Hyperactive Bowel Sounds

Hyperactive bowel sounds or abdominal sounds are the noises which are made by the intestines usually during the process of digestion. The noises are made when food is pushed or moved through the intestines during digestion. The concept of bowel sounds can be explained with the help of water pipes. Just as the water pipes, the intestines are also hollow; the bowel sounds can just echo through the abdomen. Bowel sounds are perfectly normal and harmless and they occur in usual circumstances. Louder abdominal sounds do indicate that the gastrointestinal tract is working fine. Bowel sounds are normal phenomenon; however, sometimes these sounds do give valuable information about the health condition of the body. Bowel sounds are classified as hyperactive and hypoactive. While hyperactive refers to the increased or rather extremely loud sounds, hypoactive refers to the reduced bowel sounds.

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Hypoactive or hyperactive bowel sounds are perfectly normal and they are the result of normal digestion process. However, there are conditions when these bowel sounds are caused due to abnormal process. Blocked blood vessels in the intestines which obstruct them from getting proper blood flow could be one of the reasons of abnormal bowel sounds. A medical condition called as mesenteric artery ischemia may be caused due to blood clots in the intestines. Due to this condition, the arteries which supplies blood gets blocked and it causes lower bowel sounds. Bowel obstructions are also caused by diseases like tumor, adhesions, hernia, etc. which also blocks the intestines. Blood vessel blockage, hypokalemia (chemical imbalance), bowel blockage, infection, overexpansion of the bowel results in reduced nerve activity which causes paralytic ileus which in turn results in hyperactive bowel sounds. Some of the other reasons of hyperactive bowel sounds are diarrhea, food allergy, Crohn’s disease, infectious enteritis, GI bleeding, ulcerative colitis, etc. Trauma is another cause of increase or decreased activity of bowel sounds.


Hyperactive bowel sounds are generally caused due to digestion. It is the natural process of digestion. Other symptoms of hyperactive bowel sounds include excessive gastric formation, diarrhea, constipation, and stools with traces of blood, vomiting, nausea, heartburn, and sudden or unintentional weight loss. Sometimes the patients may also experience a state of fullness or acute abdominal pain.

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The prolonged stomach pain should prompt the patients to visit a doctor who would diagnose for the presence of any complexities. Sometimes, the abdominal sounds occur with various other symptoms where the doctors would do various tests to find out the underlying cause. The first observation is usually done with the help of stethoscope where the doctors listen to the bowel sounds and see for any abnormalities in them. Various questions are asked by the doctors to know the underlying cause of hyperactive bowel sounds. Some of these questions include how long the patients have abdominal pain, how long he is suffering from diarrhea, constipation, what are the other symptoms associated with the bowel sounds, is there any bleeding observed in the stools, etc. The questions mainly link to the symptoms observed in the increased bowel syndrome. Depending on the patient’s responses to the above questions, the doctors would then go ahead and do other diagnostic tests to find out the complexities. Post this, there are various other tests done to know if the patients are suffering from any other complex diseases. Various types of tests which are required to be done include CT (Computed Tomography) scan which take the x-ray images of the abdominal area of the body, an abdominal x-ray scan, endoscopy where a camera attached to a small tube is inserted in the abdomen of the patient through mouth and it takes of the pictures of any possible ulcers in the area and other blood tests which is required to find out if the abdomen pain is due to any kind of infection or organ damage.

Diagnosis should be done at the right time to understand the underlying cause. Whenever patients experience symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, unstoppable constipation, nausea, bleeding of the rectum, etc., they should immediately refer to a medical professional.


In case of emergency, the patients are not allowed to eat or drink anything so that the intestines take enough rests. A tube is placed inside the mouth or nose and fluids and medicines are provided through veins. This is required to be done strictly in the presence of medical professional, especially in the hospitals. Medication may be given to reduce the symptoms. The type of medicines solely depends on the symptoms and the complexities of the cases.

Bowel sounds are perfectly normal and it is a part of the digestion process. However, people are required to understand the symptoms of hyperactive bowel sounds and if required medical attention should be sought.

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