Stomach growling: What is your stomach trying to tell you?

The rumbling noises you hear from your stomach is not always a sign of a healthy digestive system.

A noisy stomach can be an embarrassing experience, but if you listen carefully to the growling sound emanating from your intestines, you could learn a thing or two about how your digestive system is faring.

What causes stomach growling?

Also known as bowel or abdominal sounds, stomach growling occurs within the small and large intestines, usually during digestion. The reason why it sounds like water moving through pipes is because of the hollowness of the intestines.

Bowel sounds are mainly natural in the digestive process. They may be an indication of hunger or a sign that digestion is happening as it should. But, when you experience frequent, unusual or an absence of these noises, you may want to see a doctor.

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Stomach growling could be an indication of a healthy digestive system. Getty/ PALMIHELP

Irregular stomach growling could be linked to an underlying medical issue, especially if accompanied by other symptoms such as pain, constipation, excess gas, heartburns or diarrhoea. Some underlying conditions that can cause stomach growling include:

  • food allergies
  • food intolerances
  • gastrointestinal infections
  • intestinal blockage
  • irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

Certain medications like codeine can slow digestion, causing your stomach to rumble.

Read more:

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Managing stomach growling

However, if your stomach growls around lunchtime, or after a heavy meal, you should consider it a happy noise as it shows your digestive system is up and running.

You should only be concerned if you notice a drastic change in the volume and occurrence of these sounds, coupled with other symptoms.

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Certain vegetables like broccoli and cabbage can make your stomach rumble. Getty/ Johannes Hicks / EyeEm

Otherwise, you can manage stomach growling at home, especially the ones that happen alongside bloating and gassiness, by limiting your intake of foods that tend to produce more gas. They include:

  • Fizzy drinks
  • Some fruits (like apples, peaches, and raisins)
  • Certain vegetables (like broocoli, artichokes, and cabbage)
  • Artificial sweeteners (like sorbitol)
  • Beans, whole-grain and bran products

You might want to avoid dairy products if you are lactose intolerant. Also, if stomach growling bothers you that much, you should consider eating slowly, avoid drinking through a straw or chewing gum as these can cause you to swallow air which moves around in your digestive tract.

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