Imagine yourself at a large function. One of the attractions is the buffet spread. To counter the long line, you end up filling your plate with a lot of food. Then, standing and eating is no fun. So you end up eating faster than normal. The next day, you experience uneasiness in the belly - a bloated feeling. You are not alone. Practically every person has experienced this symptom at some time in their life. For most, the uneasiness is temporary, but for some, the condition only gets worse.
A swollen abdomen occurs when your stomach area is larger than normal. This is sometimes known as a distended abdomen or swollen belly. A swollen abdomen is often uncomfortable or even painful. A swollen abdomen has a number of potential causes and is common occurrence. Abdominal distension occurs when substances, such as air (gas) or fluid, accumulate in the abdomen causing its expansion. It is typically a symptom of an underlying disease or dysfunction in the body, rather than an illness in its own right. People with this condition often describe it as "feeling bloated".
Affected people often experience a sensation of fullness, abdominal pressure, and sometimes nausea, pain, or cramping. In the most extreme cases, upward pressure on the diaphragm and lungs can also cause shortness of breath. Through a variety of causes, bloating is most commonly due to buildup of gas in the stomach, small intestine, or colon. The pressure sensation is often relieved, or at least lessened, by belching or flatulence. Medications that settle gas in the stomach and intestines are also commonly used to treat the discomfort and lessen the abdominal distension. Anyone who regularly experiences stomach burning and similar symptoms should see a doctor. It is important to understand the underlying cause and to receive effective treatment.
There are many causes for this ailment other than a buffet line. Certain foods have been known to worsen bloating. Poorly digested components of many foods are excreted into the large intestine where they are degraded by bacteria, producing excess gas. Depending on the undigested component, this may affect the odor and the volume of gas created. Excess dietary fiber intake is also a known cause of belching, gas and bloating. Many vegetables are known to cause bloating due to high levels of fiber and indigestible sugars such as raffinose (e.g., beans, cabbage, broccoli). There are many individuals who are unable to tolerate dairy products because of lactose intolerance. Such foods should be eliminated from the diet if symptoms develop.
For some people, recurrent distension symptoms worsen their quality of life and thus many resort to health supplements or medications. Dietary supplements containing various enzymes are formulated to help break down complex carbohydrates and vegetables in order to reduce substances in the gut that cause bacterial overgrowth and subsequent bloating. Though these enzymes can help reduce gas and belching, they may not always reduce bloating.
Other over-the-counter formulas recommended for bloating include simethicone and activated charcoal. Probiotics are also used to treat bloating based on the theory that improved gut flora will improve digestion and lessen gas generation. But at times, it has the opposite effect.
Other lesser known causes include Ascites, a condition that occurs when fluid builds up inside your abdomen. This buildup is usually due to problems with your liver, such as cirrhosis. Cirrhosis occurs when your liver becomes extremely scarred. When ascites first develops, you probably won’t notice any symptoms. As the fluid accumulates over time, you’ll start to notice your abdomen becoming more and more swollen. Ascites can cause you discomfort.
Your swollen abdomen could be caused by other, less common symptoms. For example, gallstones are hard masses that can build up in your gallbladder. Pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas. Weight gain may also cause swelling of the abdomen, as can a blockage in your intestine. An ovarian cyst may also lead to a swollen abdomen.
Depending upon the cause of your swollen abdomen, you might be able to treat your symptoms easily at home. If your abdomen is swollen because you ate too much, simply waiting for your food to digest could solve your problem. Eating smaller meals can help prevent this problem in the future. Also, consider eating more slowly to give your stomach time to process your food. If your abdomen is swollen because of gas, try avoiding foods that are known to cause gas. Some of these foods are beans and cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cabbage. Avoid drinking carbonated drinks and drinking out of a straw. Eating slowly can also help prevent you from swallowing air, which leads to gas. Avoiding dairy products can help relieve abdominal swelling caused by lactose intolerance. In the case of IBS, decreasing your stress levels and raising your fiber intake have been shown to help relieve symptoms. If you have ascites, bed rest and reducing your sodium intake can help your body get rid of the excess fluid. Then of course, you could try colour therapy.
Ayurvedic science had discovered the connection between ailments and imbalance of certain life energies in our body thousands of years back. Modern science is only now discovering the efficacy of the same through experimentation and documented research measured using scientific instruments that were not formerly available.
Colour therapy can help people in getting rid of abdomen distention with burning and acidity by painting dots on front of the right hand index finger and middle fingers. These are Kapha joints. Use light blue, violet, green, and black colours on meridians. Make them using sketch pens (see pic below).