'Stomach making noises', 'stomach rumbling', Well, these are the common terms used to describe stomach gurgling. To be honest, there is nothing wrong if the stomach is making these audible weird sounds occasionally and can be ignored. In fact, when we are terribly hungry, our stomach starts growling and this noise soon subsides after having a hearty meal. But, how does one explain constant stomach gurgling? Surely, being hungry all the time cannot be the reason behind this persistent, excessive noise in the stomach. It is discussed below:
Part of the Digestion Process: A point to note is that both the stomach and the intestine do produce sounds every now and then, but fortunately we do not hear this sound as it is not audible. The stomach and the intestinal muscles have to contract properly in order to push the food forward. Also, the breakdown of fats takes place inside the stomach. All these processes do make some noise, which many times is not audible. However, this might not be true for every individual. So, noise in the stomach with no pain does not necessarily indicate disturbances in the digestive system. It could well mean that everything is fine and the stomach is only performing its task of promoting digestion.
Impaired Digestion: Inability to digest food properly can also cause persistent noise in the stomach. Constant growling noise in the stomach and pain has often been attributed to digestion problems. For instance, if the ingested food does not come in contact with digestive enzymes and stomach acids. This can happen when the movement of food through the gastrointestinal tract is so fast that it does not allow digestive juices to interact with the ingested food. In some cases, the stomach muscles that contract and relax to push food, do not work properly. Due to impaired functionality of stomach muscles, the food remains in the stomach for a longer amount of time, eventually disturbing the digestion process. Lack of digestive enzymes and stomach acids is yet another factor that contributes to poor digestion. Certain digestive enzymes that aid in digestion are produced by the pancreas. Medical problems like pancreatitis that is marked by inflammation of pancreas and abdominal pain can reduce the production of stomach acid and affect digestion. People with pancreatic problems often suffer from diarrhea, bloating and gas.
Food Intolerance: Some individuals are often hypersensitive to certain foods, intake of which causes unwanted side effects that may manifest in the form of excessive accumulation of fluids in the intestine. Too much intestinal fluid causes food to move quickly through the intestine, leading to diarrhea and constant stomach gurgling.
Stomach Problems: Stomach disorders such as formation of ulcers in the lining of the stomach or indigestion problems like acid reflux can bring about continuous gurgling sounds in the stomach. People diagnosed with intestinal disorders like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) may also complain about continuous noises in the stomach. In IBS, the movement of colon is not normal. The colon shows spasmodic activity (repetitive contraction of muscles). The bowel spasms give a feeling of something shaking in the stomach. People with IBS also suffer from diarrhea, bloating and excessive flatulence.
Excessive Gas: Too much gas in the stomach can also trigger a gurgling noise. A diet high in gassy foods is the primary contributory factor in the build up of excessive stomach gas. Heavy meals followed by lack of exercise can also cause excessive gas, leading to constant stomach gurgling.
Partial Blockage in the Intestine: Intestinal obstruction due to presence of a foreign object, hardened stool or tumor can narrow down the passage of the intestine. As a result, food making its way through partially obstructed site of the intestine is likely to cause some amount of noise. In such circumstances, the intestinal muscles require greater effort in moving the food, which can trigger weird noises.
Finding out the underlying cause is essential to halt this growling sound. An easy home remedy to minimize the episodes of continuous stomach growling is to change the meal pattern. The habit of having a breakfast and 2 large meals must be stopped immediately. In today's erratic lifestyle, we tend to eat whatever and whenever we want. This is one of the primary reasons behind poor digestion and constant belly noise. Ditch this way of living and opt for a 6 meal pattern plan. Increasing the frequency of meals, with each meal consisting of small portions, reduces the burden on the stomach. Following this pattern of small frequent meals can go a long way in reducing the occurrence of stomach growling.
Too much of gassy foods in the diet can also trigger frequent, louder rumbling noises from the stomach. The amount of growling activity in the stomach is dependent on how much gas is being released during digestion. The more the gas production, higher will be the chances of frequent growling sounds from the stomach. So, minimizing consumption of gassy foods can also help to reduce the episodes of recurring stomach noises.
For IBS, the doctor may prescribe peppermint oil-containing capsules such as Mintec and Colpermine. These capsules provide a relaxing effect to the colon, which helps to stop the spasmodic activity. If the stomach gurgling sound is not accompanied by any discomfort, ignoring it is the best treatment. In case the gurgling sound is causing stomach pain, it is necessary to talk to a doctor. An X-ray of the intestine and the stomach using barium (upper GI series test) allows visual inspection of the upper digestive system. This test may help identify the abnormalities such as tumors and intestinal obstruction and then as per the test results, the doctor will decide the future course of treatment.