Causes of a Distended Stomach

A distended stomach is a common digestive issue that can cause discomfort and embarrassment. This condition is characterized by a feeling of fullness, tightness, or bloating in the abdomen, and various factors can cause it. Some of the most common causes of a distended stomach include overeating, consuming gas-producing foods, digestive disorders, and other medical conditions. While this condition is often harmless, it can be a sign of an underlying health problem in some cases. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the causes of a distended stomach and provide tips on how to overcome it.

Various Causes

Here are various causes of a distended stomach that you should be aware of:

1. Sex Hormones

The bodies of people of all genders have different primary fat storage sites. The female hormone estrogen helps spread fat around the hips, buttocks, and thighs.

Meanwhile, the male hormone testosterone can cause fat accumulation in different parts of the body than in women. This fat deposition surrounds the organs in the abdomen or visceral fat. It is this fat that makes men more prone to having a distended stomach.

2. Aging

Men over the age of 40 are more likely than women to have a distended stomach. The reason is, reduced testosterone in men causes excess fat in the body to be stored more easily and accumulate as visceral fat.

As we get older, the body’s metabolism will decrease, thereby reducing the ability of the body’s organ cells to store fat. As a result, excess fat intake will be directly stored in the abdomen, which causes a distended stomach.

3. Stress

Stress is also a cause of a distended stomach. These factors can cause weight gain, causing the accumulation of fat in the stomach. When people experience stress, levels of the hormone cortisol increase. This hormone increases appetite, especially the consumption of sweet, high-calorie, and high-fat foods.

Because of your high appetite, you continue to increase your calorie intake from fatty foods. Excess calories will cause an accumulation of fat in the stomach.

In addition, according to a study in the journal Obesity, the hormone cortisol, aka the stress hormone, can increase the amount of fat in the body and increase the size of fat cells. This is why high levels of the hormone cortisol in the body are closely related to increased belly fat.

4. Lazy Exercise

Laziness for exercise is the main problem that causes a distended stomach. If you rarely move and exercise, the fat from the food you eat will not be burned because the fat is stored in only one part, namely the stomach.

Visceral fat is very easy to burn during physical activity. Aerobic exercise is proven to help burn belly fat effectively. So, you can start aerobic exercise with moderate intensity, such as brisk walking, aerobics, Zumba, and jogging.

In addition, muscle strength training is important for building muscle mass that is slacking off due to the effects of aging. Muscle mass helps maintain metabolism, thereby preventing belly fat.

5. Lack of Sleep

Getting enough sleep is one of the most important things that can affect health. Many studies have found that sleep deprivation can increase the risk of weight gain. This certainly affects the accumulation of visceral fat.

If you sleep less than six hours every night, you are more at risk of having a distended stomach due to fat accumulation. In addition, lack of sleep triggers the hormone ghrelin and lowers the hormone leptin. This causes you to become extremely hungry and crave food all the time.

6. Consumption of Alcohol

A distended stomach can appear as a result of alcohol consumption. The reason is, alcohol can increase the amount of fat in the stomach. Launching the journal Current Obesity Reports, there are several reasons why this is happening.

First, alcohol turns out to increase the calories of the food you consume before or after you drink it. Second, alcohol has been shown to reduce the hormone glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) and the hormone leptin. The low levels of these two hormones make the body easily hungry.

In addition, alcohol consumption will increase glucose intake so that it will accumulate fat in the stomach.

7. Menopause

A distended stomach can also be caused by menopause. Some women experience an increase in belly fat when they are in the menopause phase, exactly one year after their last menstrual period.

At that time, estrogen levels drop dramatically, causing fat to accumulate in the stomach, not on the hips and thighs. One study found women who went through early menopause tended to gain additional belly fat.

8. Bad Posture

Another factor that causes a distended stomach is bad standing and sitting habits. The reason is, this can affect your posture.

Bad posture can make the body look fat and the belly bloated. The bad posture is seen in the body that is bent and the pelvis that protrudes forward. This makes the lower back and buttocks arch.

