, accompanied by fever, pain, and tenderness in the pelvic area.
In addition, a vaginal discharge is a critical symptom that suggests a PID. Untreated PID can risk infertility and ectopic (tubal) pregnancies, so it’s vital to have a pelvic exam and antibiotic treatment.
Crohn’s is an autoimmune disease usually affecting the digestive system, especially the small intestine or colon. Bloating is one of the earliest symptoms, as it can take years before the condition is diagnosed. However, it can cause narrowing of the intestines that eventually lead to a bowel obstruction. It results in severe bloating, weight loss, nausea, and vomiting after meals.
When Crohn’s occurs in the colon, diarrhea with blood in the stools is a typical symptom. Other symptoms outside of the GI tract include mouth ulcers, joint pain, skin lesions, and inflammation in the eyes.
When bloating is accompanies high fever (over 100 degrees Fahrenheit), it usually indicates infection or inflammation, which is likely urinary, pelvic, or gastrointestinal. A white blood count will also be raised.
Whatever the cause, it’s essential to know that the earlier an illness is diagnosed, the better will be the treatment outcome.