Abdominal fullness prematurely after meals

Alternative names
Early satiety

Satiety is the satisfied feeling of being full after eating. Early satiety is feeling full sooner than normal or after eating less than usual.

Early satiety can occur from numerous causes.

Common Causes

  • Delayed stomach emptying  
  • Gastric outlet obstruction  
  • Decreased stomach distensibility  
  • Irritable bowel syndrome  
  • Dyspepsia

Home Care
Follow your health care provider’s recommendations. A liquid diet may be helpful. A detailed diet log (recording what was eaten, how much, and when) may be needed. Small, frequent meals may be more tolerable than large, less frequent meals. A diet high in fat may worsen the feeling.

Call your health care provider if

  • The feeling lasts for days to weeks and does not get better.  
  • There are associated symptoms such as nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain, or bloating.  
  • There is fever, chills, or weight loss or gain.

What to expect at your health care provider’s office
The medical history will be obtained and a physical examination performed.

Medical history questions documenting this symptom in detail may include:

  • Time pattern       o When did this symptom begin?       o How long does each episode last?  
  • Associated symptoms       o Is there vomiting?       o Is there abdominal distention?       o Is there excessive gas (flatus)?       o Is there a lack of appetite?       o Is there abdominal pain?       o Has the patient gained or lost weight?       o Is there fever or chills?

The physical examination will include emphasis on the digestive tract.

Diagnostic tests that may be performed include:

  • Blood studies for anemia, such as a CBC and blood differential  
  • Endoscopy (EGD)  
  • Stool tests for bleeding  
  • X-rays studies of the stomach, esophagus, and small intestine (abdominal x-ray and an upper GI and small bowel series)  
  • Stomach-emptying studies

After seeing your health care provider:
You may want to add a diagnosis related to early satiety to your personal medical record.

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 4, 2012
by Janet G. Derge, M.D.

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All ArmMed Media material is provided for information only and is neither advice nor a substitute for proper medical care. Consult a qualified healthcare professional who understands your particular history for individual concerns.