What is That Gurgling Noise Inside You, and Why Is It Actually a Good Thing?

Posted December 17, 2006. There have been 32 comments

That gurgling sound comes from normal contractions in your intestines. A too-silent abdomen could mean constipation.

We've probably all experienced that loud gurgling noise after a meal. You know, the one where you wonder if everyone else could hear? If you've ever wondered why it happens and whether or not it's normal, this article will answer those questions.

The Process of Digestion

Let's start with what happens at mealtime. As you swallow your food, it passes through your esophagus and into your stomach. It is your stomach's job to mix, blend and store your food for preliminary digestion and as this happens, there are muscular contractions of the layers in the stomach wall.

As the food moves up and down in your stomach, hydrochloric acid (HCl) and enzymes are added to aid the digestion of your food.

Once your stomach has completed its job, your pyloric valve opens and the food goes into your small intestine, where various enzymes, bicarbonate and bile go to work to further digest your food.

Your small intestine, where 90% of nutrients are absorbed, is approximately 20 feet long. As your food passes through your small intestine on the way to your large intestine, its contractile waves move food around to enhance absorption. This is where the gurgling comes in.

Gurgling sounds are actually the result of air and liquid in your bowels, which move about by the contractions of your intestines. This is medically known as peristalsis. The sounds can be heard with a stethoscope over your abdomen and often, they are loud enough to be audible to people near you.

Leonard Smith, M.D., is a renowned gastrointestinal, vascular and general surgeon as well as an expert in the use of nutrition and natural supplementation. As a surgeon, Dr. Smith has first-hand experience of the problems associated with faulty digestion and the surgical necessities they can cause.

For the past 20 years, Dr. Smith has investigated many holistic medical programs, including nutrition, exercise, chelation, stress management and the relevance of mental and spiritual attitudes in healing. Acknowledging the effectiveness of whole organic foods and nutritional supplementation, Dr. Smith strives to stay on the leading edge of research and breakthroughs in the field of functional nutrition.

This same condition, although to a lesser degree, also occurs in your colon (large intestine) and may be accentuated before a bowel movement.

Is Gurgling Good or Bad?

That gurgling noise is actually a good thing! If your abdomen is totally silent most of the time, it may be an indicator of constipation.

A medical condition called ileus results when the muscle coat of the intestines "goes to sleep," resulting in little to no contractions. The result is constipation. Medications, narcotics, bed rest, surgery, back and other injuries can contribute to this condition. But there are other, often-overlooked causes for ileus or "silent abdomen." To understand them, we must look at the inner ecosystem and our "gut brain."

Constipation and Your Inner Ecosystem

Another cause for ileus is an unhealthy inner ecosystem. The inner ecosystem is made up of the friendly microflora (good bacteria) that reside in our intestines and keep us healthy and strong.

When pathogens, like the fungal species, candida, overtake the good bacteria in the gut, the inner ecosystem becomes damaged and immunity is compromised. Medical research in animals suggests that fungal toxins can penetrate the intestinal lining and cause the muscle coat of the intestines to "go to sleep," resulting in little to no contractions.

The Second Brain - Your "Gut Brain"

Inside your gut is a second brain, known as the enteric nervous system. This "gut brain" is often behind the butterflies we feel in our stomach or the "gut feelings" we sometimes get. Both brains communicate to one another, which is why symptoms like constipation and irritable bowel syndrome may seem difficult to distinguish as physiological or psychological.

Your Gut Brain and Motility

Your gut brain controls the motility and action of your intestines. Problems with motility, like constipation, are a very challenging area of medicine today. Causes for motility disorders range from stress to the balance of healthy microflora in your inner ecosystem.

Medical research continues to find solutions, which may involve drugs or creating implantable pacemakers in the abdomen to stimulate peristalsis for the most serious cases.

