It is perfectly natural for the stomach to growl every now and then. Some people however find that their stomach growls loudly and frequently which can be embarrassing, frustrating and difficult to control. The medical term for stomach growling is borborygmus.
Main causes of stomach growl
Most people associate stomach noises and growling with hunger. Growling does not necessarily occur when you are hungry but it is usually louder when you have an empty or partially empty stomach. The noise occurs from the muscles lining the stomach and the intestines when food begins to be broken down. If the stomach is partially full, the noises are more muffled and conversely if the stomach is relatively empty then the noises are much louder.
Some of the reasons for stomach noises:
- Being hungry – after eating, the brain sends signals to the intestines to start the digestive process which involves the rhythmic contractions of muscles. The contractions of the muscles causes the growling noise.
- Not chewing food properly which traps a lot of gas.
- Eating meals at irregular intervals – your brain sends signals usually at specific times resulting in the secretion of stomach acid anticipating the ingestion of food.
- Drinking too much coffee and carbonated drinks.
- Beans and legumes are known to cause gas in the intestines. Reducing their intake may be of benefit. Diets rich in grain food such as wheat, oats and rye are known to contribute to stomach noises.
- Not drinking sufficient water after eating a meal.
- High intake of dairy products – this does not apply to everyone but if you do suffer from stomach growling then reducing your total intake is a good idea. It may also be that you may be lactose intolerant.
- Stress and anxiety cause the abnormal secretion of stomach acids constantly resulting in growling.
- Dysbiosis – this is basically when the gut contains bacteria that are not beneficial to the body in greater amounts than the friendly ones which are required for overall health. This results in excessive amounts of gas.
- Antibiotics affect the microflora in the gut destroying not just the bad bacteria but also the good ones involved in the digestive process.
- Insufficient digestive enzyme production – as we age we produce less digestive enzymes resulting in improper digestion of all food groups including protein, carbohydrates and fibre rich foods. This is by far one of the largest reasons for a growling stomach because if you cannot digest food then it stays and ferments in the gut causing a build-up of gas which puts pressure on the stomach and intestinal muscles.
Steps to stop stomach growling
If you are experiencing stomach noises you may notice that they usually occur after you eat certain food or food types and this could be because you may be intolerant to these. The three big culprits for intolerance include:
- Lactose – lactose is a sugar found in dairy products. Lactose intolerance arises as a result of the lack of lactase which breaks this sugar down. Without sufficient lactase, you will definitely experience many effects including stomach growling.
- Gluten – gluten is a complex protein found in wheat, rye, oats and barley. Gluten is hard to digest and some people are intolerant to gluten resulting in stomach noises and other possible digestive concerns.
- Fructose – this is the main sugar found in fruits. Many people have trouble digesting fructose especially when taking large amounts.
The chances are that if the stomach noises are associated with food then it will be likely to be one of three groups mentioned above. The tips listed below may be of value.
- Sip herbal tea or drink lots of water after a meal to aid the digestive process
- Consider walking after a meal. This helps enhance digestion.
- Take a tablespoon of olive oil at breakfast. Olive oil’s fatty acids have been found to inhibit contractions in the intestines and thus reduce stomach noises.
- Avoid all carbonated drinks including sparkling water.
- Keep away from sugar laden food as well as spicy foods.
- Consider the use of a good digestive enzyme supplement
As mentioned earlier, digestive enzymes break down all food groups efficiently but unfortunately once we have reached mid-twenties, our digestive enzyme production is greatly reduced which means we cannot digest food quickly. Some foods naturally contain digestive enzymes however cooking food destroys virtually all the digestive enzymes. When we do not digest food efficiently, aside from causing stomach growling, the body is also starved of vitamins and vital nutrients from the foods we eat.
Enhanced Super Digestive Enzymes by Life Extension offers protein, carbohydrate, fat, fibre and lactose digesting enzymes. The dosage of Enhanced Super Digestive Enzymes is one or two capsules to be taken just before a main meal. The supplement may contain traces of wheat and milk residues from the manufacturing process and hence those with major intolerances may wish to avoid using this supplement.