What it feels like: swelling and/or discomfort in the belly that occursafter eating.

What can make it worse: meals, certain positions, eating particularfoods.

What can make it better: antacids, belching.If you also feel abdominal pain, refer to the chapter on that subjectfor more information.

Your Doctor Visit

What your doctor will ask you about: abdominal pain, nausea,vomiting, change in bowel habits, black stools, change in abdominalgirth, greasy bowel movements, weight change, gas, belching, regur-gitation, anxiety, depression, relation of bloating to bowel move-ments, results of previous X-rays or ultrasound examinations.

Your doctor will want to know if you or anyone in your family hashad any of these conditions: abdominal surgery, ulcer disease, coli-tis, diverticulosis, alcoholism, liver disease, hiatus hernia, obesity,emotional problems.

Your doctor will want to know the nature of your pain andwhere it occurs.

Your doctor will want to know if you’re taking any of these med-ications: diuretics (“water pills”), heart medications such as calciumchannel agents, antidepressants, tranquilizers, antacids, antispas-modics (Librax, belladonna).

Your doctor will do a physical examination including the fol-lowing: weight, pushing on the abdomen, checking stool for the pres-ence of blood.


Cause: Aerophagia
What is it: Swallowing air
Typcal Symptoms: Bloating, belching, gas,chronic, worsened withcertain foods

Cause: Flatulence
What is it: Passing gas
Typcal Symptoms: Bloating, belching, gas,chronic, worsened withcertain foods

Cause: Digestion problems
What is it: Includes the inability to   digest certain foods and  difficulty absorbing  nutrients from foods
Typcal Symptoms: Diarrhea caused by certain  foods, greasy bowel movements, weight loss

Cause: Gastrointestinal  problems (See  chapter on  Abdominal Pain.)
What is it: A disorder of the stomachor intestines
Typcal Symptoms: Weight loss, abdominal pain, change in bowel habits, nausea, vomiting

Cause: Ascites
What is it: Abnormal collection of  fluid in the abdomen due  to liver disease
Typcal Symptoms: Swollen belly, more common in people with a history of alcoholism andliver disease

Cause: Colic
What is it: Sudden and sharpabdominal pain
Typcal Symptoms: Brief episodes of crying and writhing, bowelsounds, often relieved bypassing gas; occurs only innewborns and infants

Cause: Irritable bowel syndrome
What is it: Alternating diarrhea and  constipation, sometimes  occurring during periods of anxiety
Typcal Symptoms: Cramping, diarrhea, constipation, with minimal pain, no fever