Heal Your Inner Ecosystem

An anti-fungal diet, like the Body Ecology diet, is a great way to ensure that your inner ecosystem is teeming with the healthy microflora that aid your digestion and elimination. This is especially important as we age, since aging is a common cause of silent abdomen.

As the immune system becomes less efficient with aging, it is easier for fungal overgrowths to occur, releasing toxins and slowing intestinal action.

However, an imbalance of pathogenic bacteria and fungus can occur at any age if your diet contains too many simple carbohydrates and sugars. This condition should be considered if your abdomen is too silent and constipation is present.

Interestingly, an unhealthy inner ecosystem can also cause too much gurgling, resulting in excessive elimination or diarrhea. The Body Ecology diet's probiotic-rich fermented foods are a great way to bring your inner ecosystem back into balance for either situation. Bring this article to your doctor as a way to discuss possible options for your situation.

Perhaps you feel fine and just hear that normal gurgling sound, and if you do, be happy that your nervous system is well balanced!

Post Categories: Candida Fermented Foods Irritable Bowel Syndrome Probiotics

32 Comments

  • Am glad its normal....I feel embarrassed especially during church tym

    Posted on Jul 6 at 1:32 am

  • I'm 16 and have been dealing with this stomach gurgling since my sophomore year. I can't sit in my class for hours without freaking out about my noise making these noises. It sounds like I'm passing gas or a weird vibration type of noise in my lower abdominal. I'm glad to see others dealing with my problem, but I have no idea how to stop it.

    Posted on May 31 at 2:45 pm

  • Since childhood i have dealt with the noisy embarrassing stomach noises. As an adult i realized that all that embarrassment could've been avoided if i had known the my body does not like wheat. I have a crazy wheat intolerance. My gut feels amazing when i fast from wheat.

    If you feel something's not right, you're probably correct. Investigate. Figure out out. Try yogurt. But also realize that the biggest culprits of tummy discomfort are wheat and dairy.

    Posted on May 16 at 5:19 am

  • Hi everyone, I had issues with a tremendous amount of noise coming from my guts (not stomach). I tried a number of different things and found the only thing that worked was for me to go a very basic diet of bland (not white) food. I would have melon for breakfast and drink water or an herbal tea. I would eat the same food for lunch and dinner and I kept this up for a week. I began to slowly introduce different foods I would regularly enjoy until I was able to confirm that the culprit was certain kinds of dairy that would send my bowels stirring. It was a time of trial and error to figure out what my body would no longer tolerate and to be realistic about not indulging in it anymore. This may not work for all, but it could help some understand what their bodies are sensitive to.

    Posted on May 7 at 10:05 am

  • Ever since i had C Dif last year i have had this awful gurgling constantly, even probiotics does not help.

    Posted on Dec 23 at 11:20 am

  • To all those who are plagued by a growling stomach: Ive never heard that it is a healthy condition. Au contraire, according to my extensive research, the condition is caused by an imbalance of intestinal flora; The growling is you're body's way of telling you that you need more probiotics. I would suggest that you all buy a multi-strain probiotic with at least 10 or 15B CFUs. Give it a go because you can never have too many probiotics.

    Posted on Sep 24 at 5:29 pm

  • The only good thing about this is that I now know that I am not alone. I have been dealing with this for 25 years now. Doctors always tell me there is nothing that can be done about it. The sounds coming from my stomach are so loud and very embarrassing. Other people can hear them. It has nothing to do with being hungry. Some comment, some do not. The noises do take over your life. It is the main reason I started and finished my MBA online. It is the reason that I did not want to take the test that will be required to be tax preparer. I hate to go to places that are quiet. The noises are worse at ties. I start the day with a relatively quiet stomach. The noises get worse as the day progresses. The noises are the reason I like meetings and other close encounters at work as early in the morning as possible. I wish the noises would go away but I think I am stuck with them for the rest of my life. Thanks for reading this.

