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Intestinal Rumblings, Pain and Diet

Intestinal or stomach noise can be a normal part of digestion. Your brain sends a signal to your intestines that triggers the release of digestive fluids as a series of muscle contractions called peristalsis begins. This growling or rumbling lets you know it is time to eat. When stomach noise is accompanied by pain, bloating, or diarrhea discuss your symptoms with your doctor. It may indicate the presence of an underlying gastrointestinal disorder.

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.

Causes

Many conditions can cause mild to moderate intestinal rumblings and pain. Stomach flu is a viral inflammation of the stomach and intestines that can lead to abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. Your symptoms may last two days or longer. Dietary requirements include fluids to prevent dehydration.

Consuming a nutritional, low-fat diet and lifestyle changes may relieve many of your symptoms.

Constipation, which is difficulty with bowel movements or exceptionally hard stool, may cause symptoms of abdominal pain and vomiting. Inadequate water and fiber intake, stress, immobility and inadequate exercise contribute to constipation. A high-fiber diet containing plenty of liquids is essential for helping to prevent constipation.

Conditions

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When symptoms such as stomach rumblings and pain persist, or if the pain intensifies, you need to seek medical care. These symptoms may indicate the presence of a condition that requires more intervention than a change in diet. An intestinal obstruction, for example, usually requires hospitalization for stabilization and determination if the obstruction is an actual blockage or a paralytic ileus, which is the inability of your intestinal muscles to move the content. Intravenous fluids are given for hydration and a nasogastric tube is placed through your nose to the stomach to remove air and fluid, which relieves abdominal pain while treatment is ongoing.

Diet

Lactose intolerance, with symptoms such as:

  • abdominal pain
  • gas
  • diarrhea
  • is caused by a lack of the enzyme lactase
  • which is necessary to digest lactose

Ethnic and racial populations more at risk for developing lactose intolerance include American Indians, African Americans, Asian Americans and Hispanic Americans, according to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. Lactose intolerance is managed through dietary changes, which include lactose-free dairy products and lactase enzyme supplements.

Caution

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Symptoms of stomach rumbling with pain may be an indication of conditions requiring medical intervention and dietary changes. Gallstones may cause intermittent pain known as biliary colic, which may be present for many years without causing distress. Inflammation of your gallbladder, known as acute cholecystitis, occurs in 1 to 3 percent of people with the presence of gallstones, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center 1. If a stone lodges in your bile duct, or in the case of a severe acute attack, emergency surgery may be required to remove the stone.

The Wrap Up

Intestinal or stomach noise can be a normal part of digestion. Constipation, which is difficulty with bowel movements or exceptionally hard stool, may cause symptoms of abdominal pain and vomiting. A high-fiber diet containing plenty of liquids is essential for helping to prevent constipation. Lactose intolerance, with symptoms such as: abdominal pain, gas, diarrhea, is caused by a lack of the enzyme lactase, which is necessary to digest lactose.

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