Most people experience a bloated stomach from time-to-time. It usually happens after eating a big meal or foods which are hard to digest. Stomach bloating is also a common symptom of food intolerances or bowel conditions like IBS. Even more seriously, however, stomach bloating is a symptom of some types of cancer, including bowel cancer, stomach cancer and ovarian cancer. But how do you know if the cause of your bloated stomach is cancer?
As well as bloating, bowel cancer, stomach cancer and ovarian cancer have a range of other symptoms.
So if your bloated stomach is persistent and is accompanied by other symptoms, you should pay a visit to your doctor. Here are the other symptoms to look out for:
Bowel cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in the UK, but worryingly, symptoms can be subtle and don’t necessarily make you feel ill.
More than 90 per cent of sufferers, however, will experience abdominal pain, discomfort or bloating brought on by eating, as well as a persistent change in bowel habits, and blood in the stools.
Most people with these symptoms will not have bowel cancer, however the NHS advises seeing your GP if they persist for more than four weeks.
Stomach cancer is fairly uncommon, with around 7,000 people each year in the UK being diagnosed.
Initial symptoms include persistent stomach pain, feeling bloated after meals, trapped wind and frequent burping, and persistent indigestion and heartburn.
Symptoms of advanced stomach cancer include blood in the stools, loss of appetite and weight loss.
In women, the symptoms of ovarian cancer can often be confused with irritable bowel syndrome or pre-menstrual syndrome.
The most common symptoms are discomfort in the tummy or pelvis, feeling constantly bloated, a swollen tummy, feeling full quickly when eating or loss of appetite, and needing to wee more often than normal.
Other symptoms include persistent indigestion or nausea, pain during sex, changes in bowel habits, back pain, vaginal bleeding, feeling tired all the time and unintentional weight loss.
“It’s important to be aware of any unexplained changes to your body, such as the sudden appearance of a lump, blood in your urine, or a change to your usual bowel habits,” said the NHS.
“These symptoms are often caused by other, non-cancerous illnesses, but it’s important to see your GP so they can investigate.”