    Posted on Aug 2 at 5:49 pm

  • A fairly large portion of my large and small intestine was removed 3 1/2 years ago due to Bowel/Colonic Cancer, ever since then the very loud noise from my gut has been my companion. I put that down to the fact that I don't pack a full set of plumbing and the workload was increased to what was left. It is not uncommon for me to have two to three bowel motions per day. To compensate for what could be a reduced term of nutrient extraction, I now eat five small meals per day. This appears to be working as weight remains stable.
    You really need to listen to your body and observe yourself, this may provide early detection of serious problems.

    Posted on Nov 3 at 12:52 am

  • I am 75 yrs old and have had this problem for a very long time, with all the noise in my intestinal tract. I had to work in public and learned a long time ago to make fun of myself when I am embarrassed by it. Say something like my tiger wants out or if I don't eat soon my stomach is going to eat me. People will laugh at you and think no more about it. For the most part it is good news. It,s when your stomach becomes silent that you are in trouble and it could be serious.
    The walls of your digestive tract won't move the food down. You become packed in there. You bloat and have a hard time breathing. Your breath becomes very foul smelling. You have become very constipated. Now is the time to become nervous and embarrassed. BE HAPPY FOLKS.

    Posted on Oct 16 at 3:51 pm

  • hello everybody, I have this stomach gurgling problems now 3 years. and it takes over my life! it sucks! In class i can never concentrate cuz im afraid that my stomach might gurgle. and now the biggest problem are the exams, i don't know how i can make an exam of 3 hours without stomach gurgling!! I can have the best grades ever, but cuz i cant concentrate, and i think the whole time of my stomach i have much lower grades. so yes it takes over my life. if i'm with my boyfriend im scared to lay in bed with him, and be with him in silent places. so it becomes a social problem to. if i could take online classes i would but my school does not allow that, and any other school too, cuz i dont life in the usa. if someone has tips or ideas please share! i will be glad to hear from you!

    Posted on Oct 9 at 4:47 am

  • Hi there, I cannot thank yu enugh for sharing your story, I have been suffering with this for months now, I avoid any sort of gathering with my friends due to this. I always thought it was a bad thing...thank God it ain't a bad thing @ all.

    Posted on Sep 7 at 9:03 am

  • Hello People,
    I too have had a loud and rather noisy stomach for a long time. This has many times led me to avoid certain types of public gatherings, and even certain types of employment due to the fear of attending meetings while making all manner of strange noises. I have found the following things useful:
    1. My stomach makes most of its noise, and most of its most embarrassing noises (such as a high pitched whine sort of like a whistle) when I am constipated. I now try to ensure that I have regular bowel movements by eating prunes, adding fiber such as wheat germ, and drinking large quantities of water, in addition to an otherwise generally healthy diet.
    2. Trying not to fear it. This is important and I came across it in a book on IBS that stated that we can become so terrified of these episodes, that we contribute to them through the fear and the stress and so become our own worst enemy. If I sit in a group of people and spend the whole time worrying that my stomach is about to embarrass me, I actually contribute to the chance that it will because I am not relaxed, not natural, and am flooding my system with a stress related emotional response to the situation. It is hard to just accept that this is who I am, and sometimes I will have to explain to people or make a joke, but that is the best way to go and ultimately leads to less of these noises and not more.

    I hope this is of some help, if anyone has other tips please add them!

    Posted on Aug 25 at 6:32 pm

  • thank god these sounds are good but is it possible that these sounds may not be audible to others as it seems as to be farting and its sometimes quite embarrassing in front of others when this sound comes

    Posted on Aug 14 at 1:44 am

  • once when i was in first grade i was late for school and i missed breakfast. well rite in the middle of silent reading,my stomach decided to tell me quite loudly how empty it was.i was sooo embarrassed.

