People often say they feel like they feel like they’re going to burst after consuming a large meal, but is it really possible for your stomach to burst? The short answer is: yes; but the more complicated answer is: it depends.
The average threshold before bursting a stomach is one gallon worth of content, but it’s incredibly challenging to pack this much stuff into your stomach because of a protective reflex that induces vomiting when you become too full.
Obviously, you need to be alive for this reflex to kick in, so stomach ruptures are rarer in the living than in the dead. But that’s not to say living people can’t experience stomach ruptures.
Some people take bicarbonate soda when their stomach bothers them, but taking too much can produce excess gas very quickly – sometimes more quickly than the protective reflex can detect. When this happens, the stomach over-fills with gas, and it can rupture as a result.
In general, it’s exceedingly difficult to burst a stomach, so the expression is mostly a figure of speech.