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.
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:
|Bacterial Dysbiosis||1%||Ruled out|
|Ovarian Cancer||1%||Ruled out|
|Food Allergies||1%||Ruled out|
|Delayed Gastric Emptying||1%||Ruled out|
|Stomach Cancer||0%||Ruled out|
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
Bloating can occur at any time for IBS sufferers but especially after or during a meal as the digestive system will be under an increased workload. Bloating is extremely common in IBS sufferers, with one study of 337 IBS patients finding that 83% experienced bloating. Therefore, the absence of meal-related bloating would tend to rule out IBS, although not completely.
"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)]
Gastrointestinal symptoms, such as gas, indigestion, nausea, or changes in bowel movements, are sometimes early warning signs.