Every one of us knows that heart makes noises but what are these stomach noises? Yes stomach too makes noises. Don’t worry they are not harmful. In fact, stomach noises serve as useful indicator to show you that gastrointestinal tract is functioning. Here is an overview of stomach noises, conditions that result in abnormal abdominal noises and precautions to be taken to prevent abnormal stomach noises.
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What are Stomach Noises?
Movement of food through the intestines results in sounds which are termed as abdominal sounds. These low noises echo through the hollow abdomen and can be heard with the help of a stethoscope. These sounds give information about the health condition of the body. In certain instances there will not be any bowel sound due to build up of fluids, gas or the food material in the intestines. It is termed as Ileus. This medical condition can develop due to various reasons.
Abnormal Abdominal Noises
The abdominal noises can be very low are very loud depending on the bowel condition. Accordingly they are studied as hypoactive bowel sounds and hyperactive bowel sounds.
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Hypoactive Bowel Sounds
These sounds are less loud than the normal bowel sounds. This is an indication for lowered intestinal activity. It is normal to have hypoactive bowel sounds when the body is taking rest, or after use of certain medicines or immediately after abdominal surgery. Lower sound is also an indication for constipation.
Other causes for hypoactive bowel sounds include
- Breaking of intestines or death of bowel tissue results in very low or no abdominal sounds.
- Pregnancy constipation characterized by reduced bowel movements due to pressure of growing fetus and formation of dry feces due to increased water absorption by the body.
- Radiations used in treatment of Zollinger Ellison Syndrome characterized by tumors in pancreas or duodenum can also cause hypoactive stomach noises.
- General anesthesia used during surgeries and spinal anesthesia.
Hyperactive Abdominal Sounds
These sounds are very loud and can be heard even without a stethoscope. This is an indication for increased bowel activity which generally occurs immediately after having food. Louder bowel sounds will also be observed in diarrhea.
Other serious causes for hyperactive bowel sounds that need immediate attention include
- Bowel obstruction.
- The high pH of soda water irritates the stomach and increases the secretion of calcium ions to neutralize the high pH.
Bowel sounds can also be produced due to stomach irritation. The soda and osteoporosis relation is also very strong.
Hence, it is not good to take more amounts of carbonated water.
- Increased intake of hard foods to digest such as chicken nuggets, chocolates, citrus juices and spicy foods cause the intestines to work hard. This may produce intense bowel sounds.
- Food allergies.
- Intestinal bleeding.
- Ulcerative colitis.
Evaluation of Stomach Noises
Symptoms such as gas, nausea, vomiting and presence or absence of bowel movements are used to evaluate the stomach noises. If any of these symptoms accompany the hypo or hyper bowel movements for a long time then it is essential to consult the health care provider for further diagnosis and treatment.
When to see a Physician?
It is very important to contact the physician immediately if any of the symptoms such as bleeding from rectum, persistent diarrhea or vomiting or constipation and nausea are observed. When you see physician make sure to reveal all your symptoms without hiding any of the details. Answer all the questions your physician would ask correctly as your physician would suggest diagnostic tests according to the observed symptoms.
Diagnostic tests to identify the actual cause for abnormal abdominal sounds
- Blood tests
- Abdominal X-ray and CT scan.
Abnormal bowel sounds are controlled by initially emptying the stomach contents. Then you will be asked not to take any oral diet so as to make your intestine rest. Intravenous fluids are administered to meet the energy demands. Medications may be given as per requirement. In more severe cases surgery may be performed immediately.
Simple steps to control bowel sounds that are not serious
As mentioned in majority of the cases bowel sounds are not very serious and they can be controlled by making simple changes in diet and lifestyle. The following changes can bring bowel sounds under control.
- Avoid consuming diet poor in calories and nutrients.
- Avoid foods that are either allergic or intolerant such as milk, beans etc.
- Reduce the intake of carbonated drinks and other beverages.
- Quit habits such as smoking, chewing gum and eating too fast without chewing.
- Keep stress away from you.
- Do not use tight belt or waistbands.
These simple changes in diet and lifestyle can help you in regulating the bowel sounds without using any medications. These changes even help in improving overall health.