    Posted on Jul 9 at 3:54 am

  • Hi all. At least i know that i am not alone anymore. I also have been dealing with a VERY LOUD stomach for about a year now. I am only 20 and i just cant imagine living the rest of my life dealing with this awful "condition". My stomach tends to make the most noise in the morning and at night, mainly when i am lying down. I really hate it! It wont stop gurgling no matter what i do..
    I cant imagine being in any type of intimate situation and having to explain my stomach to the other person :/ how embarrassing will that be.. :(
    I am in college and its just now starting to interfere with my studies. I hate going to class now because i get so nervous knowing that at anytime the peopel around me will hear the volcano about to erupt in my tummy. Sometimes it sounds like i am passing gas!
    So, this is why i think i am just going to have to take my classes online for now on or until i graduate. Going to school now just stresses me out now and days.
    Even though i have been dealing with this for only a year i can already tell that its is going to pretty much "take over" my life.. i know i cant be the only person in this situation seeing that so many peopel suffer from this so if anyone has any advice on how to deal with an incredibly loud bubbly stomach i would truly appreciate it!
    (by the way, i don't have food allergies of any sort, and i am not constipated at all)

    Posted on Jul 1 at 6:57 pm

  • Hi, I feel the same sounds, but thanks to God, they are good things.

    Posted on May 19 at 1:44 pm

  • I had this gurgling thing for a very time, and I didn't bother or worry what people think. Thank God, I have just found out it is not a bad thing after all. My thoughts of the gurgling sound is that it is saying "the stomach had eaten enough, thank you". It sounded a bit like the frog's sound I think.

    Posted on May 5 at 4:00 am

  • i have a problem though: imediately after i swallow that gurgling sound comes from the neck/esophagus area. it's more like a spilling sound, and it's pretty loud as others can hear it. and i was thinking if this might be a sign of GERD ? had an endoscopy but the doctor said he saw nothing. a previous doctor told me i do have reflux. it's annoying as i don't know which one to believe and i also have this candida on my tongue.

    Posted on Apr 17 at 6:09 am

  • thank you for sharing your stories i to have the gurgling stomach i thoughy there was something wrong with me. then my wife gooled gurlingstomach. now i do not feel alone with all this noise now i am not worried again thank you. nick calgary ab.

    Posted on Apr 11 at 3:01 pm

  • Hey for some of the people who are constipated, this suggestion may sound weird but after a painful three day constipation with lack of sleep I read how some guy went to the chiropractor to adjust his back. So afterwards I tried the idea and little did I know my spine was "sublaxed" on the nerve for the digestion. Ever since the chiropractor its been alot easier for me to use the bathroom without the fear of constipation as well as other health benefits. I recommend trying it out if the whole fiber diet does not work.

    Posted on Apr 9 at 12:35 pm

  • I also deal with a lot of stomach gurgling but I guess it is expected with my stomach issues. I have been diagnosed with Diverticulitis, IBS and delayed stomach emptying there is a more scientific name but means the same. I also take Bentyl. Amitiza and Mira lax. I had been taking reglan with great results but was taken off it due to so many possible side effects.So I can not have any Bran or fiber. And also can not have any Motrin or Ibuprofen for arthritis in my neck which makes life difficult. Any suggestions

    Posted on Mar 18 at 11:29 pm

  • Hello, everyone

    I've been reading the comments made regarding the embarassing bubbling and loud growling sounds coming from ones stomach. It's really something how just when you think your alone that there are so many people who ae suffering from this. As I am writing my stomach is making
    very loud and uncontrolable sounds to the point where it's making me edgy and I don't know what to do with myself. I feel embarassed because it's so loud that both my husband and daughter heard it and they weren't in the same room with me. On top of that it a continueous
    thing. I have been experiencing this since the age of 16. Now, I'm 37 it's even worse. Maybe my body is lacking something. I know I probally have a condition but I'm no doctor . Thanks for sharing your stories. At least were not alone. There has to be a remedy.

