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What Is Hyperactive Bowel Sound & What Is Its Medical Significance?

What Is Hyperactive Bowel Sound?

The intestine works at its own rhythm when we are awake, in order to mix enzymes and secretion with food. Hyperactive bowel sounds or “the peristaltic rush” may be heard loudly which is commonly also known as “borborygmi.” It must be separated from the other phenomenon like belching, flatus or passing the intestinal gas, bloating. Every day, food inside the intestine gets mixed with about eight liters i.e., two gallons of fluid that is rich in enzyme. The fluid is eventually absorbed. The fluid moves in the tube silently except when there is air in the tube, the plumbing sound is heard. The source of this air in the intestine is when we swallow it sometimes, and rest is produced when hydrogen and carbon dioxide is released by the fermentation of food that are not digested and is stored in the lower gut. Doctors can hear these sounds using a stethoscope.

What Is Hyperactive Bowel Sound?

Causes Behind Bowel Sound

In order to hear the bowel sound, the intestine must meet three conditions: contraction of muscle in the intestine walls, presence of gas and liquid inside it. Hyperactive bowel sounds when audible, can be embarrassing; but has a very less medical importance. They are audible loudly to those who experience that, but other people cannot hear it.

Medical Significance of Hyperactive Bowel Sound

Besides being embarrassing, bowel sound is normal if it is not accompanied by other symptoms. Nevertheless, the hyperactivity or totally no sound is a bit abnormal and certainly has medical significance. Bowel sounds are normally experienced by the patient when he has diarrhea. The increase in the peristaltic movement inside the intestine accompanied with the accumulation of gas, and fluid increase the sound of the liquid stool that is splashing in the gut. This is caused by certain malabsorption of water during digestion. For instance, when the small level of enzyme in the intestine is expected to digest lactose of milk, it encourages the sugar to reach the colon and get fermented by the colon bacteria. This phenomena releases hydrogen and attracts the flow of fluid in the gut thereby starting the contraction. Thus the three conditions of gut movement, fluid and gas are met leading to bowel sound. Malabsorption is also associated with celiac disease.

The hyperactive bowel sound gets weird when there is a mechanical obstruction in the gut. During this phase, the contraction in the intestine increases which forces the fluids as well as the solids to move through a narrowed passage in the intestine producing huge sounds.

Sometimes, the bowel sound might be hyperactive making gurgling sound because of the fluid inside the tummy and that is absolutely not abnormal. If diarrhea or other symptoms are not there, the sounds are harmless and seldom the signs of malabsorption.

Tips on Food for Hyperactive Bowel Sounds

Consuming higher amounts of sugar may be another reason of noisy stomach. Lowering the quantity of sorbitol, fructose will help reduce the hyperactive bowel sound.

  • Fructose is available naturally in onions, peers artichokes, wheat. It is also used as sweetening agent in fruit juice, soft drinks etc.
  • Sorbitol is also found apples, peaches, prunes and pears. This also used as an artificial sweetener in gums and candies.

Hence, one must check before consuming any packed foods to avoid excess intake of fructose and sorbitol. It is also essential to control the portions of intake of fruits and vegetables which has higher amounts of these contents.


Hyperactive bowel sounds is absolutely harmless. However, if it is accompanied with dysfunction in the intestine, irritable bowel syndrome or dyspepsia, diarrhea, malabsorption and malnutrition, doctor must be consulted. If fructose content increases in the body, the problem will persist. Although the bowel noise is very normal, yet if it embarrasses you and spoils the daily enjoyment, you must consult the physician to cure it.


  1. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). “Gas in the Digestive Tract.” https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/gas-digestive-tract
  2. Mayo Clinic. “Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).” https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/irritable-bowel-syndrome/symptoms-causes/syc-20360016
Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:September 1, 2023

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