Home Symptoms Feeling of fullness: causes, therapy, home remedies

Feeling of fullness: causes, therapy, home remedies

by Josephine Andrews
Published: Last Updated on 245 views

Post-meal bloating is not uncommon after eating too much, greasy, or hasty food. However, gastrointestinal diseases can also trigger a frequent or constant feeling of fullness and a swollen stomach (bloating), such as an irritable stomach, gastritis and food intolerances. Sometimes the feeling of fullness and bloated stomach are even caused by liver, pancreas or heart diseases. Read more about the feeling of fullness!

quick overview

  • What is bloating? feeling of a full stomach.
  • Causes : too much, too fatty, too sweet and/or too hasty food, pregnancy, diseases of the digestive tract (e.g. gastritis , irritable stomach , irritable bowel syndrome, stomach ulcer , stomach cancer , food intolerance, acute liver inflammation, chronic pancreatitis , gallstones), right heart failure
  • Bloating – what to do? Have frequent or constant feelings of fullness checked out by a doctor – especially if it is inexplicable (e.g. occurs even after small meals) and/or is accompanied by other symptoms (such as nausea, vomiting, weight loss).
  • Therapy : Treatment of underlying diseases that cause the feeling of fullness (medication, surgical interventions, etc.), if necessary, symptomatic therapy (e.g. with deflating or digestive agents)
  • Home remedies & tips : eg avoiding too rich, too fatty and too sweet foods, eating slowly and not talking too much at the same time, avoiding stress, relaxation methods, exercise, medicinal plant tea (eg caraway , fennel , peppermint), heat treatments, massage

Bloating: causes

Acute fullness after eating generally just indicates that you’ve overwhelmed the digestive tract. Lush and high-fat meals such as Wiener schnitzel with fries or roast pork with cream sauce mean a lot of work for the stomach and intestines , which can result in uncomfortable pressure in the upper abdomen and a feeling of fullness. Even sweet things like a large piece of Black Forest cake can overload the digestive tract.

Flatulent foods such as legumes, collard greens, cucumbers, onions and fresh bread as well as carbonated drinks also pose a challenge to our digestion : they increase the gas content in the digestive tract, with the gases being trapped in small bubbles in the digestive tract. The same happens with hasty eating and animated conversation while eating (gasp!). The large amount of gas in the digestive tract is often reflected in a temporary feeling of fullness and bloating.

Feeling full during pregnancy is also not uncommon. The growing baby in the womb pushes up against the stomach. Many mothers-to-be therefore feel full even after small meals (also: the upward shifted stomach puts pressure on the lungs , which is why pregnant women are often short of breath). In addition, the pregnancy hormone progesterone relaxes the musculature of the abdominal organs (in this way the growing space requirements of the child can be accommodated). The intestinal muscles are also affected, which slows down the further transport of the chyme – which promotes flatulence and bloating.

Bloating as a sign of illness

Possible disease-related causes of frequent or constant feelings of fullness are:

