When Bloating Requires Medical Attention
Many people suffer some bloating once in a while. Most times, bloating is merely a slight discomfort and slight nuisance that does not cause alarm especially when the cause is apparent such as after over-indulgence in a food or drink.
The cause of bloating can be a small issue such as lactose intolerance or slow digestion of a high-carb diet. Familiarity with signs and symptoms of bloating is essential in determining when it is severe and an indicator of the need for medical attention. The reason is that bloating at times could be a sign of severe disease such as stomach cancer.
Most times, you can manage bloating with home remedies. It is essential to go for a medical examination if you notice that bloating accompanies these signs and symptoms that show the likelihood of serious condition.
Severe abdominal pain
Sudden bloating with severe pain in the abdomen, nausea, and vomiting could be a sign of a significant bowel obstruction. The cause of obstruction can be a tumor that is big enough to press on the bowel or scar tissue. The right decision is to seek medical attention quickly to avoid further complications such as bowel perforation which can cause death. Obstructions cause severe pain by making the bowel above the blocked section to stretch when it fills with food and the digestive juices. The intense pain is more likely to occur in waves because it happens when the bowel make an effort to push the content past the obstruction.
Painful bowels during bloating could also be a symptom of Crohn’s disease an autoimmune disease that affects the small and large intestine. It makes the intestinal walls to narrow often leading to painful bowel obstruction. It usually shows other symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, joint pain, mouth ulcers and skin lesions.
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Loss of weight
Losing weight is one of the primary warning signs that the bloating is serious. If bloating causes the loss of several pounds without any definite cause such as a new exercise regimen or change in diet, it should be a cause of concern more so when the lost weight reaches 10 percent of the overall body weight. The cause of weight loss could be tumors that firmly press on the intestines to cause a feeling of fullness after taking just a small helping of food. Tumors can also secrete substances that cause bloating and suppress appetite.
Ascites is an abnormal buildup of fluids on pelvis or abdomen. In addition to bloating, this built up causes a rapid expansion of the waistline and weight gain. The liver disease is usually the cause of ascites although nowadays, cancer is contributing up to 10 percent of the cases. It can cause a significant amount of amount to the extent of making someone feel and look pregnant for several months. If jaundice that turns the skin and eye yellow occurs during bloating, it could be a sign of cancer that is spreading to the liver. Jaundice can also occur due to a mild form of liver disease like hepatitis.
Fever that occurs together with bloating usually is due to an inflammation or infection. If the symptoms also include a higher count of white blood cells, it is essential to visit a doctor to diagnose the disease and its location. An infection that causes fever could be in the pelvis, gastrointestinal or urinary tract.
Blood in the stool
Blood in the stool or vaginal bleeding in between menstrual cycle or after menopause are signs of serious bloating. Most of the time, they are a sign of irregular periods, hemorrhoids, endometrial atrophy or fibroids which are easy to treat. Nevertheless, any sign of bleeding requires evaluation by a specialist as it could be a sign of colon or uterine cancer.
Any bloating with more signs and symptoms than a slight discomfort due to gas in the stomach require examination by a doctor.