Stomach growling or gurgling is caused by the muscles contracting to move food through the digestive tract and sometimes by digestive disorders. Many effective ways are listed to deal with stomach gurgling, including herbal choices.
Sometimes the stomach can make loud growling or gurgling noises, which can be quite embarrassing particularly if one has no idea how to control it. Stomach growling is a medical condition called borborygmus, simply referring to the noises that are made when food and gas pass through the intestinal tract. There are a number of techniques you can use to minimize these noises so you do not have to be troubled by this growling sensation.
Causes of Stomach Growling
The gastrointestinal tract is a long tube that runs from the mouth through to the anus, which contains several layers of smooth muscle that contract to move food through the digestive system. This process is known as peristalsis.
- As the intestines squeeze food and fluids through the digestive tract, it can make noise which often sounds like a rumbling or gurgling. The rate that the noise increase after the stomach and small intestine have been empty for two hours, signaling that you are hungry.
- When the stomach has been emptied for two hours, the organ will produce hormones that signal the brain to begin peristalsis. This will help ensure that excess food waste is not left in the stomach and will signal that you should eat something.
- When you have eaten, the muscles will contract every 10-20 minutes to move the food through the digestive tract to introduce nutrients to your system as necessary. This can also cause a growling noise, but it is typically muted when the digestive tract is full.
Some conditions can cause the stomach to make louder grumbling noises than usual.
- Excessive Gas. An excessive amount of gas in the stomach will cause a growling noise. Eating foods known to cause a high amount of gas will increase the risk that this side effect will occur. Eating a heavy meal right before exercising can also lead to a heavy gurgling noise.
- Food Intolerance. If you are sensitive to a certain food, eating it can cause unpleasant side effects. When the body is hypersensitive to a particular ingredient, it can cause an excessive amount of fluid to fill the intestines to help flush away the unwanted food, which can lead to stomach gurgling or diarrhea.
- Digestive Disorder. If your body lacks the ability to digest food properly, it can result in an increased level of noise during the digestive process. Some disorders prevent the food from coming into contact with the necessary enzymes and stomach acid to break it down properly. In other cases, the stomach muscles do not properly relax to push food through the remainder of the digestive tract, which results in food moving through the digestive tract too slowly. These conditions can result in an increased amount of noise as the body attempts to complete the digestive process.
- Stomach Problems. Gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD is a common cause of increased stomach gurgling. This condition causes stomach acid to seep into the food pipe. This frequently causes chest pain as well as strange noises. Those that suffer from GERD may experience additional symptoms if they eat too much food in one sitting. Other stomach problems such as stomach ulcers or indigestion, including issues such as IBS can cause food to move through the digestive tract at an abnormal rate, which can lead to bloating, flatulence, diarrhea or stomach growling.
- Intestinal Obstruction. If a foreign object, tumor or hardened stool is blocking the intestine it can cause the passage of the intestine to narrow, making it difficult for food to make its way through as necessary. As food attempts to push past this blockage, it will cause the muscles to contract more severely, which may lead to a growling noise.
- Sleep. When you do not get enough sleep it can cause your digestive system to become sluggish, which can lead to digestion trouble. This can cause you to develop stomach growling as your body fails to digest food properly.
- Emotion. When you are nervous or anxious it can cause the muscles in the digestive tract to tighten or contract strangely, leading to stomach gurgling.
- Sedentariness. People who are excessively sedentary are more likely to have trouble with indigestion and nausea, both of which lead to bloating and gas that can cause stomach growling.
- Food and Drinks. Carbonated beverages and junk food have high levels of calories and fat that is difficult to digest. Eating these foods can cause stomach gurgling as your body tries to pass them.
- Eating Habits. Rushing through your meals is hard on the digestive system. When you gulp down food and water it can cause the stomach to gurgle as it attempts to process this serving.
Dealing with Stomach Growling
- Leave It Alone. In most cases stomach gurgling does not require treatment. Unless you are experiencing excessive noise, it is best to leave it alone.
- Chew Food Slowly. Eating very quickly can put strain on your digestive system, which can lead to stomach growling. Take your time when chewing to adequately break down your food before swallowing.
- Change Diet. People who have excessive stomach growling should avoid foods that cause excessive gas. This includes food that are excessively high in fiber and salt, as well as beverages high in caffeine or carbonation. Stick with fresh fruits and vegetables or lean proteins to avoid digestive distress.
- Eat Less but Frequently. Eating heavy meals can cause stomach growling. Instead of eating 2-3 large meals a day, switch to eating 5-6 small meals at an even pace throughout the day. Reducing the gap between meals will keep the amount of food in your digestive tract even so your stomach will not growl.
- Avoid Swallowing Excessive Air. Swallowing excessive air can cause your stomach to growl as it passes through the intestines. Avoid licking candy, drinking through a straw and chewing gum, as this increases the amount of air you inhale while eating.
- Drink Enough Water. Drink at least 8 glasses of water each day to ensure that your food will be digested properly and to flush out excessive gas in the stomach.
- Drink Herbal Tea. Caraway, chamomile or peppermint tea can improve digestion, allowing you to calm your stomach and eliminate gurgling noises.
- Take Ginger Mixture. Crushing 10 grams of jiggery with an inch of ginger root creates a mixture that calms the stomach to help you avoid stomach grumbling.
- Stop Smoking. Smoking and drinking alcohol irritate the digestive system. Cutting down on the intake of these substances will help you eliminate stomach gurgling as your body works to digest your meals.
- Seek Medical Help. If home remedies are not successful in eliminating your stomach growling, seek medical assistance. This could be a sign that there is a more serious medical condition at hand.