What Causes Gurgling in the Stomach?

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Gurgling in the stomach is caused by the peristaltic movement of the intestines, according to the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders. Excessive stomach gurgling, if accompanied by other symptoms such as diarrhea, can be caused by certain medical conditions, including lactose intolerance and celiac disease.

Gurgling stomach sounds can only be heard if the intestinal wall contracts when there are liquid and gas in the intestines, notes the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders. When stomach gurgling is not present with other symptoms, it is a normal phenomenon. In certain situations, excessive stomach gurgling can be heard when there is an incomplete mechanical obstruction in the intestines. In this case, patients experience malaise and severe abdominal pain.

Lactose intolerance occurs when undigested sugars reach the colon and ferment, creating gas and fluid, explains the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. The condition can be caused by lactose deficiency, which occurs when the small intestine does not produce enough lactase, the lactose-digesting enzyme. Symptoms of lactose intolerance occur after consuming milk products and include gas, nausea and diarrhea.

Celiac disease is a digestive disorder that occurs when the immune system reacts to gluten, according to Healthline. The condition damages the small intestine, leading to malabsorption and various symptoms including vomiting, abdominal pain and infertility. Children and adults experience different symptoms, with adults experiencing fewer abdominal symptoms. Celiac disease runs in families and is more likely to occur in people suffering from other immune diseases.