Skip to Main Content

Digestive Disease Center

Leading the world in digestive health through innovation and excellence.
M.U.S.C. Digestive Disease Center logoChanging What's Possible®
Ask your doctor
about MUSC

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.

This is most likely due to gastroparesis, a condition in which the stomach is slow to empty.

Symptoms of early satiety

Symptoms often associated with early satiety 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

Early satiety tests

Tests may include:

Causes of early satiety

photo of partially eaten lettuce-and-tomato sandwich and ear of corn
Early satiety is the inability to eat a full meal or
feeling full after only a small amount of food.
  • ulcers of the stomach, also referred to as peptic ulcers
  • an obstruction
  • a tumor of the abdominal organs, or in the abdomen
  • GERD (often referred to as heartburn) that irritates the lining of the esophagus
  • a problem with the nerves that control the movement of food in the digestive system; this may be the result of surgery

Treatment of early satiety

  • a diet that is low in fats
  • smaller portions eaten more frequently
  • prokinetic medications, such as Reglan, or Domperidone

Any change in eating habits or digestion should be referred to a physician.

Call 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

The doctor will examine you and ask questions such as:

  • When did this symptom begin?
  • How long does each episode last?
  • What foods, if any, make the symptoms worse?
  • What other symptoms do you have (for example, vomiting, excessive gas, abdominal pain, or weight loss)

Why should I visit the Medical University of South Carolina?


photo of Ashley River Tower
MUSC Ashley River Tower

Your doctor will probably agree with you about your preference to come to MUSC. We offer excellent patient care at a state-of-the-art facility, in a historic setting in the southeastern United States. Our doctors are nationally ranked among the highest in the nation. We employ a multidisciplinary approach to the treatment of patients using the latest technology in medicine.

Come see why MUSC is changing what's possible®.

Read more about why you should choose MUSC for your healthcare needs.

×