Early Satiety



What is early satiety?

Early satiety is the inability to eat a full meal or feeling full after only a small amount of food. You may also feel nauseous and want to vomit while eating a meal. In the case of early satiety, you may feel full after eating only a little of the recommended serving. Early satiety may seem like a minor problem, especially if you don’t have other symptoms. But ongoing early satiety can be unhealthy and lead to nutrient deficiency, starvation, and poor wound healing. It can also be a sign of serious medical conditions such as cancer, ulcers, and diabetes. Some of these conditions can lead to internal bleeding and a low blood count if left untreated.

How common is early satiety?

Early satiety is quite common. It’s more common in women than men. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.

Which signs and symptoms can early satiety usually be associated with?

Related signs and symptoms include:

  • An inability to consume a normal-sized meal
  • A feeling of being full after eating very little food
  • Nausea and vomiting that occurs when attempting to eat a normal-sized meal


What causes early satiety?

In general, anything that impairs the emptying of your stomach can make you feel full quicker. This includes scarring or compression of your small intestine. Sometimes readjusting your posture to aid bowel movements can help with feelings of early satiety.


Gastroparesis is the most common cause of early satiety. People with gastroparesis have early satiety because food stays in their stomachs longer than it should. Most of the time, the cause of gastroparesis is unknown. But according to the National Institutes of Health, diabetes is the most common known cause of gastroparesis. It can cause damage to the nerve that regulates stomach movement.

Other causes include:

  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Anorexia or bulimia
  • Intestinal surgeries

If you have gastroparesis, you may have other symptoms that accompany early satiety, such as:

  • Bloating
  • Nausea
  • Heartburn
  • Stomach pain
  • Loss of appetite

It’s also common for people who with gastroparesis to have feelings of anxiety and depression. This is because gastroparesis can interfere with their normal daily routine and cause discomfort.


Early satiety is also a common side effect of cancer treatments and cancer itself. According to Nutrition and the Cancer Patient, early satiety is one of the top 10 symptoms for cancer, although it’s not included in most symptom assessments. Early satiety in people with cancer tends to accompany weight loss, anorexia, and taste changes. To a lesser extent, people who have early satiety and cancer may also experience vary degrees of tiredness, weakness, and dry mouth.

Irritable bowel syndrome

Another known cause of early satiety is irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). IBS is a disorder that affects your large intestines, or colon, and causes abdominal pain. You may also feel:

  • Stomach cramping
  • Bloating
  • Gas
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation

The symptoms for IBS can change from time to time. The difference between IBS and mild bowel discomfort is that IBS is ongoing or reoccurring.

Other known causes

Make an appointment with the doctor if you feel like you have early satiety and show symptoms of:

  • Nausea
  • Gas
  • Vomiting
  • Indigestion
  • Black, tarry stools
  • Stomach pain
  • Chest pain
  • Burping
  • Dry cough
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Sore throat
  • Bloating
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Abdominal distention, or swelled stomach
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Ankle swelling

A combination of these symptoms along with early satiety may mean you have:

  • A stomach ulcer, which is a sore that develops on the lining of the stomach
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (gerd), where stomach acid flows back into the esophagus
  • Gastric outlet obstruction, where food can’t enter the small intestine
  • Constipation, or difficulty emptying bowels or hard stools
  • Ascites, which are an accumulation of fluid in the abdomen
  • An enlarged liver

The conditions mentioned above are some common causes of early satiety. Consult with your doctor for an accurate diagnosis.

Risk factors

What increases my risk for early satiety?

Please consult with your doctor for further information.

When to see your doctor

When should I see my doctor?

You should contact your doctor if:

  • The feeling lasts for days to weeks and does not get better
  • You lose weight without trying
  • You have dark stools
  • You have nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain, or bloating
  • You have fever and chills

On noticing one of these symptoms or having any questions, please consult with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor to get the best solutions for your situation.

Lifestyle changes & home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage early satiety?

These following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with early satiety:

  • Eating more, smaller meals per day
  • Reducing fat and fiber intake, as they slow digestion
  • Consuming food in the form of liquid or puree
  • Taking appetite stimulants

To prevent a decreased quality of life due to these symptoms, it’s important to identify the underlying cause of early satiety. You may find it easier to consume more calories by pureeing your food into a soup or blending it into a smoothie.

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor for the best solutions.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.


Review Date: February 15, 2019 | Last Modified: February 15, 2019

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