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What Would Cause Blood Vessels in the Stomach to Bulge?

Updated April 17, 2017

Bulging abdominal blood vessels are typically caused by a disease or underlying illness. Complications with internal organs like the liver, bile ducts or pancreas may cause blood vessels to bulge. Complications with the immune system, such as those caused by hepatitis, may also cause cells of the body to attack blood vessels, resulting in chronic inflammation.

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The bulging or inflammation of blood vessels is known as vasculitis. Bulging occurs when the body attacks the blood vessels for one reason or another. Reasons may include infection, allergic reactions, cancers or certain immune system deficiencies. For example, cancers like leukaemia and lymphoma have been known to cause blood vessels to swell. Infections like hepatitis C and B can also result in bulging blood vessels. Rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and Sjogren's disease are all immune system deficiencies that may cause blood vessels to bulge. All these causes are classified as secondary vasculitis because swollen blood vessels are the result of another existing condition. Oftentimes, blood vessels bulge without any discernable cause. This is known as primary vasculitis.

Bulging blood vessels in the stomach can be caused by a condition known as cirrhosis. Cirrhosis occurs when there is damage to the liver, sometimes caused by parasites or copper poisoning. Chronic liver damage causes scar tissue to form, which is often accompanied by the accumulation of bodily fluids in the abdomen and the inflammation of blood vessels.

Acute pancreatitis can also cause swelling of the stomach's blood vessels. Acute pancreatitis is characterised by inflammation of the pancreas, often caused by the presence of gallstones. Acute pancreatitis is normally a short-lived complication, lasting only a few days until effective treatment is administered. A victim of acute pancreatitis may experience nausea, pain, vomiting, fever and an increase heart rate alongside bulging abdominal blood vessels.


If you notice blood vessels in your stomach begin to bulge, speak with your doctor or a medical professional. Your doctor may prescribe corticosteroids, such as prednisone or methylprednisolone (Medrol), to treat any inflammation present. If inflammation does not abate with corticosteroids, your doctor may prescribe certain cytotoxic drugs. Cytotoxic drugs are used to combat cells of your immune system that may be attacking your blood vessels. Cytotoxic drugs typically used to fight inflamed blood vessels include Imuran and Cytoxan.

If bulging blood vessels are accompanied or caused by another underlying condition, such as cirrhosis or acute pancreatitis, a doctor may prescribe additional treatment. Diuretics may be given to help drain excess fluids in the abdomen. Hospitalisation and intravenous antibiotics may also be required to reduce infection. Do not hesitate to call medical services immediately if you experience adverse symptoms, such as abdominal pain or fever, alongside bulging blood vessels.

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About the Author

Casey Kanen is a musician who enjoys writing in his spare time. He is a graduate of George Fox University who enjoys writing about modern-day Christianity, pop culture and the media. He has written and performed for multiple churches, summer camps, youth groups and the parent council at George Fox University. He lives in Newberg, Oregon.

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