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Loud Stomach Noises

Q: I'm thrilled with my recent promotion and the opportunity to lead my team's morning update meetings. The problem is that inevitably my stomach starts to gurgle and growl shortly before we meet at 11 AM. The meetings are stressful enough without my worrying that my loud rumbles will be heard over the speaker phone! Eating a snack before the meeting doesn't help. How can I stop my stomach's embarrassing racket?

Dr. Donnica: Your borborygmi (the medical term for those rumblings) may be a side effect of stress. Even the good kind-like being excited about chairing the meeting-- can stimulate the smooth muscles of your intestines, forcing air pockets to move noisily through your system. Also, nervousness may cause you to unconsciously gulp air, which creates even more air pockets. Before the meeting, take a short break for some deep, slow relaxing breaths, ideally in through your nose, out through your mouth. Also: avoid doing anything that causes you to swallow air, like chewing gum, drinking through a straw or sipping on a carbonated drink. As you get more accustomed to your new job, your tummy will probably stop talking back. Other tips: be sure to have a good, balanced breakfast each morning (be sure to have some protein) and try 15-20 minutes of aerobic exercise before going to work in the morning.

Created: 8/27/2006  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.

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