What’s that gurgling noise inside you, and why is it a good thing?
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 questioned why it happens and whether or not it’s normal, this article will give you answers.
This is what’s going on in your body when you digest
A too-silent abdomen could mean constipation. The BE Cultured Veggie Kit is one of the easiest tools you can use at home to make your own cultured vegetables that support healthy digestion.
Let’s start with mealtime:
- As you swallow your food, it passes through your esophagus and into your stomach.
- It’s your stomach’s job to mix, blend, and store your food for preliminary digestion.
- 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.
The food goes into your small intestine. There, various enzymes, bicarbonate, and bile go to work to further digest your food.
Your small intestine, where 90 percent of nutrients are absorbed, is approximately 20 feet long.1 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 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. Often, they’re loud enough to be audible to people near you.
This same condition, although to a lesser degree, also occurs in your colon (large intestine). It may accentuate before a bowel movement.
Is it good or bad to have a gurgling gut?
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,” causing little to no contractions. The outcome is constipation. Medications, narcotics, bed rest, surgery, and 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.”
Another explanation for ileus may be an unhealthy inner ecosystem. The inner ecosystem is made up of the friendly microbes (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 may be compromised. It’s possible that fungal toxins may penetrate the intestinal lining and might cause the muscle coat of the intestines to “go to sleep,” resulting in little to no contractions.
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Getting to know the second brain — or your ‘gut-brain’
Inside your gut is a second brain, or 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.2
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 microbes in your inner ecosystem.
Medical research continues to find solutions, which may involve prescribing (often ineffective) drugs or inserting implantable pacemakers in the abdomen to stimulate peristalsis for the most serious cases.3
Taking steps to heal your inner ecosystem can also help:
- An anti-fungal diet, like the Body Ecology Diet, is a great way to help ensure that your inner ecosystem is teeming with the healthy microbes that aid your digestion and elimination.
- This is especially important as we age since aging may be a common cause of a silent abdomen. As the immune system becomes less efficient with age, it’s easier for fungal overgrowths to occur, potentially releasing toxins and slowing intestinal action.
- However, an imbalance of pathogenic bacteria and fungus may 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. Body Ecology’s probiotic-rich fermented foods can help bring your inner ecosystem back into balance for either situation. Bring this article to your doctor as a way to discuss possible treatment options.
If you feel fine and happen to hear that normal gurgling sound? Be happy in knowing your nervous system is well-regulated.
- 1. Ogobuiro I, Gonzales J, Tuma F. Physiology, Gastrointestinal. [Updated 2020 Oct 27]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2020 Jan.
- 2. Israelyan N, Del Colle A, Li Z, Park Y, Xing A, Jacobsen JPR, Luna RA, Jensen DD, Madra M, Saurman V, Rahim R, Latorre R, Law K, Carson W, Bunnett NW, Caron MG, Margolis KG. Effects of Serotonin and Slow-Release 5-Hydroxytryptophan on Gastrointestinal Motility in a Mouse Model of Depression. Gastroenterology. 2019 Aug;157(2):507-521.e4. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2019.04.022. Epub 2019 May 7. PMID: 31071306; PMCID: PMC6650329.
- 3. Robert J Fakheri, MD, Frank M Volpicelli, MD, Things We Do for No Reason: Prescribing Docusate for Constipation in Hospitalized Adults. J. Hosp. Med 2019;2;110-113. doi:10.12788/jhm.3124.