|MadSci Network: Anatomy|
The growling of your stomach (and intestines too) has to do with the presence of air within your gut. Your gut is a hollow tube that is lined with muscle. This muscle contracts even when you are hungry, producing waves of activity known as Migrating Myoelectric Complexes. The Cyberzine on Gastroelectrophysiology has a somwhat technical discussion of MMCs that displays a few graphs of this activity in the stomach. The term 'myoelectric' has to do with the electrical activity of contracting muscle (myo=muscle). This activity is detected by placing electrodes at different locations on or near various regions of the stomach. The procedure involves putting a tube from the mouth into the stomach, so it is not a commonly performed in people.
Between meals these Migrating Myoelectric Complexes propagate along the entire length of the gut. The continued contractions of the stomach and intestines serve to keep mucus, remaining foodstuffs and bacteria from accumulating at any one site. The contractions also produce vibrations when air bubbles become trapped in the lumen. These vibrations produce the growling noises associated with hunger.
Return to the MadSci Network