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1/18/12

Why Your Stomach Makes Strange Funny Sounds

All that funny gurgling and other strange noises from your stomach can be explained. 
“Funny noises from the stomach or digestive tract are made up of two components: the contents,” and “contractions of the stomach and intestines,” says Edward Cruz Paredez, MD, section chief of gastroenterology at Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla.

“The reason why some people make more funny noises than others,” continues Dr. Paredez, “is due to the variable amounts of gas/fluid and solid contents, and the strength or spasticity of the contractions.”

Louder sounds are not correlated to disease. “The loudest stomach noises usually represent a large amount of intestinal air and fluid, which travel like bubbles through segments of the intestine like hundreds of internal ‘burps.’”

Strange stomach noises can also be caused by swallowing too much air while drinking any fluid or even while gum chewing. “Many people swallow excessive air because of anxiety or nervous conditions: aerophagia,” Dr. Paredez says.

Suppressing the urge to let out a burp will also potentially cause the stomach to make sounds.  

Dr. Paredez adds, “Others have excessive intestinal gas due to fermentation of sugars such as lactose, or fermentation of gassy foods such as beans or fiber, and this causes loud intestinal noises.”

Stomach noises are not at all uncommon with IBS—irritable bowel syndrome.

Dr. Paredez explains, “Most of the time no testing is necessary to diagnose a patient with IBS unless there are atypical symptoms or warning symptoms such as severe pain or bleeding. Classic symptoms include anything from constipation to diarrhea multiple times a day,” especially shortly after eating.  Other symptoms of IBS include abdominal cramps and abdominal pain.

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