Definition of Bowel sounds

Bowel sounds: The gurgling, rumbling, or growling noises from the abdomen caused by the muscular contractions of peristalsis, the process that moves the contents of the stomach and intestines downward.

Bowel sounds are normal. Their absence can indicate intestinal paralysis (ileus). Bowel sounds may also be temporarily absent after abdominal surgery. Their increase may indicate bowel obstruction.

Bowel sounds are also called borborygmus (plural: borborygmi).


Last Editorial Review: 9/20/2012

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