In effect, the stomach also protrudes, creating the illusion of a distended stomach.

How to Shrink

Because various things cause a distended stomach, such as lifestyle and genetics, It turns out that a diet with adequate nutrition is not enough to prevent a distended stomach. You need to balance it by diligently exercising to burn fat in the stomach.

1. Diligent Exercise

Regular exercise is a way to shrink a distended stomach, as you may often hear. In general, visceral fat will accumulate in people who never exercise, causing the stomach to swell until it sags.

Try to exercise every day for 30 minutes. You can try moderate-intensity sports, such as gymnastics, jogging, swimming, cycling, and walking. If you do it regularly, then learning how to get rid of this distended stomach can increase your heart rate, burn body fat, and help maintain your weight.

2. Increase Fiber and Protein Intake

Apart from doing regular exercise, you can start increasing your consumption of foods that contain protein and fiber to get rid of your distended belly. In the digestive system, fiber is processed and takes a long time to help you feel fuller for longer.

As a result, you can reduce your calorie intake. In addition, fiber can maintain the function of the digestive system, which can reduce stomach discomfort and flatulence.

A study in the journal Nutrition and Metabolism (2012) revealed that protein can help the body repair muscle tissue and make the body feel full for a long time. This study also found that people who consume proteins such as meat, eggs, and milk have very low levels of belly fat.

3. Reduce Consumption of Refined Carbohydrates

You must not only increase your fiber and protein intake, but you must also reduce your consumption of processed foods high in carbohydrates, such as sugar. You certainly know that carbohydrates are a source of energy for the body, but not all types are good for you to consume.

For example, consuming too much sugar can increase blood fat levels and even lead to diabetes. Instead of refined carbohydrates, you can consume complex carbohydrates that are healthy for the body, such as nuts and seeds.

Then, no less important is to shrink the stomach by reducing carbohydrates; this must also be accompanied by a sufficient daily AKG (Nutrition Adequacy Rate).

4. Do Resistance Training

Resistance training, commonly known as “resistance training,” is a way to shrink the stomach and is very popular among people. This exercise is believed to be right for those of you who want to reduce calories, but still want to have muscle mass.

In addition, increasing muscle mass can also help the body burn a lot of calories, even when you are resting. You can do resistance exercises like lunges, squats, and lifting weights.

5. Meet Fluid Intake

If you wake up and your stomach looks bigger, it could be that you consumed too much food at night. However, you don’t need to worry because there are ways to keep your stomach from distending, namely by fulfilling your daily fluid intake.

Consuming liquids is not just drinking plain water. You can get the source of fluids your body needs through foods that contain water, such as smoothies, fruit juices, and soups.

Consuming smoothies and fruits at breakfast can not only get rid of a distended stomach but also help smooth the digestive system so you don’t get constipated.

6. Enough Hours of Sleep

Besides having benefits for health, keeping the need for sleep constant is also a way to shrink the stomach. A study from the journal Metabolism says that sleep deprivation can affect appetite-regulating hormones.

This is what makes you feel hungry easily, especially at night when your body should be resting. In addition, the researchers also noted that increasing the quality and duration of sleep can help you lose weight.

This also applies when you want to get rid of visceral fat in your stomach, so you have to manage your daily activities and reduce staying up late.

7. Increase the Need for Healthy Fat Intake

Fat has two different types, namely unsaturated fat and saturated fat. Unsaturated fats are commonly known as healthy fats because these fats are very good for the body. Prioritizing healthy fats in your daily diet is a way to shrink your stomach, which is very easy to do.

sources of healthy fats that are great for dealing with a bloated belly, such as peanut butter free of added sugar, sesame oil, nuts, avocados, and olive oil.

8. Chew Food Slowly

Did you know that eating too fast can result in excessive calorie intake for the body? The reason for this is that chewing food too quickly can prevent your brain from sending signals to your body that you are full.

