Reasons Why Your Stomach Is Growling After Eating

Anyone who has gone too long between meals knows that familiar rumbling of the stomach, usually accompanied by a growling sound. That's a signal to you (and if it's loud enough, everyone around you) that you're hungry. The familiar growling sound is caused by your stomach releasing a hormone called ghrelin, which tells your brain that it's mealtime (via Cleveland Clinic). According to Healthline, ghrelin is commonly called the "hunger hormone," and its primary role is to make you consume more calories and store fat. The higher your ghrelin levels, the hungrier you are.

Cleveland Clinic also notes that ghrelin contributes to controlling the release of insulin, protects your cardiovascular health, and aids in digestion by stimulating the food in your stomach to move through the small and large intestines. Once your stomach is full, the levels of ghrelin in your body will decrease. With that in mind, it might come as a shock when you hear your stomach growling even after you've consumed a meal.

Your body is hard at work after a meal

If you're hearing stomach noises after you've stuffed yourself silly, it's because your stomach has begun the process of peristalsis (via WebMD). This process consists of a series of muscle contractions that push the food you've eaten down through your digestive tract and into your colon. The medical term for the post-meal growls is borborygmi.

According to Medical News Today, borborygmi is caused by the somewhat noisy process of digestion, which churns up food, liquid, and gas as your meal moves from your stomach along the 30 feet of intestines throughout your body. The sounds can vary from high-pitched squeaks to watery sloshing noises or the typical rumbles you might hear before you eat. As the food moves through the bowel, water and nutrients are absorbed and gas bubbles can be formed — all of which can contribute to the rumbles and grumbles that you and those around you may hear.

Stomach noises can generally be managed

If your stomach is acting up after a meal, there are things you can do to try and keep the rumbling at least somewhat at bay, such as getting up and taking a post-meal walk (via WebMD). You can also try and avoid foods that tend to cause excess gas, such as sodas or sugar substitutes. Stress can also be a factor in stomach noises, both when you're hungry and after you've eaten (via Medical News Today). Stress can cause your gut to start acting up and slow indigestion, as well as cause heartburn and other issues. Try meditation or deep breathing exercises to keep your stress, and the volume of your stomach, down to a minimum.

Healthline notes that, if you start noticing stomach sounds with other, more alarming, symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, fever, or bloody stools, you should contact your doctor immediately. He or she will listen to your bowel to try and detect any unusual sounds that could indicate an obstruction or a condition such as Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis. While most stomach noises aren't cause for concern, it's always important to listen to what your body may be telling you and answer appropriately.