Abdominal Sounds

Abdominal Sounds


Abdominal sounds are also known as bowel sounds. They take place during digestion.
Abdominal sounds are hollow sounds made within the small and large intestines of the stomach during digestion.
These hollow sounds can be similar to those made by water moving through pipes. They can be high-pitched, gurgling, rumbling or growling that even you can hear them.
Although they are not bad sounds, their frequent occurrences become an emergency case.
When other symptoms such as fever, feelings of fullness, excess gas, frequent diarrhea, constipation, sudden weight loss, nausea and vomiting, heartburn that does not respond to OTC (over-the-counter) treatments or bloody stools, etc. frequently come alongside these sounds, medical assistance and care are urgently needed.

Causes of abdominal sounds

Growling of your stomach is most likely related to the movement of digestive juices, liquids, food, and air through your intestines.

Hunger is one of the commonest reasons for stomach growling.

According to a recent publication by the Endocrinology and Metabolism Clinics of North America, anytime a person is hungry, hormones in your brain will activate your desire to eat. This in turn sends signals to your stomach and intestines. The end result is the contraction of your digestive system, and of course, the sounds you hear from your abdomen.

Also, after eating, your stomach may growl or grumble as your intestines digest the food. Your gastrointestinal tract has muscular walls. The walls contract to squeeze and mix the food through your intestines to enable its digestion.

This process is known as peristalsis. Peristalsis creates the rumbling sound that you hear after eating. It may occur a couple of hours after eating and at night when you want to sleep.

It is important to note that abdominal sounds may be cplaced in three distinct categories: normal, hypoactive, or hyperactive.

Hypoactive bowel sounds indicate a slowing of the intestinal activity. Conversely, hyperactive sounds are louder and are associated with increased activity in the intestine. These sounds may occur when a person has diarrhea or after eating.

Sometimes, one may experience occasional hyperactive and hypoactive bowel sounds. These are quite normal. However, when they occur frequently, or are accompanied by other abnormal symptoms, then there’s a possibility of an underlying medical problem.

Abdominal sounds

Tests for abdominal sounds

  1. Auscultation: After a medical review of your history, a stethoscope will be used to check the sounds made by your heart. When there is a bowel obstruction, high-pitched sounds can be heard from the stethoscope. Although these high-pitched sounds can often be heard even without the aid of a stethoscope.
  2. Blood tests:  Different blood tests are carried out to rule out organ damage, infection, or inflammation.
  3. Endoscopy:  It is a test that uses a camera attached to a small, flexible tube to capture pictures within the stomach or intestines.
  4. CT scan: X-ray images are taken to view the abdominal region.

Treatment for abdominal sounds

As usual, treatment will be based on the cause of the symptoms especially for missing, hyperactive, and hyperactive sounds.

  1. Limiting the intake of foods that have the tendency to produce gas in your intestines is a good way to start. Carbonated drinks, fruits, whole-grain products, artificial sweeteners, beans, and vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts, etc. are examples of what to watch out for. If you have lactose intolerance, you might have to avoid taking dairy products.
  2. If you have irritable bowel syndrome, then you might have to use probiotics.
  3. Avoid swallowing air as much as possible. You can do this by not eating too quickly or drink through a straw. When you chew gum, you can be predisposed to having excess air in your intestine.

Medical emergencies

Some cases of abdominal pain will definitely require medical help. They are;

Bowel evacuation

If you experience bleeding or upon diagnosis has severe damage or obstruction of the bowel, you will have to be placed on emergency care in the hospital. Your stomach or intestines will be emptied by passing a pipe through your nose or mouth. This is to allow your stomach and intestine to rest and this might mean that you will be allowed to eat for a very short time.

Fluid administration

This is also done to allow the intestine to rest. Fluids are injected into your body through your veins.

Surgical approach

This might be a treatment option when there is a serious intestinal blockage, injury, or infections.


For certain gastrointestinal conditions like ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s diseases, medications will be prescribed for you by your doctor.

Outlook for abdominal sounds

If you notice frequent and unusual abdominal sounds, please seek medical care. This is because certain complications can be life-threatening if they are left untreated. For instance, tissue death can occur from intestinal blockage due to a cut off in blood supply to the intestine.
Tumors or Crohn’s disease may require long-term treatment.

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