Most people have experienced stomach bloating at some point in their lives. The cause of stomach pain and bloating is usually attributable to eating foods known to cause wind. Swelling can also mean a number of serious and complex causes. One underlying trigger is endometriosis.
According to the NHS, endometriosis is a condition in which uterine lining-like tissues begin to grow in other places, such as the ovaries and fallopian tubes.
The Mayo Clinic added: "Surrounding tissue can become irritated, developing scars and adhesions – abnormal bands of fibrous tissue that can cause pelvic tissues and organs to stick."
According Dr Iris Orbuch, Director of the Advanced Center for Gynecological Laparoscopy and Specialist in Treatment of Endometriosis and Pelvic Pain, over 90% of women diagnosed with endometriosis report gastrointestinal symptoms as their initial symptoms.
Research published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology found that swelling is typically reported by 83% of women with endometriosis.
In addition to bloating, other gastrointestinal symptoms of endometriosis include painful bowel movements, diarrhea, constipation or nausea, especially during menstrual periods, Mayo Clinic notes.
Although the long-term condition cannot be cured, treatments can help alleviate symptoms and prevent them from disrupting daily life, explains the NHS.
As the health body explains, treatments usually involve medication or surgery.
Swelling can also signal ovarian cancer. According to the NHS: "Ovarian cancer mainly affects women who have gone through menopause (usually over 50), but can sometimes affect younger women."
In addition to swelling, common symptoms of ovarian cancer include:
- Feeling constantly swollen
- A swollen belly
- Belly or pelvic discomfort in women
- Feeling full quickly while eating
- Needing to pee more often than normal
The health site added: "Symptoms are not always easy to recognize because they are similar to those of some common conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)."
There is also a commonly overlooked cause of swelling.
How to know the swelling is serious
According to TV doctor Dr. Oz, if a person experiences any of the following symptoms of swelling (or swelling that lasts longer than a week), they should make an appointment with their doctor to have a thorough check:
- A change in bowel habits
- Weight loss
- Blood in a person's stool
Common Causes and Corrections
In most cases, bloating can be treated by reducing the foods that cause wind and bloating.
If bloating is the result of eating certain foods, identifying the worst culprits and avoiding them is a simple solution. Keeping a food diary can help identify the worst culprits, explains the NHS.
"But make sure you still eat five servings of fruits and vegetables a day," advised the NHS.