Symptoms of Bloating and Distention with Crohn’s Disease and IBD

Symptoms of Bloating and Distention with Crohn’s Disease and IBD
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Symptoms of Bloating with Crohn's Disease and IBD - Mary Horsley

Symptoms of Bloating with Crohn's Disease and IBD

Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis warriors suffer from a number of different symptoms apart from and during flare-ups. I have written about more than a few. With my Crohn’s disease, I suffer from bloating and stomach pain along with many other issues.

In recent posts to my social media accounts, I shared details and images of my nightly stomach boating, which prompted me to do further research about the connections between Crohn’s disease, stomach pain, and stomach bloating.

According to, “Bloating was the most prevalent symptom, at 86%” when 2,018 Crohn’s disease patients were surveyed for insight on their treatments, symptoms, and overall quality of life.

Swelling and bloating can sometimes be associated with pain in the stomach and abdominal area, and it could be affected by diet or happen after eating. Although diet is not always a contributing factor to Crohn’s symptoms, noting how your body reacts to things can be beneficial for avoiding any further discomfort.

Sometimes, there will be gas, flatulence, or bowel movements. If there is a change in bowel habits or a complete halt in them, I recommend visiting your doctors to rule out bowel obstructions to avoid damage to the intestines.

How to help:

  • Keep a detailed food journal to keep track of which foods hurt more or less, cause irritation, etc. I also keep records of all of my symptoms, bowel habits, etc.
  • Keep spare, loose-fitting clothing for your belly-bloated moments.
  • Keep your doctors up to date on your symptoms.
  • Eat smaller meals. Food may not affect your Crohn’s disease symptoms, but eating frequent snacks or smaller meals versus the three big meals a day can help eliminate some symptoms of swelling and bloating.
Symptoms of Bloating with Crohn's Disease and IBD - Mary Horsley
One of the social media posts I mentioned earlier. (Photo by Mary Horsley)

My social media post the other night:

“Last night, I ate dinner, chicken, and a baked potato, nothing overly seasoned and I definitely skipped the salad. I rarely finish my dinner and keep it down. So, I went through the daily dreaded routine of getting nauseated and vomiting. For me, this has been my ‘normal’ for over two years now.

“Then, comes the painful bloat and distended stomach because my bowels are fighting against themselves. Inflammation with my small bowel. Crohn’s causes me to look as if I’m a few months pregnant and almost all food has a problem with digestion in me. My Crohn’s causes swelling and my stomach makes sounds that you’ve never heard from a stomach that makes you think cats and dogs are fighting inside me. That is the first image, my bloat, my belly, my painful evening of holding my stomach and rushing to my bathroom – aka my 2nd office.

“The second image is from this morning, just hours later, after a restless sleep and my everyday morning bathroom urgency that I go through, which always includes mucus and blood, cold sweats and chills, lightheadedness and painful muscle spasms in my bowel and rectum. Sometimes I make it to my office in time, sometimes I don’t. It’s a whole ordeal that I wish upon no one. The bloat starts to subside and I begin to look ‘normal’ again. That is, until I eat again.”

For me, It Could Be Worse.


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