NOV 20, 2016 05:56 AM PST

Why an Empty Stomach is So Noisy!

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham
2 4 350

It's embarrassing - you're sitting in a late afternoon meeting and your stomach decides to start rumbling with reckless abandon. It's so loud that people next to you turn and ask if you've skipped lunch! And at the mention, you sheepishly admit that, indeed, lunch wasn't too satisfying, and now you're feeling hungry. Why do our stomachs give our hunger away in the form of an embarrassing chorus?

As Dr. Lisa Ganjhu of NYU Langone explains, you can think of the stomach as a balloon. When it's full, the stomach can muffle the noises coming from the contractions of the digestive system. However, when your stomach is empty, the so-called balloon is "deflated," and any sounds made by the intestines seem magnified because there's no food to buffer the noise.

Rest assured that the rumbling, growling, and even sloshing noises are all normal. While they may occur at inopportune moments, the sounds help remind us to refuel for a healthy body!
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
You May Also Like
JUN 04, 2018
Videos
JUN 04, 2018
Making AI More Human
Machine learning or artificial intelligence is when a machine becomes able to think like a human. However, machine learning happens when thousands of choic
JUN 04, 2018
Videos
JUN 04, 2018
Are Giant Pandas Overrated?
Are giant pandas overrated? Sure, they’re cute and bring a lot of tourism to zoos and wildlife parks, but they don’t do much for the environmen
JUN 11, 2018
Neuroscience
JUN 11, 2018
Doing Well at Eurovision Makes People Happier
Countries in Europe are famous for rooting on their soccer teams, but a recent study conducted at the Imperial College of London showed that the further a
JUN 12, 2018
Videos
JUN 12, 2018
Should You Eat Those Banana Peels?
Most people peel their bananas open and eat what’s on the inside, but it may be a good idea for the sake of your health to eat the entire banana, inc
JUN 14, 2018
Health & Medicine
JUN 14, 2018
Beware of Hotel Room Germs
Recently the CDC came out with a study that showed nearly 1/3 of swimming-related illnesses from 2000-2014 could be traced back to pathogens found in hotel
JUN 24, 2018
Videos
JUN 24, 2018
Frozen Diseases
As snow falls, glacial ice preserves air, water, and biological material. Over time, years and years of biological material become trapped below the ice pi
Loading Comments...