Causes of stomach growling other than hunger include movement of air or food in the intestines, a blood clot, a blockage of the bowel, hernia and reduction in blood potassium, according to Healthline. Stomach growling occurs either as hypoactive, which is an indication of slow intestinal activity, or as hyperactive, which mainly occurs after eating or if a person has diarrhea.
The contraction of muscles in the intestines and stomach as they squeeze and move food, liquid and gas along can cause stomach growling, or borborygmi, reports MedicineNet. This process is called peristalsis and occurs hours after eating or when a person is trying to sleep, says Healthline.
Frequent and strong contraction of muscles due to obstruction of the intestine, which may interfere with the movement of digested food, may cause borborygmi, explains MedicineNet. If this condition continues, it may cause abdominal swells and pain, due to fluid and gas building up behind the obstruction. Bacteria in the small intestine may also produce a large amount of gas, causing stomach growling. Passing gas, abdominal distention or abdominal bloating may accompany this condition.
During diagnosis, the doctor may review the medical history of the patient, ask questions about the symptoms and use a stethoscope to listen for borborygmi, notes Healthline. Other tests include blood tests to check for infections, a CT scan and an endoscopy to capture pictures in the abdomen and blood.