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The stomach makes "growling" noises that are associated with the digestive process. It is totally normal to hear these growling sounds sometimes, but persistent noises accompanied by symptoms such as cramping and diarrhea indicate the presence of an underlying medical problem.

Here is a list of some common gastrointestinal problems that may be causing your discomfort.


The protrusion of an organ or a part of it through the wall of a cavity is known as "hernia".

Hernias of the abdomen (hiatal hernia and umbilical hernia) are very common. These occur when the intestines break through an weakened abdominal wall. Cases in which long-term GERD or another chronic gastrointestinal disorders result in herniation of digestive organs are seen in some cases. Symptoms often include pain and a gurgling sensation in the affected area. Treatment depends on the size and severity of the hernia. A simple change of diet can improve your condition, but surgery may be suggested if matters become worse.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

IBD is a combination of various symptoms that primarily involves a chronic inflammation of some or all parts of the digestive tract. The signs and symptoms vary and may include loud stomach noises, weakness, stomach aches, weight loss, and diarrhea. IBD includes two diseases, namely ulcerative colitis (affecting only the colon) and Crohn's disease (affecting the entire digestive system). The causes of this disorder are still under investigation, but are currently attributed to genetics or the immune system. There is no permanent treatment for the condition, and all medications aim to relieve the symptoms and prevent their recurrence.

Intestinal Obstruction

Intestinal Obstruction refers to a complete or partial blockage of the large (colon) or small intestine. This blockage restricts digested food, fluids, and gases from moving along the intestines normally. If left untreated, the tissues of the affected areas of the intestines may eventually die. The cause of this obstruction may be physical (inflammation, knotting, impacted feces), or it may be the result of a nervous or muscular mis-coordination.

Symptoms include:

  • Vomiting

  • Abdominal pain

  • Cramping

  • Loss of appetite

  • Abdominal gurgling

Treatment depends on the severity of the symptoms, and includes air enemas, stunts, and ultimately surgery.

Gastrointestinal (GI) Infections

Infections of the gastrointestinal tract are known to cause food poisoning, usually as the result of bacterial, fungal, or viral invasions. Symptoms such as abdominal pain, loud stomach sounds, vomiting, cramping, fever, and diarrhea are common. Unhygienic conditions and consumption of rotten or old food are the most common causes. Treatment involves keeping the body hydrated and maintaining its osmotic balance. Antibiotics may be prescribed in the worst of cases.

Overuse of medication (Painkillers and NSAIDs)

Unwanted and unmonitored use of drugs such as painkillers and NSAIDs may also lead to intestinal discomfort. The overuse of such medication can potentially disrupt the lining of the gut, leading to ulcers and other complications. Always consult a physician before opting for any pharmacological treatment.

Some rare causes of unpleasant stomach gurgling include:

  • Celiac disease: A digestive autoimmune disorder resulting in the intolerance of gluten consumption

  • Hyperactive bowel syndrome

  • Indigestion

  • Electrolyte Imbalance

Keep in mind that stomach growling is usually a normal process. Even stress can induce symptoms such as loud stomach growling, difficulty in swallowing, etc. This is the reason you should first change your eating habits, and if you still experience the same symptoms, visit your doctor.

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