What Causes Stomach Fullness When Not Eating Anything?

There are numerous instances in which you may experience feelings of fullness without eating. Some conditions and illnesses can cause this occurrence, generally ailments associated with one's liver and/or stomach. If you find that you are feeling full without eating, then you should speak with your doctor to ascertain the exact cause of this phenomenon and get the proper treatment. 

10 Possible Reasons of Feeling Full Without Eating

As mentioned, numerous things can cause you to experience feelings of fullness without eating a single bite of food. Here are a list of 10 possible cause.

1. Peptic Ulcers

One cause of feelings of fullness without eating is peptic ulcers. A peptic ulcer is a lesion within one's stomach that can also cause discomfort, pain, belching, bloating, and regurgitation. These ulcers arise when the stomach acid in one's digestive system causes damage to the stomach lining. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen and aspirin, when taken for more than a few days, can cause an increased risk of developing a peptic ulcer. This occurrence can be prevented by avoiding certain toxins, such as cigarette smoke and excessive amounts of alcohol.

2. Gastroparesis

Gastroparesis, also known as delayed gastric emptying, is a condition which affects one's vagus nerve. This nerve is responsible for contracting the stomach to push food into the lower intestine, an important process within the digestive system. If the nerve sustains damage, it is unable to function correctly, meaning that it takes much longer to digest food. This can leave you feeling full without eating, as your body is still digesting the food you ate at last time. Causes of this include infections, vagus nerve surgery, certain metabolic disorders, and/or smooth muscle disorders.

3. Indigestion

Indigestion is often caused by the acid in one's stomach, which irritates one's stomach lining, duodenum, or esophagus, often leading to a burning sensation. Other symptoms include feelings of fullness, bloating, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, belching/gas, etc. Eating plenty of fiber is believed to help avoid the occurrence of indigestion. In some instances, indigestion may be caused by an underlying health condition. Visit your doctor if your indigestion does not dissipate on its own.

4. Liver Disease

Disease of the liver is very troubling due to the incredible amount of importance one's liver has to the overall health. Liver disease is often caused drinking excessive amounts of alcohol (alcoholism), or abusing narcotics. Liver disease can cause numerous nasty symptoms, including cholestasis, wherein the bile that is produced in the liver to aid digestion experiences a stopped or reduced flow, which can lead to symptoms like feeling full without eating, dark urine, pale stool, enlarged gallbladder (where bile is stored), easy bleeding, etc.

5. Flatulence

Flatulence is often characterized by four symptoms: bloating which can lead to feelings of fullness without eating, abdominal pain, increased flatus production and smell, and flatus incontinence (uncontrollable gas). Normal flatulence, or passing wind, is nothing to worry about, being just the passing of the gas that results from the break down of foods within the digestive system.

6. Hormonal Fluctuations

This is very common for women who are in the early stages of pregnancy, or those at the premenstrual stage of their monthly cycle. During these times, one's progesterone levels become elevated, which can cause a slowing of mobility within the gut, causing an increased time in which it takes to digest food that you have consumed, which may cause bloating, constipation, and feelings of fullness, among other things.

7. Ovarian Cancer

This type of cancer can be hard to detect due to the vague nature of its symptoms. These symptoms include difficulty eating, bloating (which can cause feeling full without eating), and/or frequent abdominal pain. If you have one or more of these symptoms that remain persistent, then pay a visit to a health care professional.

8. Constipation

Constipation is often classified as having three or less bowel movements within a week. When one does eventually pass stool, it can often be dry and hard. This occurrence is very common and usually nothing to worry about, although prolonged bouts can cause much discomfort. Constipation can often be avoided by ensuring to eat plenty of healthy fiber, such as whole-meal bread, wholegrain rice, whole-wheat pasta, vegetables, fruits, oats, and seeds, drink plenty of water, and exercise regularly.

9. Coeliac Disease

This condition affects one's small intestine, in which hypersensitivity to gluten within the small intestine leads to a difficulty digesting food with the substance, and the possibility of an adverse reaction, causing bloating, stomach pain, flatulence, diarrhea, weight loss, and fatigue. Coeliac disease is classified as an autoimmune condition. In this instance, a substance within gluten causes the immune system to mistakenly identify it as a threat, causing damage to the digestive system and leading to a decreased proficiency at absorbing nutrients.

10. Irritable Bowel Syndrome

A certain answer as to what exactly causes irritable bowel syndrome has not yet be ascertained. The condition affects one's colon, causing symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation, bloating, gas, and/or cramping.

Although the symptoms seam quite sever, in most instances, no permanent damage is caused and the condition can often be managed with simple lifestyle changes.

What Can Be Done About Feeling Full Without Eating?

To try and avoid the occurrence of this feeling, and the underlying condition that may be causing it, there are certain steps you can take.

  • Ensuring to eat a healthy and balanced diet will help in many cases, ensuring to chew your food properly before swallowing, and eating slowly, avoiding swallowing air when swallowing food (aerophagia), and eating a series of small meals throughout the day, as opposed to eating large meals.
  • Things to avoid include alcohol, cigarettes, spicy foods, excessive amounts of teas or coffee, carbonated beverages (especially when eating), and lying flat or sleeping immediately after a meal.

If your symptoms do not dissipate even after trying the lifestyle changes noted above, then you should pay a visit to your doctor to identify what is causing your problem. Proper diagnosis can then help to determine proper treatment of the underlying health condition. Diagnosis methods may include an upper gastrointestinal endoscopy, or a barium meal x-ray.

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