In addition, chewing food slowly can help prevent bloating in the stomach. If you don’t chew food properly, your body will also have trouble digesting it, and you are at risk of experiencing constipation. For that, try to chew food slowly so that later your stomach doesn’t get distended.


1. Risk of Diabetes

According to research published in 2017 in the Journal of the American Medical Association, a distended stomach is linked to type 2 diabetes. One reason is that visceral fat can trigger the production of cytokines, which are a type of immune system that makes cells less sensitive to disease. the effect of insulin on blood sugar regulation

2. High Blood Pressure

Cytokines produced by visceral fat affect more than insulin levels. But it also affects the ability of body cells to regulate blood pressure. Among the many studies linking belly fat and blood pressure, this has been proven through research published in the journal Heart in 2017.

In the study, the researchers collected data from 10,000 adults in China for six years. The results of his research found that a 5 percent increase in abdominal circumference can increase the risk of high blood pressure by 34 percent for men, and 28 percent for women.

3. Heart Attack

This risk factor is still related to high blood pressure, which then has an impact on heart attacks. According to Harvard Health Publishing, belly fat can pump fatty acids, which signal the liver to produce more fat and bad cholesterol.

In addition to this research, a sizable study that was published in the American Heart Association Journal in 2018 discovered that persons who are of higher weight, particularly those with belly burdens, are more likely to experience a heart attack than those who are not. The likelihood of having additional heart attacks increases if the belly circumference is not corrected right away.

According to 2020 research in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, those who have an enlarged stomach are more likely to experience repeated heart attacks even if they have been receiving therapy to lower other risk factors like high blood pressure and blood sugar.

4. Asthma

Even in persons who are generally healthy, there is a connection between a large belly and an increased chance of developing asthma, according to several studies. High levels of inflammation, according to the European Respiratory Journal, can increase the chance of developing asthma. The explanation is that having too much belly fat can make it challenging for the lungs to receive the necessary amount of oxygen.

5. Risk of Cancer

Stomach fat has been linked to an increased risk of certain cancers. A study from the European Journal of Cancer in 2016 stated that women with large waist and hip circumferences are more likely to get breast cancer than women with small waists. In other journals, such as PLOS One, too much fat in the stomach can also double the risk of colorectal cancer.

Causes of a Distended Stomach but a Thin Body

Here are some of the causes.

1. Lazy to Move

Too much sitting can cause a distended stomach. Citing various sources, a study shows that the more inactive a person is, the more visceral fat is built up in the midsection.

Being inactive is also associated with having more belly fat. Moving more, such as by walking in the sun, also increases blood flow, which can help mobilize fat in more stubborn areas, such as the intestines, to be used as energy.

2. Often Consume Processed Foods

One of the habits that leads to a thin body but a distended stomach is the consumption of processed foods. Eating processed foods means you don’t get enough vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and fiber for your body to work properly.

Overconsumption of processed foods causes belly fat to develop automatically. Additionally, if it is not sufficiently balanced with motion.

3. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

Quoting Insider, people with PCOS can have higher than normal testosterone levels. A distended stomach and weight gain are potential effects of this illness.

4. Lack of Sleep

Five hours or fewer of sleep each night has been associated with an increase in abdominal fat. Lack of sleep slows metabolism to conserve energy and makes the body more likely to retain fat.

Not only lack of sleep but also excessive sleep (more than eight hours per day) can lead to weight gain. This can be the case because spending more time in bed implies having less time to be active.

Everyone’s sleep needs are different. Adults are however encouraged to have 7-8 hours of sleep every night.


Causes of a distended stomach can be a variety of factors, including overeating, consuming gas-producing foods, digestive disorders, and other medical conditions. However, there are several steps you can take to overcome a distended stomach, such as eating smaller meals, avoiding gas-producing foods, staying hydrated, and getting regular exercise. In some cases, it may be necessary to seek medical attention to address the underlying cause of a distended stomach. By taking a proactive approach to your digestive health, you can reduce your risk of experiencing uncomfortable symptoms and improve your overall quality of life.

Causes of a Distended Stomach and How to Overcome It