Gurgling Stomach: Causes and Home Remedies

Gurgling Stomach: Causes and Home Remedies

A gurgling stomach can cause growling and burbling noises from your abdomen at any time of day. These stomach noises can be a source of embarrassment to you and cause amusement for others. Even though gurgling stomach noises are usually associated with hunger, there are many other reasons for rumblings in your tummy. Frequent and recurring gurgling stomach noises can be caused by food intolerances, eating too much sugar, a digestive disorder, or stress.

The medical name for a gurgling or growling stomach is “borborygmi.” The noises come from the intestinal muscles contracting to move contents of your gastrointestinal tract along. As fluid and gas move through the intestines it causes noises like your stomach is gurgling, rumbling, or growling. Along with the stomach gurgling, you may also experience bloating, pain, discomfort, or excessive gas.

There are many home remedies that can help to relieve the discomfort caused by a growling stomach. Home remedies that include ginger and chamomile tea, can help to improve your digestion and reduce the gurgling sounds. Other helpful ways to treat a stomach that gurgles is to take probiotics and eat slower.

This article examines the most common reasons why you could have a gurgling stomach and what you can do to stop stomach rumbling.

Causes of Gurgling Stomach

Stomach muscle contraction

Abdominal noises are a normal part of the digestive system and are not usually anything to worry about.

According to the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders (IFFGD), “borborygmi” (stomach noises) occur when the muscles of your intestines contract and you have liquid and gas in your bowels. Sometimes, the muscles are very active and you can hear your stomach “gurgling.”1

Even if you can’t hear the gurgling noises from your stomach or intestines, a doctor can usually hear them through a stethoscope. Doctors may listen for sounds from your stomach to make sure your intestines and digestive system are working properly.

Hunger causes gurgling stomach

Hunger is one of the most common reasons for a gurgling stomach. When you haven’t eaten for a few hours, your gut sends signals to your brain to get your digestive system working. But, why would your stomach emit noises if it is empty?

The journal Frontiers in Pharmacology explains that the connection between your brain and gut can cause the stomach and small intestines to become more active when they are empty. This is described as the Migrating Motor Complex. The noisy contractions from your tummy could be the stomach clearing out accumulated food in the intestines to get ready for the next meal.

Gastroenterologist, Dr. Laurence Bailen, explains that the noises usually stop when you put some food in your system. This is because your digestive muscles start breaking down the food to digest it properly. Dr. Bailen recommends eating food slowly and not talking at the same time to prevent stomach gurgling during digestion.3

Lactose intolerance

If you notice stomach grumblings or gurgling noises after consuming dairy products, it could be a sign of lactose intolerance. If your digestive system can’t digest properly the sugar (lactose) in milk products, it will cause digestive upset. You may feel the symptoms of lactose intolerance within a few hours of consuming products containing dairy.

The Journal of Neurogastroenterology and Motility reports that lactose intolerance causes borborygmi, nausea, digestive pain and discomfort, and diarrhea.4 The IFFGD explains that the loud gurgling noises from the stomach are caused when lactose ferments in the colon and increases gas and intestinal muscle contractions.5

Avoiding dairy products is one way to prevent gas and bloating. If you are interested to find out more about the symptoms of lactose intolerance, please read my article on why most people are lactose intolerant.

Eating too much sugar

A diet containing too much sugar and foods containing natural sugar can cause excessive stomach gurgling. Too much sugar, especially fructose, can cause digestive upset and a gurgling stomach.

Doctors on WebMD reported on a study showing that fructose isn’t easily absorbed by the body. If there is too much fructose in the body, it ferments with bacteria in the colon. Some of the symptoms are excessive gas, pain, bloating, and diarrhea.6 The IFFGD says that fructose can also cause increased intestinal noise.7

If you notice digestive problems like stomach growling, gas, abdominal discomfort, and diarrhea after eating, you should ask your doctor to test you for fructose intolerance. You could also try to limit your consumption of high-fructose foods.

Inflammatory bowel disease

If you suffer from Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, you may also have a gurgling stomach. Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are inflammatory bowel conditions that cause digestive upset. Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) can cause abdominal cramping, rectal bleeding, constipation, pain under your ribs, and night sweats.

According to the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, one of the digestive symptoms of IBD is “abdominal sounds, such as gurgling over the intestines.” They say that it is difficult to treat inflammatory bowel disease and usually it can be managed by making dietary changes and taking the appropriate medication.8


Diarrhea is an unpleasant digestive condition that also causes loud abdominal noises. The gurgling noises from your abdominal area happen as gas and watery stool get pushed through the intestines.

Dr. Linda Vorvick on MedlinePlus says that diarrhea can cause hyperactive bowel sounds and increased intestinal activity.9

Gastroenteritis is caused by an infection that causes nausea, abdominal discomfort and can be a reason for explosive diarrhea. According to Dr. Jennifer Lynn Bonheur on MedScape, one of the symptoms of gastroenteritis is borborygmi.10

Irritable bowel syndrome

A grumbling stomach is also a common symptom associated with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). IBS is a difficult digestive condition to manage that causes diarrhea after eating, constipation, abdominal cramping, and stomach pain with diarrhea.

The Journal of Neurogastroenterol Motility reports that stomach gurgling is common in IBS patients and is especially noticeable after consuming dairy products (lactose intolerance). They recommended that making the appropriate dietary changes can help to reduce the stomach noises, excess gas, and bloating.4 In this regard, you can read my article about the best natural treatments to relieve IBS.

Stress may also cause a gurgling stomach if you have irritable bowel syndrome. Stress can affect your body in many negative ways and digestive upset is just one of the symptoms of excess emotional or physiological stress. Please read my article on the best home remedies for anxiety and stress to help relieve any digestive upset it is causing.

