Upper or Lower Stomach Bloating: The Differences

Updated: Jun 18, 2020


Sometimes when you feel bloated, you can feel a distinction between the upper and lower part of your stomach. This can actually be helpful in determining what cause might be behind your stomach bloating. Read more about the differences between upper and lower stomach bloating.

Upper or Lower Stomach Bloating: The Differences

Upper Stomach Bloating

If you're experiencing upper abdominal bloating, there are a number of potential causes behind the symptoms. These causes include:


It is incredibly common to experience gas in the digestive system. When the gas is causing a full and bloated feeling in the upper abdomen, it is most likely because of swallowed air. Air can be swallowed in a number of ways - chewing gum, eating or drinking too quickly, drinking through a straw, and smoking, among a number of other things can cause air to be swallowed.

Gastroesophageal reflux (GERD)

Better known as acid reflux, this is a condition caused by excess stomach acid that can move up into the esophagus and cause heartburn among other symptoms. It is common for GERD to be associated with a feeling of fullness in the upper abdomen.

Crohn's disease

An autoimmune digestive disease, Crohn's disease is not fully understood, but causes many different digestive symptoms. One of them is bloating, and this bloating is especially likely to be experienced in the upper abdomen. Crohn's disease may also cause constipation or diarrhea, gas, and other symptoms like fever and exhaustion.

Lower Stomach Bloating

Bloating in the lower abdomen likewise has several different possible reasons. Lower stomach bloating may be caused by:


While gas may cause upper abdomen bloating when swallowed, if the gas is in the intestines, it is likely to cause bloating in the lower abdomen. Most often, this happens when you eat something that is complex to digest and releases gas throughout the digestive process. Dairy is an especially common culprit.


When your body begins to have trouble passing food all the way through the digestive system, you are likely to become constipated. This causes bloating and swelling in the lower part of the abdomen because you cannot pass stool, and it accumulates in your intestines.

Bacterial overgrowth

Bacteria are essential for our digestive systems to work properly, but when they begin to reproduce too quickly, they can cause problems. When too many bacteria begin to grow in the small intestine, it can causes bloating, diarrhea, and even weight loss.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

This disease is one of the most common digestive diseases in the US. It causes irritation of the large intestine, which results in a number of symptoms. Along with bloating, patients may experience diarrhea, constipation, cramps, and abdominal pain.

The difference between upper abdominal bloating and lower abdominal bloating may help you figure out what is causing your symptoms. To learn about relieving symptoms, learn about how to reduce bloating.

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