see also Abdominal Pain
Usually due to retention of wind, faeces, or body fluids, as in Irritable Bowel Syndrome (wind and pain, relieved by passing wind or stool), Constipation, or Premenstrual Syndrome, or after eating too many pulses; can also be due to malabsorption (pale, greasy stools, weight loss), swallowing air (see Belching), under-production of stomach acid (see Acid Secretion Problems), food intolerance, intestinal Candidiasis, etc.
Perhaps the most serious conditions signalled by abdominal distention are obstruction (severe pain with or without vomiting, inability to pass wind, fever) and Appendicitis (if appendix has burst); if obstruction or a burst appendix is suspected, contact Emergency Medical Services.
Other distension-related conditions requiring prompt medical attention are Retention of Urine (relieved by passing urine), Cirrhosis of the Liver (with jaundicing), congestive Heart Failure (with puffy ankles which pit when pressed, breathlessness which gets worse at night and during exercise) and Glomerulonephritis (swollen ankles which pit when pressed, small amounts of urine); if any of these conditions is suspected, consult your doctor if there is no improvement in 12 hours.
Give specific homeopathic remedies appropriate to the cause; if none of the remedies listed elsewhere seems to answer the case, the remedies below may be used.
Specific remedies to be given every ½ hour for up to 10 doses
- Marked constipation, passing of wind Lycopodium 30c
- Passing wind, abdominal pain relieved by bending backwards, bowels loose Dioscorea 30c
- Hysterical distention of abdomen, particularly after grief Ignatia 30c
- Bowels feel as if there is a live animal in them, lots of wind and rumbling, abdomen distended, chronic diarrhoea Thuja 30c
Self-help: If wind is the problem avoid gas-producing foods such as pulses, nuts, onions, and cabbage. Try Acidophilus supplements.