Stomach bloating: When your stomach bloating could be a signal of something more serious

The digestive system is extremely complex and when bloating occurs, most just ride it out until they begin to feel better. Sometimes though, bloating could be a way to signal something far more serious than just a case of indigestion. What are the two dangerous conditions which can accompany bloating and should be carefully monitored?


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A condition known as ascites occurs when there is an abnormal build-up of fluid in the abdomen or pelvis.

This causes a person to bloat and notice an increase in the waistline.

When there is a large amount of backed up fluid it can make a person look as if they are pregnant.

Ascites is caused by liver disease, although cancer could be the reason too.

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Over seven in 10 cases of ascites is caused by cirrhosis said the British Liver Trust.

The health site continued: “When patients suffer from cirrhosis, the liver and kidneys stop working properly and fluid stops being exchanged within the cells in the way it should.

“This leads to ascites.

“Excessive fluid in the abdomen can put pressure on the diaphragm which in turn presses on the lungs causing difficulty breathing.

“Fluid can also sometimes travel into the chest which would also cause difficulty in breathing.

“Main symptoms of ascites include bloating, shortness of breath, and nausea.”

Colon cancer

There are a few symptoms linked to colon cancer, including bloating, but it’s important to note these symptoms do not necessarily mean a person has the disease.

There are many other explanations for the symptoms including infections or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

However, it is strongly recommended to be extra cautious and vigilant if you experience bloating.


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Feeling an occasional cramp or bloat are common digestive issues which occur due to having an upset stomach, too much gas or consuming the wrong type of food for your digestive system.

Experiencing frequent and unexplained bloating, however, could be a sign of colon cancer.

If bloating due to colon cancer, it tends to be caused by an obstruction in the colon.

Bloating may also occur as a result of the cancer spreading to nearby lymph nodes.

If your bloating is not caused by anything serious, you should consider cutting out fizzy drinks and foods that cause wind, advised the NHS.

But it advised: “If you are experiencing persistent bloating, it may be caused by a digestive problem or issues with your diet.

“If your bloating symptoms persist, consult your GP to rule out a more serious condition.”

Thankfully, bloating often dissipates in time. But it’s always important to listen to your body and consult a medical professional if concerned. 

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