I’m not talking about hunger sounds, either, but rather, sounds that come even when you are not hungry. These stomach noises can occur soon after you go to bed, and they can also occur in the middle of the night while you’re lying in bed, or in the morning as you are approaching the time to get up for the day.
I asked questions about funny belly sounds to Edward Cruz Paredez, MD, section chief of gastroenterology at Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla.
Dr. Paredez explains, “Funny noises from the stomach or digestive tract are made up of two components: the contents,” and “contractions of the stomach and intestines.”
Your intestines do not sit in a soundproof room; sound will travel through your abdomen and skin, and make it to your ears — and to other peoples’ ears sometimes.
Dr. Paredez explains, “The reason why some people make more funny noises than others is due to the variable amounts of gas/fluid and solid contents, and the strength or spasticity of the contractions. The loudest stomach noises usually represent a large amount of intestinal air and fluid, which travel like bubbles through segments of the intestine like hundreds of internal ‘burps.'”
Dr. Paredez also explains that swallowing excess air can cause loud and strange noises from the stomach. So if you have embarrassing abdominal noises, ask yourself if you gulp air while chewing gum or drinking beverages. “Many people swallow excessive air because of anxiety or nervous conditions: aerophagia,” adds Dr. Paredez.
Another question to ask: Do you gulp your food down but then hold in the urge to burp? This can lead to funny or strange noises in the stomach.
“Others have excessive intestinal gas due to fermentation of sugars such as lactose, or fermentation of gassy foods such as beans or fiber, and this causes loud intestinal noises,” says Dr. Paredez.
Irritable bowel syndrome is another culprit behind noises in the stomach, leading to excessive contractions. IBS is a clinical diagnosis derived from symptom based criteria.
“Most of the time no testing is necessary to diagnose a patient with IBS unless there are atypical symptoms or warning symptoms such as severe pain or bleeding,” says Dr. Paredez. “Classic symptoms include anything from constipation to diarrhea multiple times a day,” particularly soon after eating, and abdominal cramps and abdominal pain.