Bloating is one of the most common disorders and most of the time they are transient and are not a cause for concern. They usually occur following certain food intolerances or after overeating. But sometimes they can indicate more or less serious health problems, including cancer. How to distinguish “safe” and “dangerous” bloating?
Bloating is harmless occasional digestive disorder that may occur following an unbalanced diet rich in fat or processed foods difficult to digest, or following certain food intolerances as gluten or lactose.
But when the disorder is accompanied by other symptoms, be sure to consult a doctor to determine the exact cause and put the odds in your favor for a successful treatment.
Here are some warning signs that you shouldn’t ignore:
- Ascites: When you suffer from this disorder, it is as if you had gained weight and your waistline had expanded. It is usually caused by excess fluid in your abdomen. In some severe cases, bloating can give you the appearance of being in the last weeks of pregnancy. So if you have this symptom, you should definitely check with the doctor. Bloating can indicate liver disease such as hepatitis. As for liver cancer, it is often accompanied by the following symptoms: jaundice (skin and eyes), and of course, bloating.
- Nausea, vomiting or abdominal pain: If you suffer from these symptoms, you should consult a doctor urgently, as they can indicate a tumor or intestinal obstruction, which, if not treated, and can lead to perforation of the intestines. It is important to note that the pain that accompanies these disorders becomes more intense each time the food or fluids are trying to pass through the obstruction.
- Vaginal bleeding or blood in the stool: Bloating can also occur in women who have bleeding outside of menstruation or after menopause. These signs are rarely dangerous and are often due to hemorrhoids, atrophy of the endometrium, fibroids or an irregular menstrual cycle.
- Fever: If you develop fever and bloating, this may be related to infection or inflammation. This is why you need to do a blood test to check the number of white blood cells and whether you suffer from gastrointestinal, urinary or pelvic infection.
The most severe bloating causes:
- Bowel cancer: We all like to keep fit and have a slender and harmonious body. But if you lose 10% of your weight without changing the diet or practicing physical activity, you should start to concern about your health. Indeed, bloating combined with excessive weight loss can be a sign of intestinal cancer, which oppresses your stomach and gives you a persistent feeling of satiety. Moreover, this may indicate a presence of tumor responsible for the decrease in your appetite.
- Ovarian cancer: According to the latest statistics, ovarian cancer is the fifth most common type of cancer in women. Its presence is indicated by bloating and pain in the pelvis. The risk of developing ovarian cancer is increased in genetically susceptible women (who have a family history of ovarian cancer), obese, aged 50 and older, who followed a prolonged hormone treatment, who have never had children or who conceived them in old age.
- Uterine cancer: The most common symptoms of uterine cancer are pain sensations during urination or intercourse, vaginal discharge with presence of blood or abnormal vaginal bleeding. This type of cancer is often related to family history of colon cancer (Lynch syndrome) or uterine cancer caused by estrogen supplementation or after taking certain hormone treatments (such as Tamoxifen, an anti-estrogen).
- Colon cancer: Being able to reach in the middle or closer to the ends of the colon, it is generally accompanied by bloating and/or more or less bleeding. To prevent its occurrence, we must adopt a balanced diet rich in leafy vegetables, and improve the lifestyle.
- Pancreatic cancer: Considered one of the most aggressive types of cancer and the most lethal, it is important to know its symptoms to ensure its early detection. If you suffer from bloating accompanied by significant weight loss, jaundice, loss of appetite and pain localized in the upper abdomen, consult your doctor urgently.
- Stomach cancer: Its presence is indicated by bloating accompanied by a feeling of fullness in the upper abdomen, and heartburn. Unfortunately, these signs do not appear early in the disease, which significantly delays the diagnosis.
- Diverticulitis: This is an inflammation of the diverticula (small bags) located in the large intestine or colon. Bloating, fever, abdominal pain, constipation and diarrhea are the main symptoms. It can be treated with antibiotics and consumption of large amounts of liquids help to relieve it.
- Pelvic inflammatory disease: It usually occurs following an infection of the ovaries or fallopian tubes with gonorrhea or chlamydia or any other sexually transmitted infection. It can also be due to the use of certain intrauterine devices, miscarriage, childbirth or abortion. This inflammation is treated with antibiotics to prevent it from becoming ectopic (outside the uterus) or cause infertility.
- Crohn’s disease: It is a chronic inflammatory disease of the digestive system, whose main symptoms are bloating, vomiting after meals, diarrhea, nausea, blood in the stool and weight loss. Other signs may also appear, such as oral ulcers, skin lesions and eye and joint inflammation.