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Digestive Disease Center

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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?

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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.