What Are Abdominal Bloating and Back Pain?

Abdominal bloating occurs when the abdomen fills with air or gas. This may cause the area to appear larger and feel hard to the touch or tight. The condition can cause discomfort and pain.

Back pain can vary in severity and type, from sharp and stabbing to dull and aching. Back pain is common. The back acts as a support and stabilizing system for your body, making it vulnerable to injury and strain.

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What Causes Abdominal Bloating and Back Pain?

Back pain and bloating can occur together in a number of conditions. Sometimes foods you eat that cause bloating can lead to gas pain that seems to radiate to your back.

Other causes of abdominal bloating and back pain include:

  • celiac disease
  • endometriosis
  • fibromyalgia
  • kidney stones
  • menstruation
  • ovarian cyst
  • pregnancy
  • tumors, such as an ovarian tumor
  • urinary tract infection (UTI)

When to Seek Medical Help

Abdominal bloating and back pain typically resolve with time. However, if infection or chronic illness, such as endometriosis or celiac disease, is to blame, you may need medical attention.

Seek immediate medical attention if you are pregnant and your abdominal bloating and back pain become severe. You also should seek immediate attention if you have the following symptoms along with bloating and back pain:

  • blood in your stool
  • chest pain
  • confusion
  • loss of consciousness
  • uncontrolled vomiting

Make an appointment with your doctor if you experience any of the following symptoms for more than 24 hours:

  • acid reflux
  • blood in your urine
  • headache
  • heartburn
  • itchy, blistery rash
  • painful urination
  • unexplained fatigue

(This information is a summary. Seek medical attention if you suspect you need urgent care.)

How Are Abdominal Bloating and Back Pain Treated?

Treatments for abdominal bloating and back pain depend upon the symptoms’ causes. A physician may prescribe antibiotics for infections. If kidney stones are the cause, a physician can recommend procedures to break up the stones if they are overly large.

Home Care

Drinking plenty of water or other clear fluids can reduce abdominal bloating. Taking over-the-counter gas-reducing medications, such as simethicone drops, digestive enzymes, and activated charcoal, may relieve abdominal bloating.

Over-the-counter pain relievers may provide relief from back pain. Examples include ibuprofen and acetaminophen. Applying a cloth-covered ice pack for 10 minutes at a time can help to relieve back pain and discomfort. Resting your back and refraining from heavy lifting can also minimize painful symptoms.

How Can I Prevent Abdominal Bloating and Back Pain?

Avoiding foods known to cause abdominal bloating can help reduce most symptoms. This also includes high-fat or greasy foods. Other lifestyle changes that can prevent the symptoms include:

  • drinking plenty of water, which helps to reduce constipation
  • eating a diet that contains high-fiber foods that promote digestion, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
  • eating several small meals each day instead of fewer, larger ones
  • exercising regularly 

While you cannot always prevent back pain, employing proper lifting techniques and avoiding long periods of being seated can help you find some relief.