Published: 12/02/2014 - Updated: 12/31/2017
Author: MSc. Miriam Reyes
Borborygmi are those rumbling noises that come from the stomach and that usually occur during pregnancy. These intestinal noises are caused by the movement of gasses under intestinal pressure when the intestines push food through. These sounds makes a sort of “echo” when the intestines are empty, which cause a sort of resonance that is very similar to that of water pipes.
The truth is, these intestinal sounds are normal to a certain extent. They should not be a cause for alarm and they usually don’t require any specific treatment. Borborygmi suggest causes such as heavy digestion due to excessive or poor food combination, eating quickly, with anxiety or while angry, diarrhea, after some sort of operation or the use of certain medications.
In order to avoid a lot of stomach noises (when these noises do not represent a primary health symptom):
- Avoid combing a lot of foods at the same time in just one meal.
- Do not drink a lot of water at mealtime.
- Avoid talking a lot while eating.
- Don’t eat when you feel tense, anxious or if you have repressed anger.
- Avoid very starchy foods, junk food, fatty food, and the foods that are contraindicated for your diet (see detail below)
- Drink a digestive tea 20 minutes after eating.
- Whenever you want to express something to someone, tell them, or write it on a paper, so you don’t repress it. Storing anger and irritation causes strong stomach tension that could cause stomach noises.
However, some abnormal borborygmi could be a symptom of some other condition that should be tended to.
Very active, excessive and abnormal borborygmi could be caused by:
- Stomach infection.
- Emotional stress, excessive anxiety or nervous exhaustion.
- Indigestion whereby the intestinal noises are generally accompanied by gas or abdominal inflammation, even nausea.
- Crohn’s disease.
- Allergies to a specific food.
- Gastrointestinal bleeding.
- Ulcerative colitis.
- When you cannot withstand anger or if you resist expressing what you truly feel or want to say.
On the other hand, and absence of intestinal noises is called Ileus, which happens when the borborygmi suddenly reduce their activity or when they disappear completely (hyperactive borborygmi). This condition is due to:
- Ileus: a condition in which there is no intestinal activity. When the intestines do not function correctly this could be a sign of another condition, which is why it is important to have it evaluated. Gasses and intestinal contents could accumulate and rupture intestinal lining. Paralytic ileus is another problem that could cause intestinal noises and which is related to a problem in the nerves that lead to the intestines.
- Blood vessel obstruction, which could impede correct blood flow to the intestines. Blood coagulations, for example, could block the mesenteric artery.
- Early bowel obstruction, which must be treated. This blockage could be caused by a hernia, tumors, intestinal problems, etc.
- Other causes of low activity borborygmi: sedative drugs that reduce intestinal movement, general anesthesia, abdominal radiation, etc.
If the borborygmi are accompanied by the following, you must evaluate the cause:
- Presence or absence of bowel movements.
Healing diet in case of indigestion, stomach infection, lazy intestines, food allergies, colitis and constipation.
In this case you need to follow a very bland diet in order to let the stomach and intestines rest and to encourage a bowel movement. It is recommended to spend one or two days eating just papaya and nothing else. Start the day with two tablespoons of olive oil before breakfast and drink two liters of fresh water during the day.
Once you finish the diet, start eating soft foods, like vegetable soups, steamed or whole-grain rice, partially steamed vegetables, etc. Fully eliminate any kind of foods from your diet with saturated fats (fried and packaged foods, etc), meat, cow’s milk and its byproducts, and don’t eat any sort of junk food, processed food, or refined foods, like white sugar or flour.
Start your day every morning by drinking chamomile tea with half a squeezed lemon.
Also, remember that the emotional aspect is important. Try to read about how to manage anxiety, stress and anger, so as to be able to feel more peace with what you feel.
Revised by: Dra. Loredana Lunadei on 12/31/2017
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