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Real Life Nutrition Questions Answered

Real Life Fitness Questions Answered

Emma Brown
Nutritionist

Janet Aylott
Nutritionist

Kelly Marshall
Fitness Consultant

Q.

Why is my stomach bloating when I'm hungry?

I have a situation that whenever I get really hungry my stomach suddenly bloats up and I get bad cramps. I then need to eat as soon as I can in order to reduce the bloating and pain. Before I was eating healthily it would take about 3 hours after eating for these symptoms to calm down. Now I am eating a healthy balanced diet the bloating and cramps still happen (although less as I'm rarely hungry due to planning meals effectively) but the time after eating before they go is much less. I'm just wondering what causes the bloating and if there is something I can do about it other than being super prepared with meals to prevent hunger.

A.

Our expert says...

This is a little bit different from the normal bloating I would be asked about - usually people experience bloating because of an intolerance to a food that they've eaten. The fact your bloating happens when you haven't eaten (i.e. when you're hungry), makes me think that it may not be related to a specific food.

When we get hungry the stomach is sending signals to the brain to say it needs food, and the brain is also sending signals saying it needs glucose to feed it. It is possible that the signals your body is sending out may be causing digestive processes to start working when there isn't any food in your system. So perhaps your body is releasing acids or enzymes prematurely, and when there isn't any food to digest, it is causing the pain and discomfort that you have experienced?

Because your bloating and cramps don't appear to be linked to any specific food or drink, I think it might be a good idea to have a chat with your GP just to talk through your symptoms. He / she may be able to investigate this further and help you to find a solution.

In the meantime, keep planning your meals and snacks as you've been doing, and don't let yourself get overly hungry. Keep a supply of low calorie snacks to hand so that you can nip any bloating / cramps in the bud before they take hold. Perhaps even try drinking a glass of water if you get any symptoms to see whether this helps.

Sorry that I can't give you too much help, but if your GP is able to shed any more light on this and there is anything we can do to support you, please don't hesitate to get back in touch.

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