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Intestine & digestion

Abdominal swelling: do you know how to combat it?

July 10, 2018

A belly that “pulls”, especially after lunch, feeling uncomfortable with digestive difficulties and meteorism: Abdominal swelling is a widespread disorder, particularly in women. It is among the most difficult causes to fight, in addition to stress and bad eating habits. We asked Dr. Beatrice Salvioli, a gastroenterologist from Humanitas, how to combat this condition.


A generic symptom for many possible problems

In men, abdominal swelling is mainly due to excessive consumption of alcohol. Women, on the other hand, can have many causes. One of them is psychosomatic stress. The accumulation of adipose tissue can certainly play a role, as well as hormones that change during menstruation or menopause. The use of antidepressant drugs can also affect this extremely general symptom, which is therefore difficult to identify and treat.


“If the swelling is localized to the mouth of the stomach, we can assume two prevailing causes – explained Dr. Salvioli: an inflammation of the stomach, as for example a gastritis or a moment of important stress that blocks the diaphragm and affects the correct breathing with consequent pain and swelling. If the swelling is instead placed under the navel, the problem is of an intestinal nature.


Bad eating habits

Many people eat fast, chew poorly, and maybe eat lunch in front of the computer or phone or take an incorrect posture. For those suffering from abdominal swelling, these bad eating habits are all factors that contribute to digestion problems. Before eating, take 5-10 minutes to exercise diaphragmatic breathing to help relax and prepare your stomach, relieve muscle tension and facilitate digestion. Food quality is also important. Those who suffer from swelling or difficulty digesting, should prefer simple dishes and little seasoning to avoid getting weighed down and have digestive problems. No to salad, which ferments in the stomach causing swelling, while it is preferable to eat a plate of pasta or a second of meat or fish with vegetables cooked on the side. Fruit at the end of a meal should also be avoided. It is better to eat it away from meals as a snack. Finally, it is ideal to drink natural water at room temperature: if possible, a glass of water every hour.

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