Tightness in abdomen: 20 Causes, Symptoms, Home remedies

Tightness in abdomen can make you very uncomfortable and disturb your work. So, let’s learn what causes it, and how to get rid of it.

Tightness in abdomen is a term that is not specific for pain but related more to abdominal cramps or abdominal tightness especially the tightness felt in the lower abdomen area.

Tightness in abdomen is about feeling firm and a slight tight sensation intra-abdominally. This tightness feeling might originate either from walls or organs inside the abdomen. Usually, this feeling is not localized, and the exact cause cannot be identified from this tightness.

The abdomen is the most massive cavity in the body. It is divided into four parts, each part contains specific organs, and some organs might be present in mutliple parts of the abdomen.

Location of Tightness in abdomen:

tightness in abdomen
Tightness in abdomen
Image source: livestrong.com

Tightness in abdomen can be localised to a specific part of the abdomen, can be only in one organ or multiple organs. This is because many organs are localised in 2 or more parts of the belly or abdomen.

The front wall of the abdomen is formed by muscles that protect organs of the abdomen. Majority of organs in the abdomen are of the digestive system.

  • Upper right quadrant contains Gallbladder, the right kidney, pancreas, small intestine, and colon
  • Upper left quadrant contains pancreas, small intestine, colon, spleen, stomach and the left kidney.
  • Lower right quadrant has right ovary, small intestine, colon, right ureter, and fallopian tube.
  • Lower left quadrant contains left ovary, small intestine, colon, left ureter, and fallopian tube.

Symptoms associated with Tightness in abdomen:

This tightness in abdomen is not a disease but a symptom of a disease. Other symptoms may be present along with it which will help to identify the cause of discomfort. They are:

  • The sensation of bloating and fullness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Acidic reflux and heartburn sensation
  • Nausea
  • Flatulence
  • Diarrhoea
  • Constipation
  • Localized pain
  • Increased heart rate
  • Belching
  • Tenderness
  • Eructation
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Causes of Tightness in abdomen:

Abdominal tightness can occur due to many reasons:

Cramps:

Usually, cramps happen after a lot of activity and physical effort. This will lead to tightening of the muscles of the abdomen and over-stretching causing the feeling of tightness in abdomen.

Abdominal injury:

You might have an injury in your abdomen even if mild and unnoticed; it will cause injury to the abdominal muscles, creating a tight feeling around the abdomen.

The tight sensation can originate from an injured muscle or the wall of abdomen causing bruising and cramps, this will depend on site of injury and if an organ is involved or not?

Food poisoning:

It can cause diarrhoea and vomiting causing the feeling of tightness in abdomen.

Digestion complications:

Bloating and abdominal gases from abnormal digestion or indigestion could easily lead to a tightness in abdomen.

Gastritis:

Gastritis is an inner stomach wall lining inflammation. It might be due to eating spicy food, soda drinks, alcoholic drinks and even over-eating. This tightness is felt in the upper middle area of the abdomen along with stomach tenderness and loss of appetite.

Stomach ulcers:

Ulcers usually are from anti-inflammatory drugs that cause damage to the inner lining of the abdomen. People having stomach ulcers experience pain on movement, tightness in the upper abdomen and severe cases, bleeding and vomiting blood.

Ascites:

Ascites causes abdominal muscle distention and tightness. It is the accumulation of fluid in the abdominal cavity. Ascites develops when there are liver cirrhosis and tumours in the abdomen. Tightness in abdomen seen when a person has Ascites is usually generalised.

Abdominal tumour:

Tumours attack healthy tissues and cause destruction of tissues. This destruction causes pain, tightness in abdomen, and nerve compression.

Pregnancy:

When the time passes, and your baby starts to increase in size and grow, your internal abdominal organs will be compressed, and the abdominal muscles will be stretched which is the primary cause of abdominal stretch marks and the feeling of tightness in abdomen.

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This feeling is normal, but for preventing stretch marks from occurring, regular application of oil over abdomen is essential.

