Reading Time: 11 minutes
The gurgling stomach is a common noise you can hear when you feel hungry. But, there is more to the noise than you know. The human body makes different types of noise all the time. You can pass gas, burp, snore or hear the joint cracking. In most cases, the sounds you hear points to the normal actions happening inside your body. The rumbling noise may not point towards hunger pangs all the time. The digestive system can produce different stomach sounds when the fluid or air moves around your small as well as the large intestine.
The noise also known as Borborygmi originates from deep in the pit of your stomach. Most of the time, you can hear the sound close to your lunchtime or when you smell delicious food. You just need to grab a snack to silence the noise. But, at times, the embarrassing sound can happen when you do not feel hungry. You can become confused about the exact reason why you hear the rumbling noise. Several scenarios run through your mind about the reason you hear the noise. Read ahead to know the reasons for hearing the grumbling or rumbling noise from your stomach.
What Is Gurgling Stomach?
While the name indicates the sound originates from your stomach, it is not true. The rumbling or gurgling sounds come from your intestines. When you are awake, your intestine moves rhythmically. The walls of the organ contracts and relaxes for various functions like mixing the food you take with secretions. In such cases, the contracting and relaxing can produce sound (peristaltic rush) as the intestinal contents get moved to a distance. You must not confuse the sounds with other gaseous issues you suffer like bloating, belching or flatus (passing of intestinal gas). The issues are not related to each other.
The sounds coming from your intestine normally indicates the proper functioning of the digestive system. It occurs when ingested fluids in your stomach get mixed with enzyme-rich fluids. The movement of the fluid through the tubes occurs silently. But, the presence of gases can trigger different noises. It is just like hearing the noise in your home plumbing when the pipes have air in it. Now you may wonder how the gases enter your intestine. You can swallow air when you eat food or the gases released when the undigested food ferments. It can release carbon dioxide, hydrogen, and other gases when the bacterial fermentation happens in your lower gut.
Causes Of Gurgling Stomach
In normal cases, the gurgling stomach is only audible to affected people. But, it is inaudible to others. Your doctor can listen to the noise using the stethoscope. The noisy movement due to fluid or gas can occur in the digestive system. But, you feel like the sound originating from your stomach. The following conditions can result in the rumbling or grumbling noise:
You can hear the gurgling sound in your stomach when you feel hungry. Your stomach empties after digestion. Two hours after it becomes empty, the brain signals your digestive muscles as well as peristalsis to begin the process again. So, the contraction and vibration your empty stomach makes can trigger hunger pangs. So, you can hear gurgling stomach due to the empty intestines and stomach. You have no food to muffle the noise.
People who eat food fast can swallow a lot of air. The absence of proper chewing can increase the intake of air during food consumption. It can also occur due to talking while eating food. The excess gas presence in your stomach can result in the rumbling noise even when you have your stomach full.
You can hear the rumbling or grumbling sound due to poor digestion. Some food items, like artificial sweeteners or fructose, are difficult to absorb by your intestines. So, it can result in high pitched noise. Try to limit diet sodas, sugar alcohol or sugarless gums in your life. People with food intolerance can experience increase intestinal noise. Food intolerance (like lactose intolerance) means you can experience slow absorption of the specific food by the intestine. So, it can increase the grumbling noise.
Gas is a normal part of your digestion. You can find gas in your digestive system. In normal cases, you get rid of the excess gas by passing gas or burping. In some cases, gas can trap inside the digestive system and does not move well. It can result in the rumbling noise.
It is a critical condition when you can experience an obstruction in your small or large intestine. The partial or total blockage of the intestine can trigger problems. So, it can prevent the passage of fluids as well as the digested food. When you suffer from intestinal obstruction, the fluids, food, gas, and gastric acids can build behind the site of the blockage. It builds the pressure leading to intestine rupture or leakage of intestinal contents in your abdominal cavity. It is a life-threatening complication as your abdominal cavity fills with harmful contents and bacteria.
It is the disorder occurring due to the immune response of your body when you eat gluten-rich food. The gluten triggers can lead to inflammation and severe damage to your small intestine.
It is the problem that causes long-lasting inflammation in your digestive tract. You can also suffer sores (ulcers) due to health complications. It affects the lining of the colon (large intestine) and the rectum. You can experience several signs over time or suddenly.
