Bloated But Hungry? Here’s What It Means
As the day goes by, you are sure to experience hunger at some point. For example, consider those hunger pangs you get as you reach closer to lunchtime. Perhaps you smell something delicious cooking on the stove and suddenly find yourself hungry.
Hunger is a natural response of the body. It is a sign that your body needs food-related to an action initiated by your brain.
However, digestive troubles sometimes make it harder to ensure we eat correctly. Bloating is a common symptom. This symptom can cause discomfort and even pain in some cases. If you are bloated but hungry, it may indicate something else is responsible for the hunger.
We take a look at bloating in general. Moreover, why you may find yourself hungry but stomach feels full.
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Bloating is a term that describes feelings of excessive fullness, swelling, and discomfort in the abdominal region. Typically, people experiencing bloating have symptoms after they eat something. This, however, is not always the case. Sometimes, bloating occurs even before you decide to have a meal.
Multiple studies have considered the potential effect and prevalence that bloating has on the general population.
In one study, researchers found that the prevalence of bloating seems to be higher among the American population than Asians.
Common Symptoms of Bloating
The most common symptom that people experience when they are bloated is swelling in the abdominal area. It can cause feelings of discomfort in the abdomen.
Some people report feeling uncomfortable moving too. Pain is another common symptom that accompanies bloating. In some instances, people also experience an increase in gas.
If you experience long-term bloating, you may start to notice unintended weight loss. Some people also report blood in their stool. When your stomach swells, it is possible to experience nausea too. Sometimes, nausea can lead to vomiting, which makes the bloated but hungry worse.
Diarrhea is another common problem among people with more consistent bloating. People who already have heartburn often find that bloating makes the symptoms worse.
It is essential to be on the lookout for a fever. If you have bloating and fever, there is a possibility that an infection causes the symptoms in your digestive system.
In situations where an underlying health condition causes bloating, you will likely experience additional symptoms too.
Bloating Causes and Risk Factors
Gas is a primary cause behind the development of bloated but hungry symptoms. When too much gas develops in your digestive tract, you may start to experience discomfort in the stomach. Gradually, the gas in your gut can lead to pain and cramping too.
With this in mind, we need to look at what causes excess gas in your stomach. Swallowing air is the first thing to take into consideration. This often happens when you chew gum. Using a straw to drink a soda or another beverage can also cause you to swallow air.
Apart from swallowing air, empty stomach gas bloating can also cause discomfort. There are other reasons for an accumulation of gas in your stomach. These include:
- Eating an excessive amount of food
- Consuming your food too quickly
- Eating a lot of fatty foods
Certain foods create more gas in your stomach too. A few examples of foods linked to gas production in the digestive tract include:
- Brussels sprouts
Additionally, some people have problems digesting lactose. This is a type of sugar found in dairy products, such as milk and yogurt. If you are lactose intolerant, consuming dairy products causes gas to fill up your gastrointestinal tract.
Some medical conditions create excess gas in the stomach as well. People with irritable bowel syndrome have more gas. The same applies to individuals who have inflammatory bowel disease.
If you have Chron’s disease or Celiac disease, certain lifestyle habits can create more gas in the stomach. Additionally, take note that a small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) is another possible cause when gas is the reason behind your bloating.
Apart from gas, some situations or lifestyle choices can be the reason for bloating. Indigestion, for example, is linked to bloating – even if there is no excessive amount of gas in the stomach. Pregnant women sometimes severely experience bloating. Moreover, women can also develop bloating symptoms while going through a menstrual period.
Smoking, allergic reactions to foods and chronic constipation are additional risk factors that we need to consider.
Feeling Bloated but Hungry at The Same Time
A common question among many people is ‘my stomach feels full and bloated, but I’m hungry.’ You need to realize that hunger and bloating are not the same thing. The pathways behind these two factors differ. Thus, if you feel bloated, this will not necessarily affect the paths that make you feel hungry.
To gain a better understanding, we should consider how hunger works and what triggers this feeling. When your stomach is empty, then your brain releases the specific hormone ghrelin.
Once your body releases the hormone, your stomach starts to produce acids. The stomach acids play an essential role in the digestion of the food you eat. This process triggers a hunger feeling. If you do not eat, the acids in your stomach affect the lining surrounding the area. When this happens, you begin to feel hunger pains in the abdomen.
The pain does not only happens when your stomach is empty. Sometimes you can feel stomach pain after drinking water.
It is important to note that anticipation for food can result in the release of ghrelin as well. This happens when you adopt a habit of eating at the same time every day. Your body gets used to having certain meals at specific times. Thus, ghrelin is released when the time for the next dinner draws closer.
