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Health Tip: What you should know about stomach growling

Stomach growling, rumbling, gurgling and other noises are are inevitable part of life. Have you ever wondered why your stomach growls or rumbles? What can you do to reduce the frequency or volume of such noises?

The sounds you hear come from your abdomen usually occur when foods, liquids, digestive juices or air pass through the stomach and intestines. The sounds re likely to occur during hunger, slow or incomplete digestion, or the consumption of certain foods. Since stomach rumbling is part of digestion, it may not be possible to reduce or prevent the volume of these sounds.

Do you know why the stomach rumbles or growls? This is due to a series of muscular contractions that occur in the intestines to move foods along the bowel during digestion. This movement know as peristalsis ensures that foods are broken down and mixed with enzymes to facilitate absorption of nutrients.

When hungry, enzymes and juices are released in anticipation of  foods and these contractions occur too leading noises from the abdomen.

The noises may indicate that digestion is going on. It may also mean that you are hungry. When tense or anxious, loud noises occur because some hormones trigger peristalsis too.  However, stomach growling may also suggest that you may have a medical condition such as:

  • food allergies
  • food intolerances
  • gastrointestinal infections
  • intestinal blockage
  • irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Bleeding ulcers
  • Medications such as laxatives

What can you do to reduce the frequency of such noises?

Eat regularly– Rather than skip meals, you can consider eating 4-6 small meals daily. While eating, endeavour to chew thoroughly to enhance the digestive process. Eating large meals may contribute to stomach growling.

Drink water- Sipping water may help reduce the volume and frequency of stomach noises.

Reduce or Avoid meals that irritate the bowel such as sugary foods, coffee, sugary drinks and meals that generate lots of gas such as beans. You should also avoid foods that you do not tolerate well such as milk.

Stay active- Exercise helps you to prevent medial conditions that can contribute to stomach growling. It may also aid digestion.

Seek help for medical conditions such as infections, blockage, irritable bowel syndrome and allergies that require further evaluation and treatment. You should look out for additional symptoms that suggest an underlying condition. These include:

It is important to remain calm when stomach growling occurs. Nevertheless, you should also know that such noises could mean much more. Knowing when to seek treatment could help prevent serious complications.

 

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