B2 High-Intermediate US 12409 Folder Collection
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Our digestive systems seem to like making noise -- especially when we most desperately
do not want them to be making strange gurgling sounds. [gurgle]
And I mean, even though stomach-growling is probably one of the less offensive noises
your guts can produce, it’s still not something you want happening in the middle of a thoughtful
pause during a job interview.
Now, you’d think that simply eating right before that important meeting would avoid
that problem. Because if you’re not hungry, your stomach isn’t going to growl, right?
Well, it might help a little, but you could still be in for some awkward moments.
Because even though stomach rumbles do have something to do with hunger, that’s not their immediate cause.
Instead, those noises are caused by the movement of air through your digestive tract. And even
though that air isn’t actually escaping your body, it does create some distinctive acoustic effects.
Your digestive system moves things around using muscle contractions. Mostly, it’s
just trying to transport partially digested food, but in the process, air gets shifted
around, too, creating sound vibrations.
In your stomach and small intestine, that air makes a noise that’s sorta like when
you blow bubbles through a straw in your drink -- except that the bubbles are either moving
up toward your stomach or down toward your… other end.
Hunger can make it worse, too. Being hungry causes extra muscle contractions to flare
up, because your digestive system has to clear out the remains of your last meal to prepare
for the next round of food.
When you eat, not only that does help calm down those contractions, but having some food
in there also helps muffle the sound a little.
But in the end it doesn’t really matter if you’re hungry or not because if your
digestive system is active, it’s going to make noise. And like the rest of your bodily
functions, there’s not a whole lot you can do about it.
A big thanks to Sarah A, a supporter on Patreon, for asking us this question! If you’d like
to submit questions to be answered, or get these Quick Questions videos a few days early,
check out Patreon.com/SciShow.
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Why Does Your Stomach Make Noises?

12409 Folder Collection
VoiceTube published on June 2, 2015    Amy.Lin translated    Derek reviewed
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