Why does my stomach feel tight? Causes and prevention

women feel pain in stomach
Medically reviewed by Dr. Ola Tarabzuni

Key Takeaways

  1. Stomach tightening or bloating is usually not a serious medical condition; it usually goes on its own after 1- 2 days with a slight discomfort.
  2. You are probably experiencing a tight stomach because of a lack of physical activity, less fluid intake in your diet, serious underlying medical conditions, or your body’s intolerance to certain foods that you have consumed. Mindful eating and easily digestible food will help you prevent stomach bloating.
  3. Increased fiber and fluid intake in your diet and the herbal teas often will also boost your metabolism. In case of severe and persistent stomach pain, seek medical attention from your healthcare provider for the correct diagnosis and treatment.

Overview

Stomach bloating or tightening is not a medical problem that requires immediate medical attention as it goes on its own after a slight discomfort and gaseous feeling. It’s only serious if it stays persistent and leads to abdominal cramps for longer periods of time, affecting your day-to-day normal activities. You might observe abdominal bloating due to changes in your diet, intolerance to certain food items, lack of daily fluid intake, or genetic variance. It can be treated and prevented by increasing physical activity in your daily life, Incorporating fiber in your diet, and avoiding foods to which your body shows intolerance.

Why does my stomach feel tight? Is it bloating?

A bloated stomach can be felt tight, exerting pressure on the walls of the abdomen from the inside. Some people experience a tight abdomen right after they finish their meal, while some experience a bloated stomach under extreme stress. It also can be genetic, where you start to feel a tight abdomen after crossing a specific age group.

Getting to know all the possible reasons for a bloated stomach can help you step out of curiosity and prevent it properly, if possible. Read till the end of the blog to know all the reasons.

As per the study conducted by the National Institute of Health for Pathophysiology of Bloated Stomach, it is stated that “Abdominal bloating is a frequently reported symptom experienced by individuals of various ages, both men and women. It is a prevalent issue in nearly all individuals diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome and those suffering from various other functional and organic disorders.

What causes a tight feeling in the stomach?

There could be a lot of reasons for your stomach to get bloated or you feel pressure from the inside walls of your stomach. Here are some of the common causes of tight feelings in the stomach. 

Gas

Gas is one of the most common reasons for a tight feeling in the stomach. It usually occurs because of Inhaling gas in the form of soft drinks or sparkling (Carbonated) water. Gas in the stomach is usually produced due to the normal metabolism of carbohydrates in the stomach, but gas production while digestion is not the amount of food that can cause a bloated stomach or any pushing force in the abdomen.

Constipation

Constipation most commonly occurs due to the lack of liquid intake. It can also be caused due to the consumption of diet, which requires more acid in the stomach to break down the food for Metabolism. More acid production can also lead to more gas production, leaving the stomach bloated with the feeling of fullness. 

Indigestion

Indigestion is also a very common cause of bloating in the stomach. Indigestion can be due to a number of reasons, including an abdominal infection, a change in diet, eating rotten food, or food poisoning.

Food Intolerance

Food intolerance can sometimes cause severe bloating, leading to pain and tightness in the stomach. This condition arises due to a lack of specific enzymes or a sensitivity to particular components in the ingested food, causing digestive distress and bloating.

Chronic reasons that can cause bloating

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

IBS (Irritable bowel syndrome) is a set of abdominal conditions that present themselves with the symptoms of abdominal pain, discomfort, bloating, extreme cramping, and sometimes discharge. All the conditions under the IBS change the bowel habits of a person. 

One of its major symptoms is bloating and abdominal discomfort. It can be managed by simple dietary modifications as directed by the healthcare provider or pharmacist.

Get the online consultation for the IBS or any related symptoms from our virtual healthcare provider right away.

Stomach ulcers

Stomach ulcers can only cause abdominal discomfort along with bloating and persistent pain. They will either increase the bloating in the stomach or cause appetite loss; both can result in pain and discomfort in the stomach for longer periods. 

Mostly, antibiotics are prescribed for stomach ulcers. 

Hormones changes

Changes in hormones can greatly affect the overall metabolism and regulation of the body’s function. It also impacts the appetite and mood of a person. Especially during the menstrual cycle, the level of hormones fluctuates, which can directly cause bloating along with cramps.

Are you experiencing bloating in your periods? Talk to a virtual healthcare provider now for consultation.

