Early Satiety or Feeling Full Quickly

Feeling full or early satiety symptoms are quite a common in stomach cancer. It tends to occur as the disease advances although there are other causes.

Normally the stomach accommodates large volumes of fluid and food.  As cancers grow, that compliance is lost and the lumen becomes smaller due to the tumor growth.

As a result, you don’t just feel full, but can start to feel nauseous and subsequently vomit. Weight loss may have already been occurring, but this is exacerbated by your inability to take in food.

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Are There Other Early Satiety Causes?

Yes, there are other causes of feeling full quickly and I have listed them in the table below for you.

The reasons for this are either issues with the stomach itself or from external compression.

List of Causes Of Feeling Full

Gastroparesis – Inability of the stomach to contract due to diabetes, drugs, amyloid and other conditions.

Drugs e.g Morphine and other Opiate drugs.

Gastric outlet obstruction

Benign Peptic Ulcer                 

Neurological conditions


Tumors compressing externally 

How Are Symptoms Investigated?

You can see the investigations usually used in the diagnosis section.

The main first investigations are endoscopy or barium meal along with routine blood testing.

Further investigations would include ultrasound and CT imaging usually, depending on the outcome from your initial investigations.

Is There Any Treatment For The Feeling Of Fullness?

This is always a difficult one. Ideally the main way of dealing with early satiety is through treatment of your tumor whether this is surgery or chemoradiotherapy.

Things you can do are to liquidise your food so it is easier to pass through the upper gut and to take high energy foods that are easy to pass.

Butter, milk, milkshakes, yoghurts, cheese and ice cream are good options if tolerated.

Medicines called prokinetics such as domperidone and metoclopramide may help improve gastric emptying although might be ineffective.

Ask your doctor to review the drugs you are taking to make sure this isn't contributing to your problem.

Your doctor may recommend a nasogastric tube which bypasses your blocked area and is placed endoscopically or by radiologists.

The tube is passed through your nose into the esophagus, stomach and then in to the small bowel where your jejunum is.

You can then have artificial, liquid feed which can be used to supplement your intake of food and can be given either day or night when you are sleeping.

Occasionally stents are placed that open up your stomach to allow passage of sloppy foods. This depends on where your tumor is and whether you are going to have curative surgery or palliative care.

If you have ascites or fluid in the abdomen compressing your stomach, removal of some of the fluid may help improve your symptoms.

Finally, some surgeons will give you parenteral nutrition. This is a special form of nutrition given to you through a central line or PICC line in to your blood circulation.

Do You Feel Full Quickly?

Do you have tips on, or a story about, feeling full or experiencing early satiety cancer causes? I'm sure others would love to hear more from you about this! Just leave a Facebook comment below!

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