Stomach rumble

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Stomach rumbles, also known as bowel sounds, peristaltic sounds or intestinal sounds, are rumbling, growling or gurgling noise 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.[1] 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[edit]

Other causes of stomach rumbles:

Diseases and conditions[edit]

Celiac diseaseLifelong gluten-free diet, avoid anything containing wheat, barley, rye, and possibly oats
ColitisDepends 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.
DiverticulitisDepends 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)


Nonmedical usage[edit]

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".[7] 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.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Toothman, Jessika. "Causes of Stomach Growling". HowStuffWorks. Retrieved 7 February 2012. 
  2. ^ "The Gurgling Intestines". Retrieved 13 February 2012. 
  3. ^ "Celiac disease - sprue". A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia. PubMed Health. January 20, 2010. Retrieved 13 February 2012. 
  4. ^ "Colitis". A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia. PubMed Health. October 16, 2011. Retrieved 13 February 2012. 
  5. ^ "Diverticulitis". A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia. PubMed Health. April 16, 2012. Retrieved 13 February 2012. 
  6. ^ "Irritable bowel syndrome". A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia. PubMed Health. July 22, 2011. Retrieved 13 February 2012. 
  7. ^ "Borborygmus". World Wide Words. 1998-10-12. Retrieved 2013-10-26.