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):
  • Heartburn
  • Immune System Imbalance
  • Low Digestive Enzymes
  • Multiple Chemical Sensitivity
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Diverticular Disease
  • Food Allergies
  • 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:
occasional acid reflux during sleep
very frequent stools
hyperactivity
anal itching
frequent painful urge to defecate
diverticular disease
major fatigue for 3-12 months
chronic nausea
current inner ear infection
bags under eyes
regular unexplained nausea
nausea for 1-3 months
... and more than 110 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
Low Digestive Enzymes 98% Confirm
Food Allergies 24% Unlikely
Immune System Imbalance 17% Unlikely
Irritable Bowel Syndrome 3% Ruled out
Diverticular Disease 3% Ruled out
Heartburn 0% Ruled out
Multiple Chemical Sensitivity 0% Ruled out
Delayed Gastric Emptying 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)]

Ovarian Cancer

Gastrointestinal symptoms, such as gas, indigestion, nausea, or changes in bowel movements, are sometimes early warning signs.

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