"Feed Me"-Your Stomach


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Silence fills the air around you, and any noise would resonate through the room like thunder.  You can feel it coming. If you focus on it, it will only be worse.  There's no stopping the inevitable, so you let it happen and hope that it's quiet.  It's not.  It never is.  Your stomach just growled uncomfortably loud, and although those around you politely ignore it, the noises will only continue.

 

But why do our stomachs growl? It's not as though we cannot feel the hunger and need an audible reminder of when to eat.  As it turns out, these rumblings are called Borborygmus and originate in the gastrointestinal tract.  The gastrointestinal tract moves food down your body by contracting the muscles in the tract and squeezing the food along its path in a process called peristalsis.  While doing this, the tract mixes the food, liquids, and various digestive fluids together creating a cocktail called chyme. As the chyme is moved through the tract, bubbles of air and gas get pushed around and creates the rumbling noise. 

 

This noise is muffled when there is food in your stomach, which explains why the growls are less likely to be heard if you are full.  However, after about two hours after your stomach empties, hormones are sent to the brain to signal peristalsis to begin again.  This peristalsis both takes care of any remnants left in the tract from your last meal and also vibrates the stomach, creating the feeling of hunger. Since during this second round of peristalsis, there is no food to muffle the growls, they can be heard more clearly than after you just ate. Peristalsis will happen about once an hour for ten to twenty minutes until you eat again

 

The best way to avoid stomach growls is to eat five to six small meals each day rather than three big ones.  This will reduce the time between food intake and lessen the likelihood of unwanted stomach rumblings.

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Sources: 

http://www.expertclinic.org/Stomach-Growling.html

 

http://health.howstuffworks.com/human-body/systems/digestive/stomach-growling1.htm

4 Comments

I think your topic is really interesting! My stomach is always growling in a quiet class or just at a time where its pretty embarrassing! I never knew what actually caused it or why it did growl, so I'm really intrigued by your blog! I'm going to try and eat the smaller more frequent meals instead of the 3 big ones!

This always happens to me at the worst times so I love this post! I'll be sitting in a quiet class and all of a sudden there it is and I get weird looks. I never knew what caused this either, I always thought it was just because I was hungry. I'll definitely be thinking more about the five small meals because my stomach is a pain and embarrasses me. I found this little article in case you ever find your stomach growling in class. http://www.wikihow.com/Stop-Your-Stomach-from-Growling-Loudly-in-Class

I never really thought about what made someone's stomach growl before. I suppose I always assumed my stomach was angry with me... It does seem like an important function though. I never would have thought that it is always going through this process and that it is just muffled. The article below states that hunger contractions can last for 10 to 20 minutes and repeat until you have food in your stomach again!

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=why-does-your-stomach-gro

I can totally relate to this.. one dreaded silent study hall right before my lunch period and then gurgle gurgle goes my stomach. I get a few confused stares from my peers and a snickering laugh from my friend next to me. Back then I only at 2.5 meals a day so I guess I probably should have went with those 5 to 6 smaller ones to try and help the stomach growls. The poor stomach rumbles.. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stomach_rumble

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