People are only just realising what happens when your stomach growls – and are horrified

By Staff 6 Min Read

We all know the feeling of our stomach rumbling when we’re hungry, but do you know why our bodies make that sound? The answer is making people wish they’d never found out

We’ll never look at our stomachs rumbling the same again.

Picture this: it’s lunchtime, you’ve yet to get away from your desk or workstation to tuck into your sandwich, and you hear that familiar growl coming from your stomach. That must mean you’re hungry, right? Well, yes, but according to one doctor, that’s not really what the noise means. It turns out our bodies are actually always making that rather horrifying gurgling noise on the inside, it’s just that we usually can’t hear it.

The doctor explained that the rumbling noise actually comes from our small intestines, and it’s caused by your guts “contracting and squeezing digested food”. Ew.

Doctor Karan Raj shared a video on his TikTok account, @dr.karanr, in which he said: “When your stomach growls, it’s not your stomach. It’s actually your intestines – specifically your small intestine. Those demonic wails are the sounds of your gut pipes contracting and squeezing digested food, called chyme, through your internal plumbing. It’s the human equivalent of squeezing the bottom of a tube of toothpaste to get the last bit out.

“Contrary to popular belief, the growling doesn’t just happen when you’re hungry, it happens 24/7 – and most of the time you can’t hear it unless you’re listening with a stethoscope. The reason why people think it means you’re hungry is because it’s typically a lot louder when your digestive tract is empty, which means you’re probably overdue for a meal and there’s no food there to act as a biological sound dampener.”

Dr Raj also said the food you eat, as well as other conditions you may have, can also make your stomach growl louder. He added: “Other things which can make this sound even louder include excessive air swallowing, stress, fizzy drinks, feeling nervous, irritable bowel syndrome.”

And upon learning the truth about their noisy stomachs, commenters on the video were horrified – with many saying they could have done without the added information. One person said: “Thank you for making the experience worse,” while another wrote: “Thank you for this information. It makes me so uncomfortable I might cry, but it’s so interesting!”

If you do suffer from loud stomach rumbling, Dr Raj suggests drinking peppermint tea. He said: “The menthol in that helps to relax the walls of the intestines and can alleviate pain and bloating too.”

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