Intestinal obstruction

In some cases, an intestinal obstruction can cause a growling stomach with gurgling noises. Intestinal obstructions can be caused by something blocking the bowel. It can cause pain and discomfort and also prevent the proper absorption of nutrients into the body.

According to the British Society of Gastroenterology, rumblings in your stomach can be caused by a bowel obstruction.11 Dr. Luigi Santacroce on Medscape says that if the obstruction causes the stomach to bloat very much, you may even hear a splashing noise and loud stomach noises.12

Home Remedies for Gurgling Stomach

It’s important to remember that a gurgling stomach is a normal part of a healthy digestive system. However, frequent loud rumbling or growling noises can be a symptom of an upset intestinal system. Here are some of the best home remedies for a gurgling stomach.

Improve digestion with ginger

Ginger can help you boost the health of your digestive system and reduce the amount of gurgling in your stomach.

A review on the medicinal properties of ginger found that it has a positive effect on the effectiveness of moving food through your gastric system. Ginger can reduce the symptoms of an upset digestive system including nausea, gas, abdominal discomfort, and vomiting.13

You can easily make a home remedy for a gurgling stomach by making ginger tea. You should grate about 1-2 inches of fresh ginger root and put it in a cup of boiling water. To prevent the amazing properties of ginger escaping, cover the cup and let it infuse for a few minutes. Drink this about 20 minutes before each meal to prevent a grumbling stomach. If you don’t have fresh ginger, ground ginger is just as good for your digestion.

Drink ginger tea to relieve a gurgling stomach that has been caused by diarrhea, IBS, or gastroenteritis.

Other herbal teas that can boost your digestive health are chamomile tea, peppermint tea, and lemon balm (Melissa) tea.

Probiotic supplements

Another way to help improve the health of your gastrointestinal tract and get rid of stomach grumbling is to use probiotic supplements. Supplements containing live probiotic bacteria help to balance the delicate flora of your gut. They can alleviate many conditions caused by IBS, digestive problems from taking antibiotics, diarrhea, IBD, and ulcers.

The British Medical Journal reported that probiotics can benefit intestinal health. They can help to prevent diarrhea and stop infections from irritating the gut and causing inflammation.14 The study also reported that food containing “live” cultures is also showing promising results in studies on digestive health.

To get the benefit from probiotic supplements to relieve a gurgling stomach, it’s important to use them regularly.

Reduce stress to help stop stomach gurgling

Reducing stress is another natural way to reduce the discomfort caused by a gurgling stomach. There are many natural ways to reduce stress.

For example, the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that using lavender oil in aromatherapy can reduce stress when inhaling it for 5 minutes.15 A study from Iran found that lavender oil inhalation can help to significantly lower levels of stress, anxiety, and depression.16

To find out how to use essential oils to reduce stress and therefore a rumbling stomach, please read my article on the best essential oils for anxiety, depression, and stress.

Eat slower to stop gurgling stomach

Eat your meals slower to help reduce the amount of gurgling noises in your stomach. When you eat fast you also take in lots of air which leads to a buildup of gas in your stomach. This, in turn, aggravates a gurgling stomach.

Some of the practical ways that you can treat digestive problems by eating slower are to eat your meals in a relaxed atmosphere, don’t watch television while eating, and chew your food well before swallowing.

Treat diarrhea to stop gurgling stomach quickly

To stop a grumbling stomach that is caused by diarrhea or another gastrointestinal upset, you can use some natural remedies for diarrhea.

For example, you can calm your stomach and intestines by using chamomile tea. This has a relaxing effect in your gut and can stop grumbling noises from your tummy. As well as having a soothing effect in your gastrointestinal system, chamomile tea can also help kill off germs that cause infections and inflammation in the gut.

In a review of the medicinal properties of chamomile, the journal Pharmacognosy Review found that chamomile extracts are effective in treating upper intestinal diseases and can reduce inflammation.17

Make a soothing chamomile tea to quickly calm your stomach grumblings and get rid of the gurgling noises. Drink the tea regularly to prevent a gurgling stomach and boost your digestive health.

You can also consume bland foods to treat a gurgling stomach caused by digestive problems. A bland diet is often recommended to help treat digestive problems or to assist the stomach or gastrointestinal tract recover after surgery or illness (such as food poisoning). Some of the foods that you can eat are carrots, celery, eggplants, and chicken. For a complete list of foods please read my article about the complete guide of the bland diet.

Read my other related articles:
1. The Most Effective Home Remedies for Gas and Bloating
2. Stomach Pain after Eating – Causes and Natural Treatments
3. Diarrhea After Eating: The Most Common Causes and Treatments
4. Stomach Spasms: Causes and the Best Natural Treatments

Article Sources:
  1. IFFGD. A noisy tummy.
  2. Front Pharmacol. 2010; 1: 145.
  3. WebMD. Why does my stomach growl?
  4. J Neurogastroenterol Motil. 2013 Oct; 19(4): 544–546.
  5. IFFGD. Hyperactive bowel sounds.
  6. WebMD. Fructose may cause digestive problems.
  7. IFFGD. Noisy tummy.
  8. PAMF. Inflammatory bowel disease.
  9. MedlinePlus. Abdominal sounds.
  10. Medscape. Bacterial gastroenteritis.
  11. BSG. Windy symptoms.
  12. Medscape. Intestinal motility disorders.
  13. NCBI. The amazing and might ginger.
  14. BMJ. 1999 Apr 10; 318(7189): 999–1003.
  15. J Altern Complement Med. 2011 Sep;17(9):823-6.
  16. Iran J Nurs Midwifery Res. 2016 Mar-Apr; 21(2): 197–201.
  17. Pharmacogn Rev. 2011 Jan-Jun; 5(9): 82–95.

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