Other causes of stomach bloating

Ascites

Ascites are the accumulation of excess fluid in the abdominal cavity, often caused by liver disease, heart failure, or cancer, and can lead to abdominal bloating.

Cancer

Some types of cancer, especially those affecting the digestive organs, can cause bloating as they interfere with normal digestion and can create gas in the stomach.

Inflammation of the stomach

Gastritis, or stomach inflammation, can disrupt the stomach’s ability to digest food properly, leading to bloating and discomfort.

Pancreatic insufficiency

When the pancreas doesn’t produce enough digestive enzymes, it can result in poor digestion, gas production, and abdominal bloating.

Seeking medical attention can help get the correct consultation and prescription for bloating or abdominal discomfort.

How long does a tight stomach last?

A tight stomach will last till the underlying issue gets resolved. If it’s due to intolerance, it will go away after the food is digested in 1-2 days. Dietary modification will be required to solve the intolerance issue, or if you are unaware, you will need a medical consultation for the solution. 

If the underlying reason for a tight and bloated stomach is your menstrual cycle, It will go away on its own after the first two days of your periods. If it persists along with the pain, it’s good to seek medical attention for the diagnosis. 

Usually, for temporary reasons, a tight and bloated stomach will go after you pass the gas, taking a maximum of two days. For reasons like cancer and serious medical disorders, it will persistently stay on and off, with discomforting pain where you will need a medical consultation for the diagnosis as well as treatment.

What relieves bloating? How can we prevent it?

Bloating usually goes away on its own and doesn’t persist for longer periods of time. However, it can be relieved and prevented in ways.

Dietary changes

Avoiding diet or food that upsets your GIT or stomach should be avoided to prevent bloating. Knowing the meals that upset your stomach is also a must and should be catered with the help of your healthcare provider. Adding fiber to your diet will help to relieve bloating greatly.
Slow and mindful eating can also play a major role in relieving bloating and tight stomachs. And plenty of people take prebiotic supplements to manage their gut health. This can help rebalance the natural bacteria in your digestive tract, making up for any deficiencies or associated issues that can cause bloating and lead to other complications.

Staying hydrated

Drinking a lot of fluids, including water and fresh juices, will keep you away from a lot of the GIT-related problems, e.g., Abdominal pain, bloating, and excess gas production. 

Fluid consumption throughout the day will also boost your energy levels, which will positively influence your overall activity, ultimately reducing the bloating and tightening of your stomach.

Herbal Teas

Herbal teas, such as Coriander, honey, or lemon in your green or black tea, will increase your metabolism rate, eventually decreasing stomach bloating, tightening, or gas formation in the abdominal region.

Medication

Some over-the-counter pain relief medication for the pain in the stomach, including Tylenol, can help you get the relief. 

For Serious underlying conditions, your healthcare provider will prescribe you antibiotics or antivirals along with the food you need to stay away from those medications to avoid bloating.

Get the healthcare you need for your stomach pain and bloating at the ease of your home now.

When to see a doctor

Getting yourself checked is usually the stop approach people use after getting persistent bloating because most of the bloating goes away without any medication or consultation. It’s good to get a medical consultation and prescription in case of persistent gas, stomach bloating, or tight stomach because the reason behind it can be a serious medical condition as well.

FAQs about stomach pain

Why is my stomach hard when I press on it?

There could be several reasons. Either you are about to start your menstrual period or on one. You might have eaten something your body is not tolerating, consumed less fluids, or eaten too much. It will go away on its own in a maximum of 2 days; if it doesn’t, it’s a good time to seek medical attention immediately.

Why does it feel like something is moving in my stomach and I’m not pregnant?

No, Feeling something moving in the stomach is usually not associated with early pregnancy, as pregnancy mostly starts with either nausea or lack of energy levels in the body. The reason could be your diet that leads to gas production or gastric motility, which can be felt in the stomach.

Your Doctors Online uses high-quality and trustworthy sources to ensure content accuracy and reliability. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions and medical associations to provide up-to-date and evidence-based information to the users.

  • Dodd, Harold. “Acute Dilatation of the Stomach.” British Medical Journal 1.4082 (1939): 695.
  • Hagen, Susan J., et al. “Loss of tight junction protein claudin 18 promotes progressive neoplasia development in mouse stomach.” Gastroenterology 155.6 (2018): 1852-1867.
  • Settle, Stephen H., et al. “Chronic treatment of Menetrier’s disease with Erbitux: clinical efficacy and insight into pathophysiology.” Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology 3.7 (2005): 654-659.

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