Let’s talk about stomach growling.
What the heck causes all that growling coming from your stomach? Does it mean you’re hungry all the time?
People sometimes jump to the conclusion that something bad is happening if they feel sensations in their gut.
It turns out the growling and movement you feel in the stomach have nothing to do with hunger pains. The noise is being generated by the migrating motor complex (MMC). The MMC is a collection of nerves responsible for the wave-like peristaltic movements in your GI tract. The smooth muscle in your gut is contracted, creating a sweeping-like action that clears out the contents of the GI tract between meals.
Growling is a good sign. It means that your body is doing the proper “housecleaning” of the gut. Automatically jumping to the conclusion that a growling stomach needs food is not a good idea. It interferes with the valuable actions of the MMC. Throwing food into your GI tract prematurely means that the passage of food slows down, allowing for gases and toxins to be produced. It can even give harmful bacteria and yeast the opportunity to significantly increase in number and trigger the beginnings of SIBO.
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Be careful not to misinterpret the actions of the MMC as evidence of hunger.
When you get growling and the sensation of movement in your abdomen, rejoice. Your body is working as it should. Many of the clients with constipation that I saw over the years never really had the sensations associated with a working MMC.
Often people with constipation will try and take something to get the bowels working. But the best thing to do for constipation is to be patient, wait, drink some water, and wait some more. The MMC will kick in, especially if you’ve got good levels of beneficial bacteria in your gut. The MMC is very effective if you have a three or four level of lactobacillus and bifidobacteria and a generally balanced microbiome.
A good way to keep the MMC in working order is to not constantly snack on food throughout the day. The best idea is to have a regular breakfast, lunch, and supper. If you need a snack, a piece of fruit is the best option.
So, there you have it. The growling sensation is a sign that the body’s housekeeping system is in working order. If you want to live a long, healthy life, you want a healthy MMC.