Pelvic dysfunction is a complication of natural labour that some women experience. If it happens severe lower abdominal tightness is felt along with severe pain and difficulty during urination.

Prostate enlargement:

Any inflammation of the prostate gland or in the worst case cancer in the prostate gland of men leads to tightness in abdomen and sometimes pain, burning sensation upon urination.

Urinary tract infection:

Any infection in Urinary tract involving the bladder or the urethra and kidneys will cause tenderness, pain on urination, tingling burning sensation, and tightness in lower abdomen.

Diarrhoea or constipation:

Diarrhoea will cause stomach cramps. Constipation will accumulate the faeces in the lower intestine, leading to blaoating and tightness in abdomen.

Cystitis:

It is inflammation of the urinary bladder. It is a symptom often associated with urinary tract infection. It causes pelvic pain or tightness in abdomen.

Bowel movement:

Any problem with bowel movement can cause abdominal pain, discomfort, and tightness in the abdominal cavity. Bloating is also felt in some people and this is due to abdominal distention.

Gynaecological problems:

Few problems of women causing the abdominal tightness are uterine and ovarian polyps, Pelvic inflammatory pain, and uterine fibroids.

Colon inflammation:

Colon inflamamtion or colitis can occur due to obstruction of the food, followed by bacterial infections. It can lead to constipation or intestinal obstruction if it’s very severe.

Hernia:

In a hernia an abdominal organ protrudes out of the abdominal cavity into the chest or the outside of the body. The level of pain depends on the severity of a hernia. Usually, there is a discomfort feeling from the stomach, and tightness in the upper left part of the abdomen.

Menstrual cycle:

Menstruation is a natural process that happens every month in women till the age of menopause. It is not a disease, but in most of the cases it has many symptoms accompanying it. They are tenderness, pain, mood changes, abdominal tightness due to stretching of abdominal muscles due to hormonal changes.

Obstruction in the gastrointestinal tract:

Obstruction in the intestines can happen in the small intestine or the large intestine. It can lead to abdominal tightness as there will stomach cramps or abdominal cramps in the intestinal obstruction.

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Peritonitis:

Peritonitis is due to inflammation in the lining of the abdomen (abdominal cavity). This lining is called the peritoneum. This condition is characterised by severe pain and tightness in the stomach which is the primary symptom of this disease.

Home Remedies to Relieve Tightness in abdomen:

The tightness in abdomen is a terrible annoying feeling that someone might experience. Here are some tips to relieve this uncomfortable tightness in the stomach.

  • Go for nutritious and healthy fibre rich food. Fruits and vegetables along with a nutritious, balanced diet will decrease abdominal gases and acid refluxes (heartburn).
  • You should drink ample amount of water every day over the course of the day. Well hydrated body gets rids of any wastes and toxins. This reduces the chance of constipation and relieves the tightness in lower abdomen.
  • Avoid eating spicy food that will increase acidity in the abdominal cavity and cause gastritis.
  • Brown toast, rice, and apples are preventive and cure diarrhoea and they are beneficial in relieving hyperactive stomach.
  • Always remain active and fit. Exercising every day is very important for proper circulation and blood supply to gastrointestinal tract to avoid digestion problems.
  • Injury to abdominal muscles can heal fast if you do daily exercises to strengthen the muscles.
  • Hot packs help in soothing of stretched and strained abdominal muscles; it rapidly relieves cramps and distention.
  • Massaging the abdomen will help in decreasing tightness in abdomen.
  • Regular checkups and screening at the doctor office are essential to exclude any diseases that need treatment before treating the symptoms. Early diagnosis will prevent any complications of the underlying causes of tightness in abdomen.
Reference articles:
  1. Doctorhealthpress
  2. http://www.tandurust.com/alternativetherapies/feeling-of-tightness-in-abdomen.html
  3. Tohyama T, Matsui K, Kitagawa K. Primary hepatic carcinoid tumour with carcinoid syndrome and carcinoid disease: A case report of a patient on long-term follow-up. Intern Med 2005; 44: 958-62.

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