A stomach that feels full often or for no apparent reason could signal an underlying condition, such as gastroparesis. A doctor can diagnose the underlying cause and recommend the most suitable treatment.
Certain conditions affecting digestion and hormones can cause the sensation of a full stomach, which may also lead to bloating in some cases.
This article looks at some possible causes for a full stomach, treatments, home remedies, and when to speak with a doctor.
A full stomach could occur due to the following factors.
If eating habits or certain foods cause stomach fullness, the following tips may help to improve symptoms:
- eat smaller portions
- eat slowly and mindfully
- stop eating when satisfied
- exercise regularly
- avoid consuming excessive salt
Indigestion describes a group of symptoms that include:
- certain foods, including:
- certain drinks, including:
- nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- overweight or obesity
Reducing triggers can help prevent indigestion, along with over-the-counter (OTC) antacids. However, frequent indigestion can indicate an underlying condition that requires treatment.
- difficult or painful bowel movements
- fewer than three bowl movements a week
- hard, dry, or lumpy stools
- a feeling of incomplete bowel movements
For some people, doctors may prescribe medication or recommend physical therapy for pelvic floor dysfunction.
Below are some chronic causes of a bloated stomach.
Irritable bowel syndrome
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can cause symptoms such as bloating and discomfort. People with IBS may also experience:
- painful abdominal cramps
- diarrhea, constipation, or both
- a feeling of incomplete bowel movements
- mucus in stools
- changes in bowel movements
- digestive tract infections
- small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, which occurs when gut flora overgrows in the small intestine
- food intolerances and sensitivities
- psychosocial stress
IBS treatments may include dietary and lifestyle changes. Doctors may also prescribe medication to help someone manage their symptoms, probiotics, and mental health therapies.
Stomach ulcers can also occur due to long-term use of NSAIDs or Zollinger-Ellison syndrome, a
Stomach ulcer treatments vary depending on the cause of the ulcer. Doctors will diagnose and treat the underlying cause. They
Gastroesophageal reflux disease
- avoiding GERD trigger foods, such as spicy food or caffeine
- eating at least 3 hours before bedtime
- maintaining a moderate weight
- quitting smoking
Doctors may also recommend surgical therapies or prescribe medications, such as antacids, H2 blockers, prokinetics, or PPIs.
Gastroparesis is a condition that causes a delay in gastric emptying. This means the stomach contents do not empty into the small intestine as they usually would, making the stomach feel full. Symptoms include:
- feeling full quickly
- feeling full for a long time after eating
- nausea or vomiting
- upper abdominal pain
- loss of appetite
Treatments for this condition may
- regular exercise
- dietary modifications
- eating smaller meals more frequently
- avoiding carbonated and alcoholic drinks
- medications, such as metoclopramide (Maxolon)
- tube feeding
Other potential causes of a full, tight stomach include:
- premenstrual syndrome, which
- gastritis, or inflammation of the stomach lining
- pancreatitis, which causes pain or tenderness in the upper abdomen
There are a wide range of causes for bloating and a full stomach. People should speak with a doctor for a diagnosis and the most appropriate treatment.
Home remedies will not treat all health conditions. Some, including stomach ulcers or gastroparesis, require medical treatment. People with ongoing conditions, such as IBS, may also need help from a dietitian to manage their condition.
People should speak with a doctor for a diagnosis. A doctor will be able to recommend appropriate home remedies that may help with the cause of their bloating.
People with persistent feelings of fullness or bloating in the stomach can speak with a doctor for a diagnosis. If there is no apparent cause, a doctor can suggest home remedies to ease symptoms.
The NHS suggests people should consult a doctor immediately if they have the following symptoms:
- sudden or severe stomach pain
- pain when touching stomach
- black or bloody stools
- vomiting blood
- vomit that looks like coffee grounds
- difficulty breathing
- difficulty passing gas, stools, or urine
- chest pain
If a person’s stomach feels full, they may find relief by changing their eating habits and adjusting their diet. When the bloating is due to indigestion or constipation, OTC products may relieve symptoms.
However, if an individual frequently feels uncomfortably full, and there is no apparent cause, such as eating a large meal, they may have an underlying health condition. A doctor will be able to diagnose the root cause and suggest treatments.