    Posted on Mar 16 at 5:28 pm

  • White rice, or white bread, white Pasta etc. Is not good for your digestion. It acts like glue in your intestines. Probiotics are the way to go, along with lots of water and at some form of exercise should help. Good luck!

    Posted on Mar 14 at 8:52 am

  • Oh god ..I am battling with stomach gurgling for over 2 years now 2009 , I was diagnosed with IBS previous year (2011). I have become so sick of this noises in my stomach and abdomen that I quit going to quiter places and sitting in class at silent lectures is like 'survival of the fittest' I dont know what to do and I havent tried nay medicines .I am 25 now and I am so sad and depressed coz of this . I am restricting myself from socializing ..and sumtimes the sounds are so embarrassing, that it gives and impression I have passed a loud Gas ..! God cure me ..please as Iam typing I am producing so many strange noises ...as if a kitten is hiding in my stomach ..

    Posted on Feb 23 at 12:55 pm

  • I have been battling a very loud growling and gurgling stomach for many years now. It has progressively gotten worse and it limits what I can do in a quiet setting.
    It is so loud that it keeps me up at night.
    It is worse when I am lying down.

    What type of doctor should I see or are there natural things that I can try first?

    Oh, I am a healthy almost 40 year old and I am not constipated and do not have any other issues that I am in tune to.

    Please help....I am so tired of living with this.

    Thanks

    Posted on Feb 1 at 5:00 pm

  • I have this a lot as well. but I read somewhere that a symptom of Celiac Disease which I have. The only thing I hate is how loud it is and how weird it makes me feel.

    Posted on Dec 16 at 11:43 pm

  • I have been having this just about all the time gurgling sound coming from what seems to be the sides and sometimes back, when I get the gurgling sound my stomach becomes upset and become really gassy and it have a very foul oder. I was just told by my Dr that it all has to do with my constipation.. Well I finally have my constipation under control but yet still have this gurgling very frequent.. Sometime very loud and very painful to the point at times I feel I'm going to get sick.. Please give me some insite on what I may be really dealing with.. Cause I wonder if I should seek another Dr

    Posted on Oct 13 at 6:41 pm

  • I have been having stomach pains/constipation and those gurgiling noises in my stomach and the pain is near my belly button what could this be?

    Posted on Oct 13 at 7:23 am

  • My belly gurgles and gurgles all day long and it is embarrasing as i feel everyone can hear it. I do have a liver condition but this is way lower in the body. AmI drinking too much fluids (water)?
    I am not really constipated, though.

    Posted on Oct 9 at 1:36 am

  • If you are not used to eating fiber, it will make you bloat up and cause a great deal of pain! You have to ease into a high-fiber diet, and when you eat more fiber, you also have to drink more water, otherwise you will end up with a blockage causing severe pain and distress. Your constipation could be caused by something as simple as not having enough water in your diet. I, too, do not understand why your doctor would recommend white rice for constipation. It would seem that recommendation would only help if you were having diarrhea. I would recommend a second doctor's visit, and to increase your water intake if it is not high enough. Remember, though, you can also have too much water, which could kill you. Everything is a balance.

    Posted on Sep 30 at 12:15 pm

  • If you suffer from constipation, how could you be told to eat white rice ? that makes things worse. That is meant to stop diarrohea as white rice is astringent itself. People telling you to eat fiber are ignoring other issues, because before taking actually that, you should be tested if you have some slight obstruction in your gut which laxatives could cause great pain because the gut is hustled to go fast while it encounters a bottleneck which, in turn, causes very painful spasms. I would suggest going to the doctor and have the matter researched, ecography how however they deem the best.

    Posted on Aug 31 at 2:59 am

  • Thank you, for your article is been of a great help, I suffer from to much constipation, and a lot of people telling me to eat fiber, but then I got so much pain my stomach got like a big pumkin, my Dc recomend to eat white rice.
    ,what is your opinion??

    Posted on Aug 7 at 9:26 am

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