Does this sound familiar? You’re sitting there in class and lunch is ages away! You’re trying hard to pay attention, but your stomach starts distracting you.
Why does this happen? You probably already knew you were getting hungry. Do you really need your stomach to chime in with groans and weird sounds?
Everyone’s stomach growls, gurgles, grumbles or rumbles from time to time. Think of it as reminder that your body is constantly working hard to keep you in tip-top shape.
The grumbling you hear comes from the stomach and the small intestine and makes noises not just when you’re hungry.
As the muscles of your digestive system push food through the digestion process, the food gets broken down to be used by your body. In addition to the food and liquids that move through your digestive system, gas and air bubbles also get into the mixture.
It is these pockets of gas and air that make the sounds you know as stomach growling. They’re not as loud when you have food in your stomach, because the food absorbs some of the sound.
That’s why when your stomach is empty these sounds are much more noticeable and so we associate stomach growling with being hungry.
A couple hours after you eat, your stomach sends signals to your brain to get your digestive system muscles working again.
This process cleans up any food that was missed earlier. The stomach muscle contractions help to make you hungry so your body gets what it needs.
When these muscle contractions get going again and your stomach is empty, those gas and air pockets make a lot more noise that you hear as stomach growling.
There’s actually a scientific word for the noises your stomach makes. It’s called borborygmi after a Greek word (borborygmus) that’s an onomatopoeia: a word that imitates the sound of what it describes!
If you get tired of your tummy grumbling, eat several smaller meals each day rather than a few large ones. Keeping more food in your stomach throughout the day will help to quiet those annoying noises!