Stomach hard as a rock

Stomach hard as a rock

 

A stomach hard as rock can be really annoying associated with discomfort and sometimes pain. There are many conditions that can make your abdomen feel as hard as a rock and most of these conditions are associated with gastrointestinal tract.

While most of these causes are benign and do not need any serious intervention, some other causes can be fatal if not dealt with properly and on time.

Today in this article we'll be talking about this common issue that almost all of us have faced at least once if not more, in our lives.

Following a heavy meal in a family gathering or after enjoying every bite of your favorite street food, sometimes the result of these happy moments may not be as happy as expected and can cause severe discomfort, bloating and a stomach as hard as a rock!

Sometimes weeks of disturbed bowel movements can lead to this condition in which case when you touch your stomach it feels hard like a stone and on other occasions it may result from a totally different reason.

Keep reading to know what other reasons can cause your stomach to feel hard and what can you do to either prevent it or relieve it.

 

How should my tummy feel normally?

What does a hard stomach signify?

Causes of swollen and hard stomach

Hard stomach due to abdominal muscle spasm

Alarm signs

Lifestyle changes that can help

 

 

How should my tummy feel normally?

Abdominal examination whether done in a clinic by a healthcare professional or at home while examining yourself, is considered to be normal if palpating the stomach or tummy feels soft on touch without any tenderness or ballooning of the stomach. The abdominal muscles in normal situations are relaxed.

 

What does a hard stomach signify?

A hard abdomen or stomach suggests distension due to gas or fluid or waste accumulation in gastrointestinal tract or it may indicate abdominal rigidity caused due to involuntary spasm of abdominal muscles to prevent pain caused by pressure on the inflamed abdominal organs. The latter is also known as abdominal rigidity.

Palpation of the abdomen will be painful if rigidity is present. Abdominal muscles can also become spastic voluntarily when facing a stressful condition, this is known as guarding.

 

Causes of swollen and hard stomach

1. Constipation

 Constipation can be defined as a situation in which your bowel movements are reduced to less than three movements in a week. There can be a number of reasons that can cause constipation ranging from diet devoid of fibers, less water intake, less physical activity, stress, age, pregnancy to diseases such as IBS or an even more serious condition such as intestinal obstruction.

Signs and symptoms of constipation include passing hard, dry and lumpy stools that may be associated with pain and even streaks of blood and bloated abdomen that feels hard due to accumulation of waste material inside the intestines.

This waste accumulation and reduced intestinal movements is favorable for intestinal flora to act on the intestinal contents, thus producing more gas which worsens the bloating.

2. Intestinal inflammation

Inflamed intestine whether in the form of inflammatory bowel disease or IBD or diverticulitis, is commonly manifested as abdominal distension or bloating and various other symptoms such as abdominal cramps, reduced appetite, constipation or diarrhea etc.

Inflammatory bowel disease includes two forms: Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. Crohn's disease can involve entire gastrointestinal tract from mouth till anus, while as ulcerative colitis more often affect large intestine and rectum.

IBD is a chronic condition and this chronic inflammation damages the intestinal wall leading to pain, rectal bleeding, weakness and weight loss.

The actual cause of this condition is unknown but it is expected to result from abnormal immune response to normal environmental triggers causing inflammation of the intestines.

Diverticulitis on the other hand is the inflammation of diverticule or an out pouching formed in the weak area of intestinal wall (also known as diverticulosis).

Diverticulosis or presence of these small out-pouching in intestinal walls is common after 40's, and do not cause any problem until inflamed or in some cases infected.

Diverticulitis manifests as constant abdominal pain that may persist for days, nausea, vomiting, fever, tender abdomen and constipation. A diverticulitis may even lead to serious complication like formation of an abscess or fistula or even peritonitis if ruptured.

3. Food intolerance

Intolerance to certain types of food where your body is unable to digest that specific kind of food, can irritate the intestinal mucosa and cause bloating such as in case of lactose intolerance, where following a milk drink your abdomen feel full, bloated and painful or celiac disease, in which your body cannot digest "gluten".