  • Irritable stomach : Signs are burning, dull or cramping pain in the upper abdomen (often unrelated to food intake), loss of appetite, early feeling of satiety and a feeling of fullness even after eating little. Bloating, nausea and vomiting are also possible. The symptoms often appear in or after stressful situations.
  • Gastritis : Common symptoms of gastritis are pain and pressure in the upper abdomen, a feeling of fullness in the upper abdomen, nausea and possible vomiting, sometimes belching and an unpleasant taste in the mouth. The symptoms appear primarily in acute gastritis. In chronic gastritis, they may be absent or only slightly expressed.
  • Stomach ulcer : It usually manifests itself as a diffuse pressure in the stomach or upper abdomen or burning or piercing pain in the upper abdomen, acid reflux and a feeling of fullness in the upper abdomen, nausea and sometimes vomiting. Typically, the symptoms increase immediately after eating.
  • Stomach cancer : Symptoms similar to those of gastritis, namely pain and pressure in the upper abdomen, acid regurgitation and a feeling of fullness, nausea, acid regurgitation and loss of appetite, are particularly evident at the beginning. A sudden aversion to certain foods (such as meat) and weight loss are also present.
  • Acute liver inflammation : Dull pain and pressure in the upper right abdomen, a feeling of fullness and loss of appetite, fever and joint pain are among the first signs of acute hepatitis. As the disease progresses, jaundice sets in .
  • Chronic inflammation of the pancreas : In chronic pancreatitis , the organ can release fewer and fewer digestive enzymes, which impairs the utilization of food. This can lead to bloating and greasy, smelly stools. Upper abdominal pain, loss of appetite, nausea and weight loss are also common.
  • Irritable bowel : The symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome are variable – constipation and/or diarrhea , flatulence, a feeling of fullness, loss of appetite and dull, oppressive or cramping abdominal pain often occur in different degrees .
  • Food intolerance : In the case of lactose intolerance and acquired fructose intolerance , abdominal pain, a feeling of fullness and flatulence often occur after eating foods containing lactose or fructose. Nausea and diarrhea are also possible. Gluten intolerance (celiac disease) can cause a feeling of fullness. The main symptoms, however, are diarrhea, abdominal pain, bloating and, in children, failure to thrive.
  • Bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine : If the normally low bacterial density in the small intestine rises sharply, this can become noticeable with a feeling of fullness, flatulence, abdominal pain and greasy and foul-smelling diarrhoea. Possible triggers for the incorrect colonization are, for example, diabetes, hypothyroidism , certain intestinal operations and complications of a surgical intervention.
  • Intestinal infection : Sometimes the feeling of fullness is due to an infection of the intestines with fungi or Giardia lamblia ( giardiasis ).
  • Antibiotic therapy: Treatment with antibiotics can imbalance the intestinal flora (all intestinal bacteria; mainly colonizes the large intestine ) so that symptoms such as a feeling of fullness can occur.
  • Gallstones : If gallstones cause any problems at all, they are often non-specific symptoms in the upper abdomen such as pain, a feeling of pressure and fullness, flatulence and belching. In more severe cases, severe cramping pains occur in the middle and upper abdomen ( biliary colic ).
  • Intestinal atonia : This is a missing or greatly reduced state of tension in the intestinal muscles due to a disturbance in the vegetative nervous system . It causes a greatly slowed down intestinal passage, which can cause pain and a feeling of fullness in the stomach as well as nausea. Intestinal atonia is triggered by, for example, mechanical intestinal obstruction , peritonitis and appendicitis , kidney stones, acute obstruction of an intestinal vessel (mesenteric infarction) and some medications such as anticholinergics (for asthma , irritable bladder, dementia).
  • Gastroparesis : This is a flaccid paralysis of gastric motility. Through them, the chyme is only passed on to the intestines more slowly, which can cause a feeling of fullness, among other things. Gastroparesis is usually the result of diabetes-related nerve damage (diabetic neuropathy).
  • Right heart failure : This form of heart failure can manifest itself with symptoms in the digestive area, among other things. These include loss of appetite, feeling of fullness and nausea, bloating and constipation.

Feeling of fullness and air in the stomach: psychological causes and influences

The psyche has a great influence on our digestive system . This can be seen, for example, in gastrointestinal diseases without an organic cause such as irritable bowel syndrome and irritable stomach. But even in otherwise healthy people, stress and anxiety, for example, can promote digestive problems such as a feeling of fullness, flatulence, abdominal pain or diarrhea – for example by increasing the release of gastric acid, slowing down digestive activity through severe tension and cramps or boosting intestinal motility.

Bloating: therapy

If possible, the feeling of fullness should be treated causally (causal therapy). Alternatively or in addition, the doctor can treat the feeling of fullness and flatulence symptomatically. For example, medicines with simeticon against flatulence or butylscopolamine against painful “tucked” wind (air in the intestine cannot escape) are used. However, such preparations are not always effective or sometimes cause symptoms themselves (such as flatulence) if used more frequently.

Here are some examples of treatment strategies depending on the cause of bloating:

>> Irritable stomach : What helps here are often drugs to inhibit gastric acid secretion (proton pump inhibitors) and to promote gastrointestinal motility (prokinetics). Herbal preparations (phytotherapeutics) as well as caraway and peppermint oil can also relieve bloating and other symptoms. If the gastric germ Helicobacter pylori is detected, a so-called eradication therapy with antibiotics can be useful.

If the irritable stomach is accompanied by an underlying mental illness such as an anxiety disorder or depression, the doctor can prescribe suitable medication (e.g. antidepressants).

>> Irritable bowel : The treatment of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is always individually tailored to the needs of the patient. First and foremost, one tries to get the irritable bowel symptoms under control through lifestyle (such as proper nutrition, exercise, stress reduction). If necessary, the doctor treating you can also prescribe medication, for example against diarrhea (eg loperamide) or against flatulence (eg simethicone). Probiotics – living “good” intestinal bacteria (such as lactic acid bacteria) taken through the mouth and which support a healthy intestinal flora – are also suitable against a feeling of fullness and especially flatulence and bloating .

