The term distended stomach usually indicates the abdomen is enlarged or swollen, according to MedicineNet. Bloating is another term for the condition. Overeating is one of the most common causes of a distended stomach, reports MedlinePlus.
Intestinal gas is another cause of a distended stomach, states Healthline. Gas forms if an individual swallows air or consumes high-fiber foods. Ovarian cysts, irritable bowel syndrome, lactose intolerance, pregnancy and premenstrual syndrome are other possible causes of a distended stomach, explains MedlinePlus. Weight gain, intestinal blockage, uterine fibroids and a buildup of fluids in the abdomen can also cause stomach distension.
Stomach distension from overeating resolves on its own as the food digests, according to MedlinePlus. To prevent a distended stomach from swallowed air, eat slowly and avoid chewing gum, sucking on candies and drinking carbonated beverages. Also avoid consuming foods that produce gas, such as beans, broccoli and cabbage, notes Healthline.
An individual who experiences stomach distension from lactose intolerance can limit intake of dairy products, states Healthline. To alleviate irritable bowel syndrome-related stomach distension, avoid stress and increase intake of dietary fiber. Bed rest and decreasing sodium intake helps reduce fluid buildup, or ascites; a doctor may also recommend diuretics. An individual who experiences a distended stomach due to other medical conditions needs to consult a doctor for treatment, explains MedlinePlus.