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Why Does Your Stomach Growl?

cartoon illustration of a stomach frowningWhether it is during a meeting, at the library, or in a waiting room, your stomach seems to know when to embarrass you. But those growls and grumblings do not only happen when it is quiet or when you are hungry that is just when you notice them.

Growls are a normal part of the digestive system.

Your digestive system moves food and drink through your body absorbing what you need and excreting the remainder. The muscles in your digestive system contract moving the contents downward and churn the contents up. When gas or air mixes with the digestive content, your stomach or small intestine seems to growl during the contractions as the air is compressed.

Your digestive system works continuously.

The contractions occur whether there are contents in your system or not. Therefore, when you are full the growls are less noticeable as they are muffled by the contents, and when your system is empty, it can sound like a bear is in your stomach.

Ways to quiet the grumbles.

It is possible to quiet these natural noises a bit if they become a nuisance or embarrass you often. Try eating smaller more frequent meals, avoiding gaseous foods, eating slower, and refraining from talking and exercising while eating. Occasionally a virus causes growls or eating something disagreeable, so pay attention to your body’s clues and note any food or drink that sounds your alarm.

Excessive growling should be evaluated.

While occasional noises are a normal function of the digestive system, if you have excessive noises, you should visit a gastroenterologist. The grumbles may indicate poor absorption of nutrients in the small intestine, which could mean lactose intolerance or other food sensitivities. The growls could also be symptomatic of a more serious condition such as irritable bowel syndrome.

GI North, located in Cumming, GA, and serves patients in Cumming, Alpharetta, Roswell, Canton, Suwanee, and beyond, is a convenient and informed resource for all your gastroenterology needs. Dr. Quijano, who speaks fluent Spanish, and Dr. Cofrancesco are qualified gastroenterology specialists, who can help you discern the cause of those embarrassing grumbles. The professionals at GI North are here to help you, so contact our office by calling (404) 446-0600 with any questions or concerns.

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