Always feeling full even when you have not eaten much, also known as bloating, is a symptom that may be associated with a wide range of disorders. Although many potential causes of always feeling full are related to the gastrointestinal system, a number of conditions that relate to female fertility can also cause bloating.
Potential Causes of Always Feeling Full
Cause 1: Uterine fibroids
Uterine fibroids are benign growths that develop inside the uterus. In many cases, women who have uterine fibroids never experience any symptoms at all. However, depending on the size, number, and placement of the fibroids, symptoms may occur. If a fibroid is extremely large, it may cause a feeling of constant bloating because of how much room it takes up in the abdominal cavity.
Cause 2: Pelvic inflammatory disease
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is a state of inflammation that develops in the reproductive tract as a result of an infection. Most often, PID is caused by a sexually transmitted disease (STD), such as gonorrhea or chlamydia. However, infection after abdominal or pelvic surgery can cause PID as well, as can other non-STD infections of the reproductive tract. Along with other symptoms, women with PID may experience bloating.
Cause 3: Polycystic ovary syndrome
One of the relatively common potential causes of always feeling full is polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a condition characterized by insulin resistance, high amounts of androgen hormones, and the possible presence of tiny cysts on the ovaries. Women with PCOS may experience frequent bloating as a symptom, but the cause is unknown.
Cause 4: Insulin resistance
Insulin is a hormone which controls blood sugar. Insulin resistance occurs when the body does not respond to insulin. When severe enough, this can result in high blood sugar levels (Type 2 diabetes). Insulin resistance may be caused by obesity, genetic conditions or PCOS (and sometimes all three). Insulin resistance often prevents ovulation from occurring. When the body becomes resistant to insulin, the pancreas must produce greater amounts of insulin to lower the blood sugar.
Type 2 diabetes is characterized by resistance to insulin to the point where the patient can no longer maintain normal blood sugar levels. However, patients can have insulin resistance without yet having Type 2 diabetes – although the disease is likely to develop if no lifestyle changes are made.
Cause 5: Ovarian or uterine cancer
If ovarian or uterine cancer progresses far enough, cancerous growth can put pressure on the rest of the abdomen due to the size of the growth, leading to a feeling of constant bloating. Other forms of cancer, including colon cancer, can also lead to bloating and a feeling of fullness. Although cancer is not the most likely cause of persistent fullness, the fact that it could be present makes it extremely important for people experiencing this symptom to seek medical care.
To diagnose the cause of frequent bloating, your doctor will begin by evaluating all of your symptoms; the other symptoms that are present can often provide more information about what the cause may be. The doctor will perform a physical examination, focusing on the systems affected. From there, diagnostic tests can be ordered, which may include both blood tests and medical imaging tests such as ultrasound or CT scanning. A pelvic examination can often identify the presence of uterine fibroids.
If you experience frequent bloating, it is important to visit a doctor about your symptoms and the potential causes of always feeling full. To schedule a consultation today, please contact Dr. Randy Morris by clicking below and entering your information or calling (630) 357-6540.