Stomach feels Tight: 16 Must know causes and Ways to get relief from it

Have you ever wondered why your Stomach feels tight sometimes? Tightness in the stomach can be bothersome as we won’t be able to concentrate on any other work due to it. So, let us try to understand the causes of tight stomach and the ways we can get alleviation from this problem.

What is Stomach Tightness or a Tight stomach?

stomach feels tight
Stomach feels tight
Image source: netdoctor.co.uk

Stomach tightness is a subjective feeling, and it is different for different people. Some people describe mild stomach discomfort as stomach tightness, while some other people might call a severe stomach pain and pressure as the tight stomach.

Whatever the people might mean, there are many different reasons of the stomach feeling tight ranging from minor hormonal changes to any medical disorder or condition in your body.

It can be caused due to a problem with the muscles overlying your abdomen or the parts or organs within your belly including your stomach.

Why does my Stomach feel Tight-Causes for Tight Stomach:

As we have discussed just now, there are many different causes of the stomach feeling tight. Let us discuss them below.

Excessive air in the gut:

There are many times when we swallow excess air. It can occur when we are snoring at night, eating while chewing a lot and keeping mouth open, by drinking aerated drinks or sodas, etc. Presence of excess air in the gut can make you feel that you have stomach tightness.

Gastritis:

It is the inflammation or swelling of the lining of the stomach. It can lead to many different symptoms like having fullness in the stomach or heaviness, tightness in stomach, bloating, indigestion, etc. It is a widespread problem amongst the people.

GERD:

It is the abbreviation for Gastroesophageal reflux disease. It is caused due to the weakness in the sphincter joining the stomach with food pipe or the oesophagus called the lower oesophagal sphincter.

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In this disorder, the gastric contents reflux back or regurgitate into the oesophagus or food pipe. This leads you to have a tight feeling in stomach, bloating, heartburn or pain behind the sternum, etc.

Peptic ulcer:

Peptic ulcers are the erosions of the lining of the stomach or the first part of the small bowel or small intestine called the duodenum. They can occur in people with certain infections of bacteria called Helicobacter Pylori Bacteria. Having peptic ulcers can also make you feel tightness in stomach.

Hiatal Hernia:

A hiatal hernia is the protrusion of the upper portion of the stomach into the chest through the diaphragm, which is a dome-like structure separating the chest and the abdomen. It is also one of the causes of having a tight stomach.

Fluid accumulation in the abdomen:

Sometimes fluid can accumulate in the stomach due to various disorders of the liver, heart, protein deficiency, etc. This is called Ascites. This excess fluid exerts pressure over the gut leading to tightness in stomach.

Excessive eating:

Have you ever experienced that when you eat heavily during any party or festival that your stomach feels tight? Are you familiar with this situation? Eating in excess amount leads to bloating, tightness in stomach, indigestion, flatulence, belching, etc.

Obesity:

When a person is overweight, there is excess fat around his abdomen or stomach. This excess fat can also make your stomach feel tight, especially after having a meal, etc.

Food Poisoning:

We all love to eat food outside, at least occasionally don’t we? But, there are some disadvantages of eating out as wee, if we don’t choose the place where we eat very carefully. Sometimes, the food we eat outside can be contaminated with bacteria and their toxins leading to food poisoning.

This develops many symptoms in us like abdominal pain or cramps, diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, bloating in the stomach, stomach tightness, etc.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome:

Irritable bowel syndrome is abbreviated as IBS. It develops in people without any known cause. But, stress and lifestyle factors are thought to play an essential role in developing this problem. In this condition, the afflicted person has stomach tightness very often.

He also has alternating diarrhoea and constipation, and either diarrhoea or constipation is predominant in various persons. They also have indigestion, abdominal bloating, stomach pain, etc.

Premenstrual Syndrome:

Premenstrual syndrome or PMS is the cluster of symptoms experienced by a woman just a few days before her menses or menstruation begins. In this condition, the woman has abdominal bloating, heaviness in breasts, stomach tightness, mood swings, irritability, back pain, etc. Hormonal changes cause it.

