Some causes of a hard, bloated stomach include constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, overeating, gastroesophageal reflux and lactose intolerance, according to MedlinePlus. More serious causes include tumors, ovarian cancer, celiac disease and pancreas issues.
It is possible to treat bloating at home by taking steps such as avoiding carbonated drinks, chewing gum, and foods with a lot of sorbitol or fructose, explains MedlinePlus. It is also important for those with bloating to avoid foods that cause gas, such as turnips, Brussels sprouts, beans, cabbage and lentils. It is also necessary to avoid milk and dairy products or carbohydrates with fructose. People who have bloating should also eat more slowly, stop smoking and, if suffering from constipation, treat that condition first. There are over-the-counter medications that may also help relieve bloating, including simethicone and charcoal caps.
Bloating is usually not serious, but in some cases, a person should contact a doctor, states MedlinePlus. Normal bloating may cause the abdomen to feel tight and full, and even if the belly looks swollen, it is not a cause for concern in most cases. Some of the signs that a doctor's appointment is necessary include abdominal pain, diarrhea, blood in the stool, vomiting and heartburn. If a person experiences consistent bloating and is losing weight, it is also necessary to see a doctor.