What Makes Your Stomach Growl?

Hands in shape of heart over woman's tummy

by Dr Preethi Daniel, Clinical Director at London Doctors Clinic.

Dr Preethi Daniel

Dr Preethi Daniel

Borborygmi is that growl your stomach makes at the most awkward times! A slow rumble from your tummy during a meeting can be very embarrassing and distracting for you and others around you!

Fear not, there is nothing to worry about here. The sound is actually air and fluid moving around inside your stomach and intestines.

Although causes of a loud stomach are not fully known, there are some theories. Complex grains such as those oats you had for breakfast or quinoa for lunch could cause the stomach and bowels to work hard processing them and creating more activity and therefore sound! A high sugar diet makes the intestines very active too. High fructose fruits are a common culprit.

It goes without saying that legumes, pulses and beans and cruciferous vegetables (i.e yep, those that actually like Brussel Sprouts!) that cause excess gas in your bowels are definitely going to contribute to borborygmi.

Balanced diet foods

However, even eating at odd times or an unbalanced meal high in sugar and fat can also be a causative factor. Eat regularly. Interestingly, hunger causes this sound by sending messages to the brain which then triggers gastro-intestinal muscles to contract and release digestive fluids.

Pork Burger

Prevent it by eating good portions sizes, three times a day avoiding fizzy drinks, fatty, fried foods and including all food groups in every meal.

Directly above view of woman eating pasta

Pic: iStockphoto

Remember, if you notice bloating or abdominal pain or change in bowel habit alongside this seemingly innocent rumble, then see a doctor. Lactose intolerance or gluten intolerance or, very rarely, something sinister like an ulcer or even cancer can be the cause.

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Moira Chisholm

I'm the Health Editor on My Weekly and am always interested to hear what's new in this fascinating field. I also deal with the gardening, shopping pages, general features, our website content and the Ask Helen problem page. I have a special interest in Christmas content because I'm on the team for Your Best Ever Christmas Magazine, too!