June 23, 2022
From gurgling and growling to sloshing and gas, the symphony of sounds in your gut is telling
you the story of your overall physical and mental health. Are you listening?
The father of modern medicine, Hippocrates, believed 2,000 years ago that all diseases began in the gut. While not entirely true, it was pretty insightful. Today, medical professionals are finding links between several chronic conditions and the gut microbiome (the 100 trillion microbes that make up your gut’s ecosystem and influence what happens in your body).
All these sounds signal whether your gut is healthy or not. It’s normal to hear and feel your gut doing its day-to-day business. However, digestive diseases are becoming more common, affecting one in five Americans1. Here are four ways your gut tells you that everything’s okay or that maybe you should talk to a doctor:
Normal – regular digestion and hunger; can occur any time during and between meals.
Seek care – when gurgling is excessive or accompanied by:
Excessive gurgling can be a symptom of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), food intolerances, or shallow breathing.2
Normal – occasional, after eating or drinking.
Seek care – when belching is frequent or accompanied by:
Excessive burping can be a symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), gastritis from medications, heartburn, artificial sweeteners, gallbladder disease, anxiety, ulcer, or helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) bacterial infection.3
Normal – slight stomach pain should be very infrequent.
Seek care – when the pain is:
Stomach pain can indicate IBS, GERD, stress, anxiety, gallbladder disease, diverticulitis, overeating, or kidney stones.4
If it sounds like you might be having digestive issues, get fast, reliable care from an MDLIVE board-certified doctor for conditions like acid reflux, constipation, diarrhea, gas, GERD, heartburn, and upset stomach. See what we treat here.
Normal – most people pass gas around 14 times a day and emit between a half-liter to two liters of gas in a 24-hour period.
Seek care – when your gas is excessive or:
Very foul or excessive gas can be a symptom of IBS, GERD, food allergies/intolerances, bacteria overgrowth, infection, artificial sweeteners, antibiotics, and gas-producing foods like beans, broccoli, and cauliflower.
As noisy and gassy as it is, your gut keeps the rest of you healthy. Your microbiome regulates not only digestion but hormones, detoxification, and your body’s immune defenses. In fact, up to 80 percent of your immune system resides in your gut. So, if the microbes in your gut are out of balance, the rest of you will also be out of balance or unhealthy.
Healthy tummy. Healthy mind. Did you know your gut contains more neurotransmitters than your brain? Referred to as your “second brain,” your gut produces 70 to 80 percent of your serotonin, which helps regulate mood. An unhealthy gut can lead to conditions like depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders.6
Taking care of your gut is your first step to improving your overall physical and mental health. You can make your gut healthier by:
If you are feeling overwhelmed, stressed, or not like yourself, have an appointment with an MDLIVE mental health therapist in as little as one week.