Have you ever felt a tightness in your stomach after eating or perhaps in the early morning upon awakening?
This sensation may be present in one area of the abdomen or may feel like it is tightening the entire stomach region.
When your stomach feels tight, it may be accompanied by stomach cramping or stomach bloating.
Usually a tightness is no cause for alarm. To determine if it is the symptom of a health issue, let’s learn the possible causes.
The tightness in the stomach you experience may originate within the stomach wall lining, organs, or even the stomach muscles. Tightness in any area of the abdomen can be linked to the colon and small intestines.
Tightness the upper right quadrant of the abdomen, in particular, may indicate an issue with the liver, gallbladder, pancreas, or the right kidney, while left upper quadrant issues are linked to the stomach, spleen, pancreas, and left kidney.
The right lower quadrant takes in the right ureter, fallopian tube, and the right ovary, and the lower left quadrant may deal with the left ureter, fallopian tube, and left ovary. The tight feeling in stomach muscles is usually accompanied by other symptoms, there may be various causes.
10 Reasons Why Your Stomach Feels Tight
When our bowel movements are not regular and the colon becomes full, it can cause a tightness in the lower part of the abdomen. In severe cases, our stool will become very firm and block the rectum and colon.
2. Irritable Bowel Syndrome
IBS can be detected early by the tightness feeling accompanied by severe stomach pain. This chronic disorder is caused by digestive problems relating to irregular bowel movements. Diarrhea, bloating, and flatulence are other symptoms that occur with tightness.
The feeling of fullness when we overindulge at a meal can cause our stomach to feel tight. This usually happens with meals containing spices or fatty oils. Tightness is experienced when alcohol accompanies food.
Any tightness felt at the top of the stomach region, near the left ribcage, can indicate inflammation of the stomach lining. The tightness can be accompanied by a dull pain, nausea, bloating, and vomiting.
5. Menstrual Cycle or Pregnancy
During the menstrual cycle, it is common to feel a tightness along with mood swings and bloating. In pregnancy, the growing stages of the fetus will cause a feeling of tightness of the abdominal wall, usually in the lower stomach region.
With the buildup of fluid in the peritoneal cavity, the tightness of the stomach occurs as the stomach expands. No symptoms may be present in the beginning of ascites, but it can cause severe pain in serious cases.
7. Bladder Infection
A bladder infection is most often signaled by a burning sensation when urinating, but tightness in the lower abdomen can be the first symptom of an infection.
Tenderness and tightness of the abdominal walls may be the result of trauma or injury.
Stomach muscles can become strained or pulled from contact sports, accidents, or even with strenuous exercise. Serious cases involve an injury such as bruising of an organ.
A tightness of the stomach can sometimes signal the presence of a mass. Accompanied with pain, severe in some cases, the mass can be in the form of a tumor, cyst, or abscess.
When the lining of the stomach cavity becomes inflamed, it can cause a feeling of tightness in that part of the abdomen. This problem with the peritoneum can cause excruciating pain as well.
Symptoms That May Occur with Tightness in Stomach
It is important to note that the feeling of tightness in the stomach is not a sickness or disorder—it’s merely a symptom of an underlying health issue. As such, it is often accompanied by other symptoms. You may experience any of the following discomforts in addition to the tightness.
- Excessive gas
- Loss of appetite
What to Do When Your Stomach Feels Tight
If you are experiencing tightness in your stomach with no serious additional symptoms, there are a few lifestyle changes you can make to relieve the discomfort.
1. Maintain Good Eating Habits
You can help your digestive system by simply changing how you eat, which, in turn, can improve your health. Try eating five to six small meals each day and be sure to chew each bite slowly and completely. Consume water throughout the day and 30 minutes before and after meals. Do not drink water during the meal.
2. Restrict Certain Foods
Avoid dairy products altogether and only have small quantities of legumes such as soy beans, peanuts, and lentils. These food products can hinder the digestive process.
3. Eat Digestion-Friendly Foods
Add to your diet foods that relieve or prevent constipation and gas such as potatoes, yogurt, honey, almonds, flaxseed, and asparagus. Drink prune or aloe vera juice to soothe tightness in the stomach.
4. Drink Herbal Tea
Ginger, mint, and chamomile teas can aid in digestion, ease bloating and cramping, and eliminate tightness on the stomach. Another great herbal drink is fenugreek seeds in water that has set overnight.
Regular exercise relieves constipation, gas, bloating, and other digestive problems. By eliminating these symptoms, any abdomen tightness will ease.
Each person may experience the sensation of tightness in the stomach differently. Some cases involve mild discomfort with no pain, while other situations can lead to severe pain.
As abdominal tightness is a symptom and not a disease or disorder, it is usually accompanied by other symptoms.
It may signal an underlying health concern that requires medical attention, or it may be relieved by a few lifestyle changes. By determining the cause and the location of the tightening, you can quickly take steps to alleviate any pain or discomfort.
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Dr. Chris, “Tightness in the Abdomen Feeling and Causes of Tight Stomach and Colon,” Health Hype http://www.healthhype.com/tightness-in-the-abdomen-feeling-and-causes-of-tight-stomach-and-colon.html, last accessed February 23, 2017.
“Stomach Feels Tight,” Med Guidance; http://www.medguidance.com/thread/Stomach-Feels-Tight.html, last accessed February 23, 2017.