Stomach rumbling, growling, gurgling—they’re all sounds you’ve probably heard before. In most cases, it’s a sign of hunger and your body’s way of telling you it’s time to eat. In other cases, it may be a sign of incomplete digestion or that a certain food isn’t settling well with you.
While embarrassing, these rumblings are usually normal. However, if they are so frequent or loud that they interfere with your daily activities, you may need to check with your doctor.
Why is your stomach rumbling?
Stomach rumbling is a normal part of the digestive process, caused by food entering the intestine from the stomach. Peristalsis, which is a series of wave-like muscle contractions, helps the food to move further into the digestive tract after ingestion. This combined with the sounds of gas and food moving around create a growling noise.
Hunger contractions are believed to be caused by peristaltic movements in the intestine and stomach when they’re empty. When there is no food in your digestive system, it releases enzymes in preparation for the next meal. Contractions may also be caused by low blood sugar levels, which occur when you have not consumed anything in 3-4 hours. Once the stomach begins growling due to hunger contractions, it can last for 15-20 minutes until you eat something.
Underlying health issues
What factors can increase stomach rumbling?
- Brussels sprouts
- Sugary foods (especially sorbitol, which is used as an artificial sweetener)
- Carbonated drinks
- Acidic foods, such as citrus fruits, tomatoes, and coffee
- Drinking a lot of water at once
- Eating too fast
- Talking while eating
- Eating heavy meals or overeating
How to reduce stomach rumbling
While many of the foods mentioned above are perfectly healthy, moderation is key. You can try eliminating certain foods and reintroducing them to your diet to determine which one is causing your stomach to grow more frequently.
Other tips to reduce stomach rumbling include the following:
- If your stomach makes more noise after heavy meals, stick to frequent (4-6) smaller meals spread throughout the day.
- If you feel flatulent and have cramps along with growling, you may have an intolerance to certain foods or you could be ingesting too much air while you eat. Try taking small bites of food and chew thoroughly. Including probiotics such as yogurt in your diet may help reduce gas.
- If you notice that your stomach tends to growl more when you’re anxious, try to manage stress by practicing relaxation techniques such as deep breathing.
- If you want to stop your stomach rumbling instantly, drink a few sips of water or have a small snack. Some people also benefit from taking a short walk for 15-20 minutes.
If your stomach rumbling is persistent or severe despite making lifestyle and dietary changes, speak to your doctor about your concerns. They may be able to determine whether you have a health condition that is causing your symptoms.
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International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders. A Noisy Tummy: What Does It Mean? https://iffgd.org/gi-disorders/symptoms-causes/abdominal-noises/