|MadSci Network: Anatomy|
Borborygmus (plural borborygmi) is the rumbling sound made by gas and fluids moving through the intestines. The word was originally coined by the Ancient Greeks in an attempt to imitate the sounds their bellies made when they were hungry (making words that sound like what they describe is called onomatopoeia, of which borborygmus is an example).
The reason we experience borborygmi when we are hungry is that our bodies respond to the desire for food by a reflex (like a doctor hitting your knee with a hammer) which prepares the stomach for food by moving the stuff in the intestines out of the way, i.e. down to the rectum. This increased activity in the intestines causes small pockets of water and gas to be squeezed through the intestines, making bubbling and gurgling noises as it goes. Some people experience borborygmus after meals, since the same reflex is for digestion.
Great question, and happy borborygmi.
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