Stomach gas bloating or gas accumulation within the bowels after eating a meal may be due to a number of factors, some of which are related to disease processes. Gas in the gut is produced as a result of air swallowing, gas intake in carbonated drinks, byproduct of chemical digestion and the action of bacteria in the gut. In most people who suffer with stomach bloating, the enlargement is visible anywhere between 20 or 30 minutes to an hour after eating. However, there are cases where eating leads to stomach bloating immediately after the meal.


The symptoms associated with stomach bloating due to gas accumulation includes :

  • Excessive belching
  • Excessive flatulence
  • Abdominal discomfort or pain
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Changes in bowel movement

Stomach bloating may occur with no other symptoms apart from the abdominal distension.

Stomach Bloating Immediately After Eating

Stomach bloating may at times occur immediately after a meal, within minutes or in rare cases while eating. The most common cause for this is due to air swallowing (aerophagia) or consuming carbonated drinks. In both these cases, it can be avoided to a large extent.

Stomach bloating immediately after a meal is also seen in irritable bowel syndrome. The exact cause for this is unknown but there is no significant increase in gas within the alimentary tract. Non-ulcer dyspepsia or functional dyspepsia is due to unknown causes, but like IBS which is another functional gut disorder, stomach bloating may occur for no known reason after a meal.

Other causes may include :

Stomach Bloating Shortly After Meals

Most cases of stomach bloating due to pathology beyond within the small intestine, pancreas, gallbladder or bile ducts, do not occur immediately after meals. Patients may report a sensation of bloating, which refers to the feeling of fullness, immediately after eating but visible distension may only be seen 20 minutes or more after the meal.

This may be due to consuming ‘gassy foods’. A list of these foods are available under Gassy Stomach. It rarely causes bloating immediately after eating as these foods have to be partially digested before causing excessive gas.

Other causes of gas bloating are discussed under :

This includes :

  • Infections
  • Helicobacter pylori
  • Clostridium difficile
  • Other microorganisms that cause infectious gastroenteritis
  • Food poisoning (bacterial toxins)
  • Maldigestion (Digestive Problems)
  • Pancreatic exocrine insufficiency (pancreatic digestive enzyme deficiency)
  • Cholestasis (biliary stasis) – reduction or lack of bile due to gallstones, bile duct stones, hepatocellular or pre-hepatic disorders
  • Hypochlorhydria or achlorhydria – low or no stomach acid
  • Zollinger-Ellison syndrome
  • Inflammatory bowel disease

Article reviewed by Dr. Greg. Last updated on November 18, 2010