Antidepressants sometimes help with irritable bowel syndrome to relieve abdominal pain, flatulence and diarrhea – as well as any accompanying sleep disorders, anxiety and depression. Some patients also benefit from psychotherapy , cognitive behavioral therapy , or hypnotherapy ( hypnosis ). You can read more about treating IBS here .

>> Gastritis : If a feeling of fullness and other digestive problems are the result of an acute inflammation of the gastric mucosa, in milder cases it is sufficient to abstain from eating for a short time or to eat a bland diet and use home remedies such as a chamomile roll cure (see below). In more severe cases, the doctor prescribes drugs such as proton pump inhibitors (which stop the secretion of stomach acid). Read more about it here .

>> Peptic Ulcer : Proton pump inhibitors and other acid-lowering medications are also advisable if you have a peptic ulcer. In addition, as with an irritable stomach, special antibiotic therapy is indicated if colonization with the gastric germ Helicobacter pylori is present. Only rarely does a gastric ulcer need to be surgically removed. Read more about it here .

>> Gluten intolerance : If the diagnosis of celiac disease is confirmed, those affected must permanently eat gluten-free. Symptoms such as flatulence, abdominal pain, diarrhea and a feeling of fullness then usually disappear. Read more about treating celiac disease here .

>> Lactose intolerance : If milk sugar (lactose) causes you symptoms such as flatulence, a feeling of fullness and stomach ache, you should remove milk and milk products from your diet or only consume them in the amounts you can tolerate (test them out!). The same applies to the many other foods to which lactose can be added. If you do want a piece of cheesecake or pizza, you can use lactase tablets to prevent a feeling of fullness, bloating and other symptoms. You can find out more about this here .

>> Fructose intolerance : People with acquired fructose intolerance should also only consume (test) critical foods (containing fructose) in the individually tolerable amount. This individual tolerance of fructose can be increased by combining it with glucose , protein or fat . You can find out more about this here .

In the case of the rare congenital fructose intolerance, fructose is completely taboo.

>> Chronic pancreatitis : Absolute abstinence from alcohol and an adapted diet (as recommended by the doctor or nutritionist) form the basis of the treatment. In addition, there is an adapted pain therapy, for example with painkillers from the group of opioids. In addition, you can stimulate digestion with drugs that contain pancreatic enzymes – this helps against feelings of fullness and fatty stools. You can read more about these and other therapeutic measures (e.g. surgery) for chronic pancreatitis here .

>> Acute liver inflammation : Patients with acute hepatitis must also avoid alcohol. Liver-damaging medications are also avoided in consultation with the treating doctor in order to relieve the organ. In addition, the treatment of acute hepatitis depends on the cause, course and severity of the inflammation. You can find out more about this here .

>> Bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine : If an excess of bacteria in the small intestine triggers symptoms such as a feeling of fullness, flatulence, abdominal pain and fatty stools, a 10- to 14-day course of antibiotic therapy will help most patients. To avoid recurrence, the doctor may recommend a diet high in fat, low in carbohydrates, and low in fiber. If necessary, he will also prescribe vitamin or mineral supplements to compensate for corresponding deficiencies. Such can develop when the small intestine overgrowth has existed for months or years.

What else helps against bloating and a feeling of fullness?

Diet and behavior tips

What can you do if you feel full and/or if you have frequent or constant gas in your stomach? If there is no serious cause, the following nutritional and behavioral tips can often alleviate or prevent the symptoms:

  • Avoid rich, fatty and sweet foods. Especially in the evening it should only be a small portion and light food.
  • Also avoid foods that cause gas (eg, lentils, beans, collard greens, onions, fresh bread) and carbonated drinks if you are prone to bloating and bloating.
  • Use digestive and anti-bloating spices such as cumin, fennel, coriander, basil, lovage, oregano or parsley in your meals.
  • Raw food is difficult for some people to digest. Blanching or steaming vegetables makes them easier to use and thus prevents flatulence and a feeling of fullness.
  • Don’t wolf down your food, chew each bite well and don’t talk too much at the same time. Otherwise too much air ends up in the stomach and intestines, which then becomes unpleasantly noticeable as a feeling of fullness and bloating.
  • Don’t use a straw for your drinks and don’t chew gum either. This also prevents too much air from getting into the stomach and intestines.
  • Exercise is usually good for a feeling of fullness and a bloated stomach. It makes sense to take a digestive walk, i.e. a walk immediately after eating. The movement stimulates the gastrointestinal tract, which can prevent bloating and the accumulation of too much air in the stomach or abdomen.
  • Avoid tight clothing around the abdomen if you are prone to gas and bloating. Stomach and intestines don’t like to be constricted – especially not during their digestive work. And if you already have a feeling of fullness and bloating, you can feel even more uncomfortable if your clothes are tight on your stomach.
  • A feeling of fullness, pressure in the upper abdomen, flatulence and other digestive or stomach problems are often caused by stress. Targeted relaxation techniques such as autogenic training , yoga or progressive muscle relaxation often help .

