Abdominal sounds or bowel sounds

Abdominal sounds or Bowel sounds are the sounds caused within the small and large intestine during the peristalsis.  It is characterized by hollow sounds, the same as the water moving through the pipes.

Abdominal auscultation is done for the following reasons:

  • Abdominal sound helps to know about the motility of the bowel.
  • Patency of vessels in the abdomen can be also understood by the abdominal auscultation.
  • Foetal heart sound can be also detected in the pregnant women.
  • Smoothness of the liver and splenic surface can be also understood.

These are some normal physiological conditions creating the abdominal sounds. Some of the pathological conditions which cause increased or decreased abdominal sounds are:

  • Splenic infarct in leukaemia
  • Aortic aneurism
  • Intestinal obstruction
  • Diarrhoea
  • Peritonitis.

Normal bowel sounds

Normal bowel sound consists of click and gurgle produced by the normal peristalsis movement. It also means that the gastrointestinal tract is working. There is no any pathology in the abdominal cavity. It can be heard by the auscultation the abdomen.

Hyperactive bowel sound

Hyperactive bowel sounds refer to increased intestinal activity. The hyperactive abdominal sounds are louder than normal abdominal sounds. It’s can be heard after eating or also after the diarrhoea.

Hyperactive bowel sound

Some of the causes of the hyperactive abdominal sounds are:

  • Intestinal obstruction
  • Diarrhoea
  • Bleeding ulcers
  • Laxative use
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Bleeding in the digestive tract
  • Food allergies

Hypoactive bowel sound

Hypoactive bowel sounds mean that the intestinal activity has been slowed down. The hypoactive abdominal sounds are soft than the normal or hyperactive abdominal sounds.

Hypoactive bowel sound

The hypoactive bowel sounds can be caused due to the following reasons

  • Ulcers that are perforated
  • Use of medicine like codeine
  • General anaesthesia
  • Abdominal surgery
  • Injury due to radiation
  • Intestinal damage
  • Incomplete or complete blockage of the bowels
  • Peritonitis

What test can be done for abdominal sounds?

If some different sound is heard from your abdomen than normal then the doctor will suggest you to take some test for it. So, that they can find the cause of it. Initially doctor will try to see your history and some questions regarding your issues then with help of stethoscope ,doctor will auscultate the abdomen to hear the abdominal sound. The doctor may suggest following tests:

  • CT scan for the abdomen
  • Blood test to know through any abnormalities seen in the blood
  • Endoscopy is a great test to know the whereabouts of the bowel sounds abnormalities.

How to treat bowel sounds?

Sometimes even if you have normal bowel sounds, while auscultating but you might feel uneasy. The treatment depends on the cause. It may be due to the intake of food that causes gas production. You can limit or avoid food like beans, sprouts, or drinks which are carbonated. If you are lactose intolerant then avoid dairy products at any cost.

When you should go to a hospital or see a doctor?

When there is bleeding, ulceration, or severe pain then you should go to the hospital to see the doctor. Don’t ignore the pain or symptoms thinking of them as common symptoms. It can be due to various harmful causes. Treatment done at right time will save one life.

What causes stomach growling?

Some people might get confused with stomach growling and abdomen sounds. Stomach growling occurs when the food goes to the stomach and it can be due to extreme hunger, problem indigestion, or if one is suffering from indigestion.

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