Inflated belly? How to tell if you have swelling, fat or fluid retention

The pants are tighter and the mirror tells us that we are more "fat" than before. But an inflated belly is not always synonymous with an increase in body fat. It can also be swelling or fluid retention.

Here we tell you how to identify what is happening to you and what you can do in each case.

(You may also be interested: The three most effective exercises to reduce abdominal swelling)

Fluid retention

The main symptom of fluid retention is the sensation of swelling that manifests in the arms, legs or abdomen. While this can change the numbers on the scale, the weight gain is temporary. That is, you will lose it later.

A simple test is to press a bit with your finger where you feel bloated. If the skin keeps the mark for a few moments, then you may have fluid retention.

This occurs when the interstitial fluid (the one in our body outside the cells) is not regulated in a balanced way and then accumulates in the tissues.

It can be caused by problems in the functioning of the liver, the kidneys, the lymphatic system, among others. It can also be caused by a sedentary lifestyle or diets with excess sodium, sugars or alcohol.

Eating a proper diet, drinking water and doing physical activity will help eliminate fluid retention when its causes are mild.


Excess fat occurs, in general terms, because more calories (energy) are consumed than it is burned.

If this is the origin, and not another health problem, what is recommended is to increase the caloric expenditure, or reduce the amount we consume.

What to do? Take a balanced diet, reduced in sugars and unhealthy fats, increase the amount of fiber and water, avoid processed foods and exercise regularly.

(You may also be interested: Find out where your body fat is located to eliminate it)


The causes of swelling in the belly can be many, such as: gas retention, constipation, food intolerance, among others.

If any of these is the cause of abdominal inflammation, the key is in the diet: avoid foods that generate more gases, such as cabbages, or increase fiber intake in cases of constipation, or go to the doctor to know which It could be food intolerance.

In all cases, and whenever you doubt, consult a trusted professional who will tell you with certainty what is happening to your body

Important: It should be clarified that Bioguía does not give medical advice or prescribe the use of techniques as a form of treatment for physical or mental problems without the advice of a doctor, either directly or indirectly. In the case of applying for this purpose some information of this site, Bioguía does not assume the responsibility of those acts. The intention of the site is only to offer information of a general nature to help in the search of development and personal growth.