Bloating After Meals

What Causes Bloating After Meals?

Bloating after meals can have various causes, ranging in severity from 'troubling' to 'generally fatal'.  Finding the true cause means ruling out or confirming each possibility – in other words, diagnosis.

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Diagnosis is usually a complex process due to the sheer number of possible causes and related symptoms.  In order to diagnose bloating after meals, we could:

  • Research the topic
  • Find a doctor with the time
  • Use a diagnostic computer system.
The process is the same, whichever method is used.

Step 1: List all Possible Causes

We begin by identifying the disease conditions which have "bloating after meals" as a symptom.  Here are eight of many possibilities (more below):
  • Candida / Yeast
  • Overconsumption
  • Lactose Intolerance
  • Gluten Sensitivity
  • Crohn's Disease
  • Stomach Cancer
  • Immune System Imbalance
  • Delayed Gastric Emptying

Step 2: Build a Symptom Checklist

We then identify all possible symptoms and risk factors of each possible cause, and check the ones that apply:
difficulty gaining weight
mild abdominal discomfort
significant amounts of occult blood
regular postprandial somnolence
confirmed delayed gastric emptying
dairy product consumption
occasional rotten egg burps
frequent postprandial somnolence
severe left iliac pain after meals
very strong appetite
severe meal-induced pain
severe flatulence
... and more than 100 others

Step 3: Rule Out or Confirm each Possible Cause

A differential diagnosis of your symptoms and risk factors finds the likely cause of bloating after meals:
Cause Probability Status
Crohn's Disease 91% Confirm
Gluten Sensitivity 22% Unlikely
Immune System Imbalance 12% Unlikely
Lactose Intolerance 1% Ruled out
Overconsumption 0% Ruled out
Delayed Gastric Emptying 0% Ruled out
Stomach Cancer 0% Ruled out
Candida / Yeast 0% Ruled out
* This is a simple example to illustrate the process

Arriving at a Correct Diagnosis

The Analyst™ is our online diagnosis tool that learns all about you through a straightforward process of multi-level questioning, providing diagnosis at the end.

If you indicate occasional problems caused by eating, regular problems caused by eating or frequent problems caused by eating, The Analyst™ will ask further questions including this one:
Does your belly feel full and tight ("bloated") after eating a normal-sized meal?
Possible responses:
→ No / rarely / only if I eat too much / don't know
→ Bloating is (also) present before meals
→ Occasionally - several times a year
→ Regularly - at least once a month
→ Frequently - after most or all meals
Based on your response to this question, which may indicate absence of meal-related bloating, meal-related bloating or frequent meal-related bloating, The Analyst™ will consider possibilities such as:
Lactose Intolerance

"An estimated 50 million Americans experience intestinal discomfort after consuming dairy products.  Symptoms include bloating, stomach pain, cramps, gas, or diarrhea." [Postgraduate Medicine 1994;95(1)]

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