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Pregnancy:

We have discussed many different causes of tightness in stomach. But, do you know that tightness in the stomach can also e caused by pregnancy which is a natural cycle in every woman’s life. The growing baby exerts pressure on the abdomen of the pregnant woman, making her have tightness in stomach.

Trauma:

We all do play sports or play games, right. Sometimes we can develop muscle cramps or spams of the abdominal wall muscles when playing. This can also make us have stomach tightness.

Urinary Infections:

When we develop urinary infections, we have burning urination, difficulty passing urination, increased the frequency of urination, abdominal tightness or lower abdominal pain.

Anxiety:

Stress can take a toll on our health very quickly. When we are stressed, we develop many different symptoms ranging from stomach tightness, nauseous feeling to tightness in chest and palpitations or racing or pounding heart when we have extreme stress or anxiety.

Abdominal Mass:

Having abdominal mass can also cause stomach tightness as it occupies the space inside the abdominal cavity. It can be caused due to any form of cancer or benign growth or tumours. But, this is an infrequent cause of feeling tightness in the stomach.

Diagnosis of Causes of Stomach Tightness:

As there are many different causes of stomach tightness or tightness in the stomach, you need to visit your doctor to get appropriate treatment when you are having these symptoms for a prolonged period.

Your doctor will take a detailed history of your symptoms, your food habits, your past medical disorders your occupation, your family history, your lifestyle, etc. Then he will perform physical examination based on the symptoms and history you have given.

Then the doctor might order any tests if he thinks they are necessary like Helicobacter Pylori test, Imaging tests like CT scan of the abdomen, Endoscopy, etc. based on findings in your history and Physical examination.

How to get rid of tightness in stomach or Stomach Tightness:

The treatment for a tight stomach depends on the cause of it. If Gastritis, GERD or peptic ulcer is causing it, you will have to take antacids, Proton pump inhibitor drugs like Omeprazole by taking a prescription of your doctor along with following lifestyle modifications.

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If any food poisoning is causing your symptoms, etc. you will have to take drugs to kill the microbes causing it with the help of your doctor.

If your symptoms are being caused by any fluid accumulation in the abdomen or due to any mass in the stomach, then you will need further investigation and treatment from your doctor.

Prevention of Tightness in the stomach:

There are many things we can do to avoid developing stomach tightness due to some reasons like Gastritis, obesity, GERD, etc. which are preventable. Some such steps you can take are:

  • Avoid eating very heavily. Eat in moderation. Eat at proper times.
  • Exercise regularly and maintain your weight under control.
  • Eat healthy foods like fruits, raw vegetables, sprouts throughout that day. Try to include them in one form or the another in your diet.
  • Avoid eating junk food, oily food and deep fried food as much as you can.
  • Keep stress under control. Don’t worry about anything in your life and stay calm and relaxed.
  • Follow relaxation techniques like Yoga, Meditations, swimming, etc.
  • Be careful when you eat outside. Eat from only clean places.
  • Avoid eating spicy food, drinking aerated drinks or carbonated beverages.
  • Be careful while playing, avoid injuring yourself.

When to see a Doctor for Tight stomach:

We should not neglect when we are experiencing stomach tightness for a prolonged period. We need to consult a doctor when we are having the following symptoms for sure:

  • If we are having a weight loss or weight gain along with tight stomach
  • If your symptoms are not resolving after trying out various home remedies, etc
  • If you have any bleeding along with stools, either bright red blood or black coloured stools
  • If you have any abdominal distension or enlargement of the abdomen
  • If you develop severe stomach pain not responding to any Over the counter drugs or remedies
  • If you have a change in your bowel habits like excessive constipation or excessive diarrhoea

We have discussed all the causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of tightness in the stomach or the stomach tightness. We hope this information is helpful to you.

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