Stomach rumbles, also known as bowel sounds, peristaltic sounds or intestinal sounds, are rumbling, growling or gurglingnoise that occur due to peristalsis which are a series of contractions that propel the contents of the gastro-intestinal tract forward, which is the ultimate cause of the rumble. They can be heard with a stethoscope but may be loud enough to be heard with empty ears and are known as stomach rumble or borborygmus as the fluid and gas moves forward in the intestines (in the vicinity of but not actually within the stomach). The lack of bowel sounds is known as ileus and indicates intestinal obstruction or any serious pathology.
The scientific name for a rumbling stomach, borborygmus (pronounced /ˌbɔrbəˈrɪɡməs/; plural borborygmi) is related to the 16th-century French word borborygme, itself from Latin, ultimately from Ancient Greek βορβορυγμός (borborygmós). The Greeks onomatopoetically coined the word.
Other causes of stomach rumbles:
Incomplete digestion of food can lead to excess gas in the intestine. In humans, this can be due to incomplete digestion of carbohydrate-containing foods, including milk and other dairy products (lactose intolerance or the use of α-glucosidase inhibitors by diabetics), gluten (protein in wheat, barley, and rye) (celiac disease), fruit, vegetables, beans, legumes, and high-fiber whole grains. In rare instances, excessive abdominal noise may be a sign of digestive disease, especially when accompanied by abdominal bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea or constipation. Some examples of diseases that may be associated with this symptom include carcinoid neoplasm and celiac sprue.
Louder rumbles may occur when one is hungry. Around two hours after the stomach has been emptied, it sends signals to the brain, which tells the digestive muscles to restart peristalsis in a wave called the migrating motor complex. Food left behind after the first cycle is swept up, and the vibrations of the empty stomach cause hunger. Appetite plays a big role in this situation. Peristalsis recurs about every hour, and one's appetite may cause 10- to 20-minute food cravings.
Stomach rumbles can form further along the gastrointestinal system when air is swallowed while talking, eating, and drinking. This phenomenon occurs in most people and is typical.
Consuming high-fiber food such as cabbage or beans can produce more gas because they are harder for the digestive system to break down.
Celiac disease is a condition that prevents the small intestine from absorbing parts of food that are needed to stay healthy. The cause is unknown. Consuming food containing gluten is dangerous for people with this disease. Intestinal villi help to absorb nutrients from food, but when gluten is consumed, the immune system attacks these villi as a result. Symptoms may include abdominal pain, nausea, and bulky or foul smelling stools.
Diverticulitis is a condition where small bulging sacs, usually found in the large intestine, become inflamed or infected. The most probable cause is a low-fiber diet, possibly a result of eating processed food. Diverticulitis is usually seen in about half the American population over the age of 60. Symptoms may include bloating, fever, and nausea.
Irritable bowel syndrome, a disorder in the lower intestinal tract, is usually accompanied by other symptoms, such as abdominal pain and diarrhea. It is more common in women and it usually occurs during early adulthood. There are many risk factors such as emotional stress and a low-fiber diet.
Depends on the cause of the disease: If caused by inflammation, colitis is treated with medicines such as ganciclovir and valganciclovir. If caused by infection, it is treated with nitazoxanide (antiprotozoal agent). If caused by lack of blood flow, it is treated with a liquid diet and antibiotics.
Depends on how severe symptoms are:
If symptoms are minimal, treat by:
Getting plenty of rest
Using a heat pad while sleeping
Taking pain medications
Drinking only fluids for a few days, then build up slowly with harder liquid, and eventually solid food.
If symptoms are somewhat severe, doctors would provide antibiotics. Avoid foods such as beans and peas along with coarse grains and dried fruits. Limiting consumption of coffee, tea, and alcohol is recommended.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
Regular exercise and improved sleep habits can help relieve symptoms. Although IBS differs from person to person, dieting helps.
Avoid foods and drinks that contain caffeine
Avoid large meals
Increase the consumption of fiber throughout the day (helps constipation, but bloating may be an issue)
The word borborygmic has been used in literature to describe noisy plumbing. In Ada, Vladimir Nabokov wrote: "All the toilets and waterpipes in the house had been suddenly seized with borborygmic convulsions". In A Long Way Down (New York: Harper, 1959, p. 54), Elizabeth Fenwick wrote: "The room was very quiet, except for its borborygmic old radiator".Graham Greene's short story "Alas, Poor Maling" tells the tale of a luckless individual whose borborygmus takes the form of imitating noises that he has recently heard.