Home Remedies for Being Bloated but Hungry
Bloating can be very discomforting. The symptom also results in pain and can feel disabling as well.
Fortunately, there are many ways to reduce the effects of bloating. Some strategies help to prevent bloating from occurring in the future. Others are more appropriate for an acute set of symptoms – giving you fast relief while you experience the symptoms.
Here are a few remedies that help with bloating if you are experiencing these unpleasant symptoms:
- If you have indigestion along with bloating, consider taking a peppermint capsule. The peppermint extract assists in relieving tension in your stomach muscles. This, in turn, ensures gas can move through the gastrointestinal tract more efficiently. The peppermint extract also helps with indigestion.
- Some people find that abdominal massages work effectively to help relieve symptoms. Do not press too hard when massaging your stomach, as this can cause pain. Be gentle but still firm enough to ensure the massage is effective.
- When stress causes tightness in your abdomen, gases can get trapped. A warm bath with a few drops of lavender oil can be a great way to counter stress. In turn, your gastrointestinal tract relaxes. This ensures bowel movements return to normal. Additionally, gas can pass through the digestive system without being trapped.
- Going for a walk can sometimes help too. If you prefer to be active at home, then give yoga a try.
Don’t forget about the longer-term solutions. They are essential if you have chronic bloating. One of the most effective long-term options is gradually increasing the amount of fiber you obtain from your diet.
Never take in too much fiber in a short period. This will cause you to experience worse symptoms of bloating. On the other hand, a gradual increase can help to improve bowel movements and reduce gas production in your abdomen.
Carbonated drinks can contribute to your bloating too. If you drink a lot of soda, consider replacing it with water. You can add a slice of lemon to your water for flavor.
Try to reduce the use of things that cause you to swallow air. This means avoiding chewing gum when possible. Instead, switch to mints that you can suck on. Also, try to pour drinks into a glass and avoid using a straw for drinking.
Medical Treatments for Bloating
There are also medical treatments that you can apply to relieve symptoms of bloating.
Gas relief pills are the most common option. These pills are available over the counter, which means you do not need to see a doctor to buy them. You can try out the OTC options to see if they help.
Consult Your Doctor
If you do not experience improvements in your symptoms, then make an appointment with your doctor. An underlying medical condition may be at play. In cases of feeling bloated but hungry, pregnant women should be careful when taking medication.
Ensure a Safe Pregnancy (if you are pregnant)
Bloated but hungry pregnancy is a common issue among women. When you are hungry but feel full and bloated, instead see a doctor. Explain all your symptoms, such as being constantly hungry, bloated, and tired. This allows the doctor to make a more accurate diagnosis.
Frequently Asked Questions
What should I eat when hungry but bloated?
People in this situation often ask bloated but hungry what to eat. It is crucial to avoid eating anything that can aggravate bloating. In the case of stomach bloated but hungry, it is essential to turn to fiber-rich foods.
Ensure you avoid overeating fiber. Overloading on fiber can cause the bloating to become worse. Instead, gradually introduce more thread to your diet. It is also essential to consider the source of fiber you choose. One of the best food choices you can make is to include some avocados in your diet.
This food won’t make your stomach swell up. In addition to fiber, avos are also high in healthy fats and many nutrients. You can also include more whole grains in your diet. If you have a craving for fruits instead, then opt for a handful of raspberries.
Can hunger make you bloated?
Sometimes, you feel bloated even though you did not eat in the last few hours. You must be wondering whether hunger can be a cause of bloating. Your body gets used to having meals at certain times. If you eat breakfast for several days and then suddenly skip one morning, your body still expects the food early in the morning.
This causes the stomach to start producing gases. The gases fill up the digestive tract, which then results in the development of bloating symptoms. It is also important to note that loading your stomach with too much food after not eating for a long duration can cause bloating. In fact, in this particular situation, you may find that your bloating is more severe.
Why do I get bloated on an empty stomach?
Gas is the primary reason for bloating on an empty stomach. When you skip a meal, it forms gas in your stomach. Your body develops a routine in this case. If you have lunch at 1 pm every day, then this becomes a habit for your body. When you skip lunch, gases are produced in your body. These gases fill your stomach and result in unpleasant bloated but hungry symptoms.
Why do I get bloated when I don’t eat anything?
If you starve yourself, then your body eventually starts to make a type of gaseous substance. This substance fills your gastrointestinal tract. In turn, your stomach starts to swell up. This causes you to experience symptoms of constantly hungry, bloated, and tired.