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Stomach bloating: A major sign your bloating could be ovarian cancer – what to look for

Stomach bloating: Dr. Oz advises on how to 'beat the bloat'

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Stomach bloating is typically the result of a build-up of gas in the gastrointestinal tract. The GI tract is a series of hollow organs joined in a long, twisting tube from the mouth to the anus. This channel breaks down food as it is transported through the body, helping the body to absorb nutrients and flush out excess matter. All of this is perfectly normal however sometimes bloating could be an indicator of ovarian cancer. How can you know your bloating may be something more serious?

Bloating which is related to ovarian cancer may cause visible swelling in the abdomen.

The belly might feel full, puffy, or hard and a person may also have other symptoms, like weight loss.

If it is ovarian cancer, the bloating experienced is likely caused by ascites.

Ascites is when fluid builds up in your abdomen, said Healthline.

The site added: “Ascites often form when cancer cells spread to the peritoneum.

“The peritoneum is the lining of your abdomen.”

Signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer may include:

  • Abdominal bloating or swelling
  • Quickly feeling full when eating
  • Weight loss
  • Discomfort in the pelvis area
  • Changes in bowel habits, such as constipation
  • A frequent need to urinate

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What is ovarian cancer?

Ovarian cancer is a disease in which, depending on the type and stage of the disease, malignant (cancerous) cells are found inside, near, or on the outer layer of the ovaries, said the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition.

The health site continued: “An ovary is one of two small, almond-shaped organs located on each side of the uterus that store eggs, or germ cells, and produce female hormones oestrogen and progesterone.

“Normally, cells in your body divide and form new cells to replace worn out or dying cells, and to repair injuries.

“Because cancer cells continue to grow and divide, they are different from normal cells. Instead of dying, they outlive normal cells and continue to create new abnormal cells, forming a tumour.

“Tumours can put pressure on other organs near the ovaries.”

Am I at risk of ovarian cancer?

Those with the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation are more at risk of developing ovarian cancer.

Those who have a strong family history of cancer may be able to be referred to a local genetics service by their doctor.

The NHS said the predictive genetic testing only identifies if you have a higher risk of cancer – not if you will get it.

Most ovarian cancer cases develop in women over the age of 50, so increasing age is a risk factor for developing the disease.

How to treat bloating

According to experts, getting the recommended amount of sleep could do wonders for bloating.

Dietician, Tamara Freeman said: “Many people find that overnight sleep provides a bit of a ‘reset’ when it comes to food-related bloating.

“Having eight or more hours with nothing going into the GI tract allows for the intra-bowel contents to be whittled down a bit and for bloating to subside.”

It’s also advised that once in bed, help relieve any tension and get the digestive system working by doing a few stretches.
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