The problem occurs due to infection or inflammation of the diverticula (small pouches) in your small intestines. The formation of the pouches is known as diverticulosis, which points to the benign condition.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
IBS is a common disorder that can affect your large intestine. You can suffer severe signs associated with the problem. Apart from the rumbling sound, you can experience pain, gas, constipation or diarrhea due to the problem. You have no cure for the condition. But, proper medical care can help you manage the condition.
When you observe only gurgling stomach, it may not indicate a serious problem. You will only feel embarrassed or uncomfortable due to the problem. But, when you see other signs along with the noises, take an appointment with your doctor. With early intervention, you can manage the underlying health condition and prevent any complications.
Symptoms Of Gurgling Stomach
The gurgling stomach can produce sounds. In normal circumstances, you can hear sounds described by the following words:
- High-pitched sound
It can occur due to hunger, gas or other simple issues. You never have to worry about the problem. It is the natural sound produced by the intestine. It does not cause any adverse effects on your body. Feeling embarrassed is the only problem occurring due to the sounds. With simple remedies, you can manage the sound and prevent embarrassment. Therefore, stop worrying about the gurgling sounds made by your body.
Gurgling Stomach Symptoms Indicating Problems
The rumbling sound alone coming from your body may not indicate any problem. But, when you observe the presence of other symptoms along with the rumbling sound, then you need to maintain caution. It can point towards an underlying illness that needs medical attention. So, consult your doctor immediately when you see other signs with the rumbling sound like:
- Excess gas
- Bloody stools
- Frequent diarrhea
- Heartburn (that does not show improvement with over-the-counter medications)
- Sudden weight loss
- Feeling of fullness
When you experience such symptoms, it can indicate a health problem. So, consult your doctor to uncover the health complication. Early intervention can aid in managing the condition better and prevent any further complications.
Diagnosing Underlying Problems Leading To Gurgling Stomach
When you observe other signs or symptoms along with gurgling stomach, you need to get an appointment with your doctor. It is necessary to determine the underlying health issue leading to the noise. So, your doctor performs different tests to detect the cause of the problem.
Your doctor reviews your medical history. So, you need to answer the question about the symptoms you experience and the severity of it. You must also clarify the frequency of the problem. Your doctor uses a stethoscope to hear the rumbling noise. The step is also known as auscultation. If you suffer serious conditions like bowel obstruction, then your doctor can hear the noise without the stethoscope. Depending on the results of physical assessment, your doctor can suggest other tests to detect the problem.
To detect the issues troubling your abdominal region, you need to undergo imaging tests. The sophisticated tests like X-ray, CT scan and MRI can reveal any problems or complications in your abdomen.
Your doctor can find intricate details about the problems you suffer in your abdomen with endoscopy. The endoscope has a flexible tube with a camera at one end of it. It sent to your stomach through your throat to take pictures of stomach and intestines.
The blood tests can offer information on any inflammation, infection or organ damage you suffer. The complete blood count can help your doctor come to a conclusion.
Treatment Options For Gurgling Stomach
The treatment option depends entirely on the underlying condition causing the problem. In most of the cases, the problem only indicates the normal bowel function. But, depending on the cause, you can expect the following treatments:
Treatment For Simple Conditions
In the majority of the conditions, simple issues can lead to gurgling stomach. Therefore, you may not need medications to treat the problem. Simple changes can offer you relief from the embarrassing problem.
Check Your Diet
If gas triggers the loud sound, then you need to make changes in your current diet. Avoid food items that produce gas and subsequent rumbling sound. So, avoid the following items:
- Artificial sweeteners
- Carbonated drinks
- Whole-grain products
- Certain vegetables (Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage)
Check What You Eat
If you suffer from a food allergy or have an intolerance to certain food items, then watch what you eat. For example, you need to avoid dairy completely from your diet when you suffer from lactose intolerance. So, understand your body and change your diet accordingly.
Avoid Swallowing Air
When excess air accumulates in your digestive tract, it leads to rumbling sound. So, you need to limit the following actions:
- Drinking water/juice/other fluids through a straw
- Eating too quickly without chewing the food properly
- Chewing gum frequently
Such actions can lead to your digestive tract filling with air. So, you need to restrict the action as much as possible to restrict swallowing air. Some people suffer from a condition called sleep apnea. In such cases, the doctor can recommend using a device called CPAP. It helps you to breathe properly while sleeping. The CPAP machine blows air into your nose and mouth when you sleep. Since you remain sleeping, you can swallow more air than normal. So, talk to your doctor to find the right adjustment and fit to ensure correct airflow.
