Actually, right from secondary school till when I got to college, I somehow developed a soft spot for biology. It's not as if biology was the simplest course, but the truth is, it was always relatable to every single thing that happened in my life on a daily basis. <div class="pull-right"> <center> <img src="https://cdn.steemitimages.com/DQmbnwW5heYWDWDXKyQ5UmLGdfDjqxjgDskgjpJoLiGjrW7/images.jpeg"> <sub> (License: Public Domain]: <a href="https://pixabay.com/en/microphone-music-studio-1003559/"> Pixabay </a></sub> </center> </div> So yesterday while on my way back from work, I decided to branch and say hello to my old-time friend who just started an audio recording studio quite close to my place. After exchanging heartwarming pleasantries, the next thing we heard was this kooky sound emanating from my stomach. It was so audible that we couldn't stop ourselves from laughing out loud. I felt a little embarrassed and had to think of a way to cover it up. Funny enough, the only thing that came out of my mouth was *"dude, my biological studio is so pleased to meet you"*. Well, that literally was the lamest thing I've ever said in my entire life. But still, the phrase 'biological studio' kept reechoing in my head and I really couldn't keep it to myself any longer. <h3>The concept of stomach growling</h3> <div class="pull-left"> <center> <img src="https://cdn.steemitimages.com/DQmYFoLRFusSyzto1xgDQXopF3HuKWCcauDHR9zfkX8rGaK/images%20(1).jpeg"> <sub> (License: Public Domain]: <a href="https://pixabay.com/en/abdominal-pain-pain-appendicitis-2821941/"> Pixabay </a></sub> </center> </div> As a matter of fact, the stomach didn't only start growling in our generation. Even our ancestors had a fair share of the experience. Fortunately, the Greeks were the first to give a name that perfectly described the sound. **Borborygmi**; that's the name it was called. And since the name could explain the words behind the sound, it was not just a Greek thing anymore, but a general name used mostly by researchers. According to Merriam Webster dictionary, *"borborygmi is defined as the intestinal rumbling caused by moving gas"*. Now the question is, "Is borborygmi only caused by moving gas?". This and many more is what we're going to unravel as we move ahead. But at this point, I'd love to pinpoint the fact that stomach growling is entirely normal, although sometimes the rumbling sound could be embarrassing depending on where we are, and how loud it is. With that being said, you should probably have it at the back of your mind that stomach growling is just a friendly reminder asserting the proper functioning of the body. For some reasons, people tend to believe that once the stomach starts growling, it's a sign that it needs some spicy attention. However, the rumbling sounds also do occur while one is eating and even after an individual might have eaten. Hence, you'll agree with me that it's necessarily not restricted to hunger. Furthermore, despite the fact that stomach growling is the widely used name for description of the sound, it might interest you to know that **the physiological origin of this rumbling is not only the stomach, but the gastrointestinal tract**. This therefore means that the small intestine is also involved in the process. Actually, the reason why the gastrointestinal tract is able to showcase this outstanding ability is due to the lining of inherent layers of smooth muscle on its wall, as well as the receptors present on the smooth muscle. It doesn't end there. These receptors on the gastrointestinal tract smooth muscle must work hand in hand with the [enteric nervous system](https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enteric_nervous_system) before stomach growling can be triggered. This takes us to the next point... <h3>How receptors on the gastrointestinal tract smooth muscle initiate stomach growling</h3> <div class="pull-right"> <center> <img src="https://cdn.steemitimages.com/DQmarTtac9FRdaic7We8cN6iQLomTBU2GAQyRJxbcAp1PgU/abdomen-1698565_1280.png"> <sub> (License: Public Domain]: <a href="https://pixabay.com/en/abdomen-intestine-large-small-1698565/"> Pixabay </a></sub> </center> </div> From the elementary knowledge of digestion in humans, we all know that ingested food passes through a long narrow tube known as the **alimentary canal**. Research has it that the greater part of the alimentary canal, especially the gastrointestinal region is coiled up in the abdominal cavity. In fact, the very significant characteristic of the alimentary canal is that its entire wall is muscular, and **the muscle cells are mostly activated by the presence of food**. So with the entrance of food into the alimentary canal from the oral cavity, the body which is specifically designed in a way that prevents the ingested food from going up again propels the food aboralIy. It might interest you to know that **the downward movement of food in the alimentary canal is a process enhanced by a mechanism known as peristalsis**. Literally, peristalsis results from a rhythmic fluctuation of electrical potential in the smooth muscle cells of the alimentary canal thereby resulting in contractions. All the same, for a layman to understand the above statement, it's pertinent to further simplify the principle governing peristalsis. With that being said, recall that not long ago, I pinpointed the effect ingested food have on the smooth muscle of the gastrointestinal tract. It activates it; and there's no doubt about that. But the question is, *how does food trigger this activation?