Food Stagnation: Abdominal Distention

Food stagnation is a common cause of abdominal distention, both acute and chronic. It occurs when there is an excess of food or indigestible food that the stomach and spleen are unable to process and distribute properly. This can lead to a blockage of the descent of stomach qi, resulting in distention and constipation. Food stagnation can be caused by simple overeating in healthy individuals, or it can occur in people with spleen deficiency, even when they eat normal or small amounts of food, due to the spleen's reduced capacity to process what is ingested. Chronic food stagnation can be further complicated by the presence of spleen deficiency, damp-heat, phlegm, or phlegm-heat.

Signs and symptoms

  • Upper abdominal and epigastric distention and/or discomfort that is relieved by belching and passing gas, but worsens with eating or eating certain poorly tolerated foods
  • Distention and discomfort that worsens with pressure
  • Constipation, irregular or difficult stools, or sporadic diarrhea
  • Foul belching, halitosis, and copious foul flatulence
  • Acid reflux and heartburn that is worse when lying down
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Tongue with a thick, greasy, white or yellow coat
  • Pulse that is wiry and slippery, or slippery and rapid

Healing approach

Improve digestion and balance the functioning of the Stomach