Signs
 

Abdominal Distension

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Overview

  • Abdominal distension is commonly seen in obese patients, however intra-abdominal pathology - fluid, faeces, flatus, or a large mass - may produce enlargement of the abdomen. Pregnancy is also a cause that should not be missed!
    • Look For

    • Enlargement of the abdomen, noting whether the enlargement is generalised or localised.
    • Causes of Abdominal Distension

    • Fat - central obesity
    • Faeces - lifestyle, age, obstruction, drugs, endocrine / neurological
    • Flatus - irritable bowel syndrome, mechanical or paralytic gut obstruction
    • Fluid - ascites, blood, pus, urine, bile, chyle, enteric contents
    • Foetus - pregnancy
    • Mass - cancer, abscess, abdominal wall fibrosis
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