*. The truth is that there is presence of receptors on the smooth muscle of the gastrointestinal tract. And you know the outstanding role performed by receptors: that is, **to receive stimuli and also cause the body to act in response to such stimuli**. So what happens is that; when food is ingested, the receptors in the gastrointestinal wall sense it. From there, these receptors initiate a series of reflex fluctuating rhythms known as the [basal electrical rhythm](https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basal_electrical_rhythm) (BER), which on a normal condition causes the smooth muscle of the gastrointestinal wall to forcefully contract and relax periodically. The resultant effects of the contraction and relaxation of the gastrointestinal wall is what aids in further digestion (break down) of food substances. Also, it might interest you to know that during the peristaltic movement; gases that entered into the alimentary canal while eating, as well as gastric juices containing various digestive enzymes, and other fluids are mixed together with the churned food. This whole process is what generates the rumbling sounds you hear from the gastrointestinal region Similarly, just like the receptors sense presence of food, there also sense when the stomach and small intestine are empty. But in the case of absence of food, the kind of reflex rhythm initiated by the receptors is in the form of an electric wave and it's known as the [migrating myoelectric complexes](https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Migrating_motor_complex) (MMC). Unlike BER, what MMC does is that it travels along the gastrointestinal tract leading to hunger contractions which aid in clearing or sweeping out stomach contents in order to prevent them from accumulating at any site. Someone might want to ask, *"why is stomach growling in cases of hunger louder than the one that occur during digestion of food?"*. The reason is this; due to the presence of food, the rumbling sound is prevented from being so audible. In other words, the food act as the muffler. On the other hand, when the stomach is empty, little sound at that moment will be loud enough because there's nothing to barrier or hinder it. Well, although stomach growling is entirely normal and doesn't really pose any threat to health; yet, like I pointed out earlier on, it could be embarrassing if it becomes persistent. Hence, there's need to adopt necessary approach that'll help in curbing the rate of the rumbling sounds. <h3>How stomach growling can be maintained at the norrmal range</h3> <div class="pull-left"> <center> <img src="https://cdn.steemitimages.com/DQmZJy72cF7Qpr3Ymhrr98X44e4wGCn9ozJGkJW4VY1LRA7/images%20(2).jpeg"> <sub> Cake is sweet, but its connection with flatus isn't... (License: Public Domain]: <a href="https://pixabay.com/en/cake-eat-food-sweet-eating-1746435/"> Pixabay </a></sub> </center> </div> You'll agree with me that if the stomach growls constantly from dawn till the end of the day, it definitely means that something is wrong somewhere. So for one to escape from such an embarrassing situation, the problems affecting the gastrointestinal tract and unhealthy eating habits must first be addressed and corrected. According to research, consumption of certain foods, especially those ones with excess sugar content, as well as the hard-to-digest foods (like beans, brussels sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, etc.) can trigger accumulation of gases, and sometimes indigestion that results in diarrhea. So for people trying to put an end to persistent stomach growling; avoiding these foods can go a long way to reduce the incidence of the rumbling sounds. Also, aside from the types of food we eat; even the manner in which we consume the healthy diets can as well contribute to our stomach growling. For instance, while eating, if each bite is not thoroughly pulverized, the work load will be on the stomach and this indirectly poses health implications such as indigestion. Hence, eating slowly and chewing the food completely must be regarded as a necessity. All the same, they're people that still have frequent stomach growling despite avoiding unhealthy eating habits mentioned above. Well, for such persons, eating more regularly instead of the usual three large meals, and drinking water to improve digestion could be of help. Please note that when I said 'eating more regularly', I didn't mean overeating. The truth is that overeating will only cause more harm than good. However, eating more regularly is more like not waiting for hunger pangs to set in before eating. Likewise, if the stomach growling is accompanied by severe abdominal pains, nausea or diarrhea, it's advisable to see a doctor. It could either be symptoms of a more serious stomach condition such as [irritable bowel syndrome](https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irritable_bowel_syndrome) (IBS), or [gastroparesis](https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gastroparesis). <h3>Final thoughts</h3> In conclusion, although normal stomach growling sometimes can be embarrassing; yet, it's very essential for the well-being of the biological system. Evidently, these rhythmic contractions aid in removing gastric contents that sticked around the digestive tract, as well as bacteria and other harmful organisms. Because of this, health threatening conditions such as [small intestinal bowel overgrowth](https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3099351/) (SIBO) and [abdominal distention](https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abdominal_distension) are prevented in the process. **I hope you've learned something from this article. Thanks for doing this with me. Till next time!** <h3>For further reading...</h3> [Why your stomach growls when you feel hungry](https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-does-your-stomach-gro/)(https://m.timesofindia.com/life-style/health-fitness/health-news/why-your-stomach-growls-when-you-feel-hungry/articleshow/56639408.cms)(https://www.scienceabc.com/humans/why-does-your-stomach-growl-when-you-are-hungry.html). Retrieved on 6th November, 2018 [When the stomach growls, is it only telling you it's hungry?](http://www.cleanandleanrevolution.com/when-your-stomach-growls-it-isnt-telling-you-it-is-hungry/). Retrieved on 6th November, 2018 [How to stop your stomach from growling](https://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-stop-stomach-growling). Retrieved on 6th November, 2018 **<center>Image source</center>** Images are from pixabay, licensed under creative commons and eligible for commercial use.