Probiotics refer to live bacteria and yeast. When you take probiotics, you can enjoy its good effects on your digestive system. Unlike the popular misconception, bacteria or germs do not cause any diseases. The human body consists of both good and bad bacteria. Probiotics are helpful or good bacteria that keep your gut healthy. It can also prove beneficial in limiting rumbling bowel sounds.
Gurgling stomach due to simple problems may not cause any serious complications. In most cases, only you can hear the sounds. Most people cannot hear the rumbling noise from your gut or remain unconcerned about it.
Treatment For Medical Emergencies Triggering Gurgling Stomach
If you experience other signs along with your gurgling stomach, then pay close attention. Some symptoms like the following indicate medical emergency:
- Bowel damage
- Severe obstruction
In such cases, you need to get admitted to the hospital for treatment. Before getting treatment for the underlying issue, your doctor can put your intestine into rest. So, your doctor can place a tube through your nose or mouth into the intestines or stomach to empty the contents in it. To offer complete rest of your intestines, you cannot eat or drink anything. To stop further problems, your doctor provides fluids through the veins.
In most cases, you can overcome the underlying health condition with the intestinal rest and IV fluids. But, severe cases need surgery to rectify complications due to infections or rectify blocks. Depending on the problem you suffer, your doctor can suggest different treatment options to offer you relief. The medications and other treatment options aim to correct any damage and treat the condition successfully. So, you have the following treatment options to manage the severe conditions causing gurgling stomach:
People diagnosed with celiac disease need to change their diet. They need to follow a gluten-free diet. So, they need to avoid any food items that contain the following:
Some people can get bored with a lifelong gluten-free diet. So, it is important to talk to a dietician and plan the meals accordingly. Your dietician can plan the diet with creativity. So, you can have good food that will taste good.
Your doctor can suggest treatment for ulcerative colitis depending on the underlying reason for the problem. So, based on the cause of the problem, you can expect the following treatment:
- Inflammation-related colitis is treated with anti-inflammatory medications.
- Colitis caused due to infection can get relief with an antiprotozoal agent.
The lack of blood flow triggering the problem requires antibiotics to deal with the problem. You need to go on a liquid diet to get healed completely.
In some cases, surgery can eliminate the problem completely. But, it means the surgeon removes the entire colon as well as rectum.
The treatment for gurgling stomach caused due to diverticulitis depends on the severity of the condition. So, the following treatment:
If you experience only mild symptoms associated with the problem, then your doctor can suggest the following:
- Get plenty of rest.
- Take antibiotics to treat the infection and pain medication to manage the agony associated with the problem.
- Use a heating pad while sleeping to get comfort.
- Avoid solid food until your bowel heals. So, you need to go on a liquid diet. Once you heal, slowly add solid food to your diet.
For severe cases of the health problem needs treatment in the hospital. So, you need to stay in hospital to get the necessary treatment.
- Antibiotics to treat the infection.
- Insert a tube to drain the abscess formed.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
The symptoms associated with IBS can differ from one person to another. Therefore, the treatment depends on the individual signs the affected person experiences. The treatment options can include:
- Your doctor can prescribe medications to manage the problems associated with the disease.
- You need to check your diet to reduce the severity of the problem. Taking a fiber-rich diet can offer relief to an extent.
- Including physical exercise can help you manage some signs.
- You can also try some alternative therapies to get relief from the symptoms of IBS.
Prevent Gurgling Stomach
The gurgling stomach can cause embarrassment to you. The sudden and loud noise coming from your stomach during a meeting with your friends or colleagues can make you self-conscious. You can reduce the natural noise produced by the stomach by following the methods suggested below:
- Avoid foods or drinks that can cause the buildup of gas in your stomach and intestines. You can avoid excessive drinking or carbonated drinks to prevent the problem.
- You can keep moving after having your food. Taking a walk after your meals can help with digestion. So, it keeps your bowel moving and reduces the sudden noise.
If you notice other signs along with the gurgling noise, then see your doctor immediately. It can indicate the presence of an underlying health problem that requires immediate medical attention. With proper care, you can avoid complications.
Gurgling stomach may not indicate a serious problem. More often, the sound indicates the normal functioning of your digestive system. In the majority of cases, simple reasons can cause sound. But, if you suffer from other symptoms with the rumbling sound, then you need to see your doctor. Some problems have life-threatening complications without any treatment. You need immediate medical attention for intestinal obstruction or other issues with your digestive system. So, with proper medical care, you can manage the condition and prevent unwanted complications.View Article Sources