Medical advice for a noisy stomach

Written by contributing writer
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A noisy stomach can cause great embarrassment, but it is seldom something to be particularly worried about from a health standpoint. We all know that letting our hunger get out of control can sometimes lead to a stomach "growling," but others have a noisy stomach just after eating or sometimes when food doesn't seem to be an issue at all.

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Significance

Gas is the primary cause for most intestinal noise. Having more gas than others around you may be cause for further embarrassment, but it isn't necessarily cause for concern. According to the National Institutes of Health, the average person can expect to pass gas approximately 15 times each day, producing around two quarts. Because this number seems so high to the average person, many people mistakenly believe they are far out of range when it comes to how much gas they pass. In truth, most of these people fall comfortably into the middle range.

Effects

In addition to intestinal noise, gas often gives itself away in the symptom of burping. Most of this gas is not caused internally by the stomach, but rather through the swallowing of excessive air. This is why consuming carbonated beverages, including soda and beer, can often lead to increased burping. Smoking cigarettes and chewing gum are also primary culprits when it comes to producing burping gas. It could also come about as a matter of eating too quickly, thus swallowing more air along with the consumption of food.

Types

Heartburn is another major reason for a build-up of intestinal gas. This is one of the reasons that should not be overlooked. With the reflux of acid into the oesophagus, the common reaction is to swallow frequently in order to push the acid back down, as well as dilute it with saliva. While this may serve as a temporary fix, it can also serve to increase the amount of air swallowed, and thus cause more burping. But this isn't the serious part. Doctors warn that frequent heartburn can lead to esophageal erosion. The oesophagus is never given a chance to repair itself, and over-the-counter heartburn remedies only mask the symptoms. Seek medical advice if you suffer heartburn more than twice a week.

Theories/Speculation

About the growling stomach: It may come as a surprise to learn that it isn't the stomach that's making that noise after all. The sounds we hear from our midsection are actually caused by the intestines. They create this sound as they contract and release in the abdomen. This can also be caused by the swallowing of air, just as in the case of burping. The contraction of the abdomen is usually an attempt to push air through the system. Also, like flatulence and burping, it's nothing to worry about, as long as the problem hasn't become consistent. Beans, fibrous fruits, sodas and foods that employ fake sweeteners are common culprits.

Prevention/Solution

Unfortunately, there are few ways to significantly cut down on a noisy stomach or, in the big picture, on the amount of gas you produce. If you feel you're producing far more gas than you should, consult a physician and rule out the possibility of IBS, or irritable bowel syndrome. Otherwise, most of your modifications will come in the diet department. First, cut down on activities that will cause you to swallow excessive air, including smoking, drinking carbonated beverages, especially through a straw, and eating meals too quickly. In addition, it may be helpful to keep a food diary, noting which foods cause the most noise in your stomach, and avoiding or cutting back on those foods.

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