medicinal plants

Many people use home remedies for flatulence and a feeling of fullness, mainly based on medicinal plants. Examples:

  • Caraway, fennel and peppermint have an antispasmodic and flatulent effect. As a tea (for instructions, see the individual medicinal plant texts) they are a good remedy if you are plagued by a feeling of fullness or slight gastrointestinal cramps or if your upper or lower abdomen is bloated. In the pharmacy there are also ready-made preparations based on these medicinal plants (e.g. caraway tincture or peppermint oil capsules).
  • Ginger is also suitable for mild digestive problems such as flatulence, a feeling of fullness and nausea. It stimulates the release of gastric juice and bile as well as intestinal function. You can find out how to prepare a tea from fresh ginger in the text on medicinal plants. An alternative are ginger capsules from the pharmacy.
  • With its anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic ingredients, chamomile is another proven medicinal plant for gastrointestinal complaints such as flatulence, a feeling of fullness and cramps. The instructions for preparing the tea can be found in the medicinal plant text.
  • Artichokes are recommended for digestive problems such as bloating, flatulence and nausea caused by poor liver activity. The medicinal plant text informs you about internal use (e.g. as tea or fresh plant juice).
  • Boldo can relieve digestive problems such as mild cramps, flatulence and a feeling of fullness, especially mild liver and gallbladder problems. It is used as a tea (see text on medicinal plants) or in the form of ready-made preparations.
  • Turmeric (turmeric) can also be effective in combating digestive problems such as bloating and bloating. The use as a tea is not very common. Ready-made preparations with turmeric such as capsules or dragees are more effective. You can read more about this in the medicinal plant text.
  • Dandelion is recommended by herbal medicine for digestive problems (such as a feeling of fullness, flatulence) – especially in connection with bile flow disorders. It is often used as a tea, sometimes in the form of ready-made preparations (see medicinal plant text).

Heat & Massage

In many cases, heat is also a beneficial remedy against a feeling of fullness and pressure in the abdomen or when the abdomen is bloated. The easiest way is to put a hot -water bottle on your stomach or between hot-water bottles or in the microwave warm a spelled pillow or a small bag of cherry pits .

If you have a feeling of fullness, bloated stomach and slight stomach cramps, you can also make a warm envelope or wrap for your stomach (moist or dry). This has a relaxing, antispasmodic and pain-relieving effect. You can read more about the effect and use of this home remedy in the article Wraps (envelopes) and pads .

The effect of a belly wrap or a belly pad can be increased through the power of medicinal plants. For example, a damp, warm chamomile pad is recommended . You can find out how to make this compress and use it correctly here .

A massage is usually very pleasant and relaxing . You can also use essential oils (diluted) for this. Here’s an example: Take four to five tablespoons of a fatty base oil (e.g. olive oil, almond oil) and mix in three to four drops of caraway oil. Gently massage the abdomen in a clockwise direction. This can relieve symptoms such as bloating and gas.

Bloating: When to see the doctor?

A feeling of fullness after a heavy, high-fat or high-sugar meal or during pregnancy is generally not a cause for concern. However, if you are plagued by frequent or constant feelings of fullness and possibly a thick, bloated stomach, there may be an illness behind it – especially if the symptoms appear after small meals. The same applies if the feeling of fullness is accompanied by other symptoms, such as stomach pain or nausea and vomiting. Then you should see a doctor. The first point of contact is the general practitioner.

Bloating: Investigations & Diagnosis

The doctor will first draw up your medical history (anamnesis) in a detailed discussion . To do this, he or she will find out more about your symptoms and your lifestyle and eating habits. He may also ask if you have any pre-existing medical conditions, are taking medication and/or are under a lot of stress or psychological distress.

physical exam will provide the doctor with more information about your health. Among other things, he can feel and listen to your abdomen for abnormalities. This can be followed by further examinations – depending on where the doctor suspects the reason for your feeling of fullness (and any other symptoms). For example, ultrasound examination of the abdomen, gastroscopy ( gastroscopy ) and blood tests can be considered .

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