Upper Abdominal Bloating

What is Upper Abdominal Bloating?

Put simply, upper abdominal bloating is the name given to chronic swelling in the abdomen, due to gas, liquid, or solid food in the digestive system itself. The abdomen will feel tight or even hard to the touch, and those experiencing abdominal bloating may experience moderate to severe discomfort. While moderate cases of the condition can leave patients functioning normally, more serious examples have been known to leave some bedridden for weeks or even months. Finding ways to stem the effects, and get your digestive system operating normally is the best defense against abdominal bloating.

Human Body System

The human body is an open system, which means that it requires a constant flow inward and outward in order to achieve its own natural balance. Many diseases and disorders occur when one of our bodies' vital systems, especially the digestive system, get blocked or otherwise disrupted. Is one might imagine, a dysfunctional digestive system can cause a wide variety of different effects. One of the more notable of these is upper abdominal bloating.

Part of the reason why abdominal bloating can be such a threat is because its early symptoms are difficult to distinguish from common ailments. Cramps, unusual gas, and abdominal pain can all be sources of minor discomfort experienced by even healthy systems. But once these symptoms stick around for more than a few hours or days, you may be experiencing something more serious and should get in touch with a doctor.


Abdominal bloating is commonly caused by ingesting foods that are difficult for the body to process. Some common foods, such as eggs, can fall into this category, but generally the list of difficult to digest foods includes those high in fat, dairy products, fried foods, processed foods, spicy foods, and artificial sweeteners. Everybody's body is different, and your body changes over time, so learning which foots effect your system negatively may be a process of careful observation over a long period of time.

Upper abdominal bloating can also be the result of existing conditions, which can compound the effects of the disorder. Lactose intolerance, celiac disease, and irritable bowel syndrome are some of the biggest offenders, and those with histories including any of them should be especially conscious of the threat of abdominal bloating and adjust their diet accordingly.

Lactose intolerance

  • The excessive bacterial formations sometimes caused by lactose intolerance can contribute to abdominal bloating after eating dairy products.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

  • Most common in women over the age of fifty, IBS can add to abdominal pain, and also create excessive gas in the abdominal region.

Celiac Disease

  • Caused by inflammation in the large intestine, the effects of celiac disease are similar to those of upper abdominal bloating, including pain and uncomfortable swelling in the area.

Other conditions that can cause or contribute to abdominal bloating include: acid reflux, constipation, dyspepsia, hiatal hernia, diverticulitis, ovarian cyst, gallstones, endometriosis, hernia, urinary tract infection, cystic fibrosis, stomach cancer, and Crohn's disease.


The symptoms of upper abdominal bloating can change from case to case, since the disorder can have a wide variety of different causes. Generally, the symptoms associated with the condition are as follows:

  • Swelling, hardness, or tightness in the abdominal region
  • Moderate to severe pain or discomfort
  • Constipation
  • Loss of appetite
  • Bad gas


The best way to mitigate the effects of upper abdominal bloating is to change your diet. Avoiding fatty foods, processed foods, or other ingestibles that tend to upset your system is a good place to start. Opting for easily digestible foods, such as those that contain probiotics like yogurt and saukraut, can also assist your digestive system in breaking down those foods. If you believe you are experiencing abdominal bloating as a result of a preexisting condition like lactose intolerance or irritable bowel syndrome, than seeking treatment for those underlying causes is advised.

Finally, if the problem persists after significant dietary changes, then calling your doctor is advised. Depending on the underlying cause, doctors can prescribe antibiotics, digestive aids, or other medicines that will help. You should also call a medical professional immediately if you experience any of the following:

  • Blood in your vomit or stool
  • Uncontrolled diarrhea
  • No bowel movement for more than three days
  • Uncontrolled vomiting
  • Loss of consciousness
Last Reviewed:
June 03, 2017
Last Updated:
June 03, 2017