Associated symptoms | Inflated upper abdomen

Associated symptoms

A bloated upper abdomen often leads to a feeling of fullness, as pressure is exerted on the stomach located there. It can also lead to nausea and the belching of stomach acid (medically: reflux). Since there is usually too much air in the intestine, flatulence is often also the result.

Depending on the cause of the bloated upper abdomen, other symptoms can also occur. In the case of food intolerance, many people also suffer from intestinal cramps and diarrhoea after eating the appropriate food. These symptoms can also occur with a delay of several hours or days.

A bloated upper abdomen accompanied by cramping abdominal pain indicates food intolerance or intestinal disease. A slowly increasing, painful swelling in the abdomen can also be an inflammation or a malignant disease, and a doctor should be consulted as soon as possible. A bloated upper abdomen is usually accompanied by a feeling of fullness.

This can either be because the stomach itself is distended or because adjacent intestinal loops are distended and exert external pressure on the stomach. The body signals that the stomach is too full, which is perceived as a feeling of fullness. The more the upper abdomen is bloated, the stronger this feeling is.

In most cases, this also improves at the same time as the bloating of the stomach decreases. An inflated abdomen with nausea indicates an acute reaction of the gastrointestinal mucosa. This can be caused by food intolerances, intestinal infections or inflammation of the intestine due to other triggers.

An overproduction of hydrochloric acid in the stomach can also cause the symptoms. All causes follow a similar mechanism of origin. The irritation and inflammation of the intestinal mucosa cells can cause nausea, discomfort and pain.

Furthermore, the normal chemical digestive processes are disturbed, resulting in increased reactions with gas formation. In the case of a pronounced swelling of the upper abdomen, breathing can be impaired, as the abdomen presses on the lungs from below, impairing their development. A food allergy can also lead to respiratory distress and abdominal discomfort.

However, the causes of the two symptoms can also be different. If the shortness of breath is very severe or increases further, a doctor must be consulted immediately. Many people with a bloated upper abdomen also suffer from back pain.

The accumulation of air in the intestine, which is usually present, can cause pressure on the spinal column from within and thus cause pain. If the bloating of the upper abdomen decreases, the pain usually disappears. If the back pain persists, another cause is more likely. In most cases, it is due to incorrect or excessive strain on the back.


How long the upper abdomen is inflated cannot be said in general. If it is possible to let air out through supportive measures such as exercise, the inflated abdomen often soon recedes. In some cases, however, the upper abdomen is also bloated for many hours or even several days.

This is especially true if you continue to consume bloated food or carbonated drinks. Even in the case of constipation, the abdomen often remains bloated. If there is no improvement even after several days, a doctor should be consulted.