What is considered excessive noise

Frequent bowel noises: how much grumbling is still normal?

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From: Jasmina Deshmeh

Flowering, growling, grumbling: Throughout the day, the intestine makes itself felt again and again (symbol image) © Panthermedia / imago-images

Bowel noises are often unpleasant, but in most cases they are harmless. You can read here for which noises and symptoms it is better to go to the doctor.

Heidelberg - Our intestines make noises and that's a good thing because they show that digestion is working. In certain cases, however, excessive bowel noises can also indicate that something is wrong. How to tell whether bowel noises are normal and when it is better to see a doctor.

Bowel noises: this is how they arise

Bowel sounds are a sign that the organ is active. They can be very different and can be reminiscent of grumbling, chuckling, or bubbling. The so-called peristalsis is responsible for the noises, i.e. the wave-like movement of the intestinal muscles, which transport the chyme from the stomach first into the small intestine and then into the large intestine and finally to the anus.

Gases and liquids also make their contribution to the background noise. When we eat or talk, we automatically swallow air. In addition, the breakdown of carbohydrates during digestion itself produces gases (mainly carbon dioxide, hydrogen and methane). If they mix with the liquid chyme, it gurgles.

Bowel noises: Flatulence when it ferments in the bowel

Sometimes there is also flatulence behind the intestinal noises, i.e. accumulations of air that go off as intestinal winds (flatulence). In most cases, they are completely harmless and are caused by certain flatulent foods (such as legumes, cabbage vegetables, alcohol and sugar and sugar substitutes) or by stress and tension. Chewing enough, exercise and / or a change in diet often help.

Anyone who suffers excessively from flatulence should clarify with their doctor whether a food intolerance or irritable bowel syndrome are the cause. For example, fructose intolerance, lactose intolerance or celiac disease may be behind the symptoms. They are often accompanied by symptoms such as abdominal pain, irregular stool (diarrhea) or nausea. Keeping a food diary helps to identify the cause.

Bowel noises: when are they dangerous?

Bowel noises are annoying, for example when you are in an important appointment, but in most cases they are harmless. If the intestine makes noises every now and then, you don't have to worry. In addition, we don't really notice a lot of intestinal noises.

But there are also diseases that can lead to excessive bowel noises. Doctors then speak of a so-called hyperistalsis, which can be traced back to various causes. According to the pharmacies, hissing or metallic-sounding noises can indicate a mechanical obstacle through which the stool can no longer properly pass through the intestines. According to the German Cancer Research Center, changes in bowel noises in connection with changed bowel habits, blood in the stool or pain can also indicate bowel cancer. If the symptoms persist for a long time or if they keep recurring, it is therefore advisable to consult a doctor.

Possible causes for altered bowel noises are:

  • With hissing / metallic sounding intestinal noises: intestinal obstruction (for example due to a tumor, adhesions or scarring after inflammatory bowel disease, swallowed foreign bodies)
  • If there is no intestinal noise: intestinal paralysis (for example due to inflammation of the abdominal cavity, after operations, due to medication or metabolic disorders)
  • inflammatory bowel disease
  • Intestinal infections
  • Colon cancer

This article only contains general information on the respective health topic and is therefore not intended for self-diagnosis, treatment or medication. Under no circumstances does it replace a visit to the doctor. Unfortunately, our editors are not allowed to answer individual questions about clinical pictures.