What does a rumbling tummy mean?

Did you know that those gurgling noises your stomach makes are actually called ‘borborygmi’? These digestive sounds can be perfectly healthy, or they can indicate an underling condition.

If your stomach gurgles once in a while when you are hungry, or just after a meal, this is usually not an indication of anything more than a healthy digestive system.

Loud, frequent abdominal noises are what you need to watch out for. Gurgling, growling or high-pitched noises can be a sign that something isn’t right in your digestive system, especially when accompanied by one or more of these other symptoms:

  • excess gas or ‘wind’ pains
  • feeling of fullness
  • constipation
  • diarrhoea
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • blood in stools
  • stubborn heartburn
  • sudden weight loss.

Unusual tummy rumbling accompanied by other symptoms could indicate any number of issues. Some of these include:

  • food intolerances
  • food allergies
  • an ulcer
  • infections
  • digestive tract bleeding
  • inflammatory bowel disease
  • a hernia
  • a blood clot
  • an obstruction of the bowel or intestines.

If you have any concerns about your digestive issues, it is best to visit a medical professional. In the first instance, they will note down your ongoing symptoms and listen to your gut, and they might perform a manual examination of the abdomen to check for any localised pain or inflammation. They may also suggest you have a CT scan, an endoscopy or a blood test if there are any further concerns.

If your doctor cannot find any serious underlying issues, or they suggest a diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), you may find it helpful to look into food intolerances. Intolerances to FODMAPS (long-chain sugars found in many foods) are often under-diagnosed, and some people find relief from their gut symptoms by cutting out FODMAP-heavy foods.

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Five ways to improve gut health
How farting is good for your health
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