Excessive contractions of the stomach and bowels

Emobileclinic Trending Topic: Hyperperistalsis (Stomach Churning)

Stomach churning is a term that often describes excessive contractions of the stomach and bowels (hyperperistalsis) usually with a sick in the stomach feeling. It can occur for a number of reasons but indicates that the gut is irritated or overactive. 


Peristalsis is the normal bowel motions that move food and wastes through the different parts of the gut. It also helps with mixing food with digestive enzymes and mechanically breaking it down in the stomach. Smooth muscle in the wall of the gut makes peristalsis possible. These muscles are stimulated to contract or relax by nerves. These nerves are in turn controlled by the brain or by local nerve reflexes. Peristalsis starts from as high up as the throat and continues all the way to the rectum. However, when it is excessive then it is referred to as hyperperistalsis.

Signs and Symptoms

A churning stomach is a symptom.

Tight or bloated feeling is abnormal. 



Borborymi (stomach noises) that are abnormally loud and/or prolonged

 Diarrhea or constipation.

Excessive gas experienced as frequent belching or flatulence.

Abdominal pain or cramping 


Causes of Churning Stomach

The causes are classified as acute or chronic.

Acute Causes (Sudden, Short Term)


Infections of the stomach, small intestine and large intestine – food poisoning, gastroenteritis, cholera.

Overuse of laxatives.

Oral poisoning or toxicity from overdose.

Motion sickness.

Prolonged hunger, strict dieting/fasting.

Strenuous exercise 

Pregnancy in first trimester


Chronic Causes (Long Term)

Chronic conditions last for a much longer term, from about 3 months onwards. Some are lifelong.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) 

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)

Lactose intolerance (milk intolerance)

 Celiac disease where there is an autoimmune reaction to gluten (wheat protein).

Pancreas and/or gallbladder disease where the breakdown of foods may be impaired.

Adhesions which are collections of scar tissue that develops in some people after abdominal surgery.

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) which occurs monthly and where nausea/vomiting are prominent symptoms.

Gastrointestinal obstruction, particularly around the stomach outlet or lower down the gut.

Remedies to Ease Stomach Churning

There is no specific remedy for stomach churning, however, the following measures may offer momentary relief until medical attention can be sought.

Increase water intake. 

Stand up straight and walk around slowly to aid digestion.

Peppermint and ginger teas are purported to assist with digestive symptoms.

Antacids can be helpful in easing indigestion.

Effervescent salts may help in relieving gas.

Stop intake of caffeinated beverages (tea, coffee and cola) or alcoholic drinks.

 Pass stool without strain. 


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