Food that you are intolerant to triggers immune response in your body and can manifest as diarrhea, abdominal cramps, increased gas production and thus, bloating.

4. Gastritis and stomach cancer

Your hard and bloated abdomen may not always be so because of an intestinal problem. An inflamed stomach can also cause abdominal bloating along with other symptoms such as pain, anorexia and nausea. Gastritis is more often caused by a bacterium known as Helicobacter pylori.

Rarely, stomach cancer can also result into a hard stomach. A cancer is suspected if associated with rapid unintended weight loss, weakness and fatigue.

5. Overeating

Sometimes the problem may not be so serious and the hardening of your stomach may be only because you ate too much of food.

Overeating can cause bloating too as your body does not get enough time to adjust with a large quantity of food at such a small period of time, resulting in indigestion, intestinal irritation, bloating and abdominal pain.

The key to solve this issue is to stop eating and walk for a while so the enzymes in your stomach can do their job!

 

Hard stomach due to abdominal muscle spasm

Abdominal rigidity due to involuntary spasm of abdominal muscles results from serious conditions that lead to peritonitis or inflammation of the membrane that covers the abdominal wall. This muscular spasm and tensing occurs to prevent pain due to pressure build up in these internal inflamed organs.

Abdominal rigidity is present in condition known as acute abdomen or severe abdominal pain that can occur as a result of a large number of problems such as appendicitis, diverticulitis, leak of intestinal contents from a perforated intestinal wall following an obstruction or laceration due to an accident, ruptured aortic aneurysm and much more.

Abdominal pain is most often present along with pain and based on the location of this pain, a rough diagnosis of the involved organ can be made. For example, abdominal rigidity associated with pain below the umbilicus may be due to problem in pelvic organs such as uterus, ovaries in women and prostate in men or urinary bladder in both.

As a matter of fact it is important to note that whenever your stomach or tummy is hard and touching it is painful, it can indicate a serious condition that will require immediate intervention by a health care professional and you should not ignore such a situation and run to a hospital to seek help.

 

Alarm signs

Although a hard tummy may not always indicate something serious but you may want to seek medical help quickly if apart from a stone like tummy you also have any of the following symptom especially if these symptoms are progressive and persistent for days:

1. Pain that is constant and persists for days.

2. Abdominal tenderness.

3. Rectal bleeding or blood in the feces.

4. Nausea, vomiting

5. Fatigue, weight loss.

 

Lifestyle changes that can help

Stomach that is as hard as a rock can result from a number of conditions as we mentioned few of them in this article.

This hardening most of the times occurs due to an acute and benign condition such as overeating, bloating after eating food that produces lot of gas such as beans, onions or garlic or due to constipation.

The good news is that these conditions are not serious and can be prevented.

How? The answer is same as in any health related issue; embracing a healthy life style! It is important to improvise our lifestyle to stay healthy so we can succeed in our endeavors without any trouble. This healthy lifestyle includes physical activity in the form of daily exercises, food rich in fibers such as fruits and green vegetables and drinking plenty of water.

Also, one should try to avoid unhealthy habits such as smoking, eating too much fast food or fatty meal and also overeating or eating too fast and too much at the same time.

Since most of the conditions causing a hard stone like stomach result from gastrointestinal problems, it may either recover on its own or may need some medical help and rarely, it may indicate a serious condition requiring serious attention.

As we understood from this article, a hard stomach may need nothing more than a 15 minute walk to relieve it from the discomfort and yet sometimes it may be a symptom of a serious underlying condition such as a perforated intestine requiring emergent surgery!

What we need to learn is that serious problems will warn us with other alarm signs, which we need to be aware of to avoid an unwanted outcome. 

Therefore, staying informed and vigilant about each and every aspect of your body can help you understand its problems so you can act accordingly when facing one.

 

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Address: 393 University Avenue,Suite 200,Toronto ON MG5 2M2,CANADA

Email: info@MarsoClinic.com

Phone: +1(647)303 0740

All Rights Reserved © By MarsoClinic

Terms of Use