Bowel Cancer and Stomach Noises: Exploring the Connection

Apr 16, 2024 | 5 min read

Question on this topic? Get an instant answer from AI Doctor.Instant answer from AI Doctor.

Stomach noises, while usually normal, can be linked with bowel cancer if accompanied by other symptoms. Bowel cancer, impacting the colon and rectum, is a major global health concern due to its prevalence and severity of its impact. It's important to recognize early signs, like changes in bowel habits or abdominal discomfort, for effective treatment. Regular screenings and awareness of these symptoms are crucial in managing this serious condition.

bowel cancer stomach noises

Understanding Bowel Cancer

Bowel cancer, also known as colorectal cancer, is a significant health concern worldwide. It primarily affects the large intestine, which includes the colon and rectum. This type of cancer is characterized by the growth of malignant cells in the lining of the bowel, and if undetected, it can spread to other parts of the body.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), colorectal cancer ranks as the third most common cancer globally. It accounts for about 10% of all cancer cases and is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide. These statistics highlight the critical need for awareness and early detection to improve survival rates.

Symptoms of Bowel Cancer

Early Warning Signs

Recognizing the early warning signs of bowel cancer is crucial for timely diagnosis and treatment. Here are some common symptoms that might indicate the presence of bowel cancer:

  • Changes in Bowel Habits: Persistent changes that last for more than a few days, such as diarrhea, constipation, or a change in the consistency of your stool.
  • Blood in the Stool: Noticing blood, either bright red or very dark, in your stool can be a sign of bowel cancer.
  • Abdominal Discomfort: Frequent gas pains, bloating, fullness, or cramps can also be symptoms.
  • Stomach Noises: While typically normal, if accompanied by other symptoms like changes in bowel habits or abdominal discomfort, it could warrant a check-up.
  • Unexplained Weight Loss: Losing weight without trying can be a sign of several types of cancer, including bowel cancer.
  • Feeling that Your Bowel Does Not Empty Completely: If you consistently feel as if you cannot empty your bowel, it might be a sign of a blockage.
  • Weakness or Fatigue: General weakness or severe tiredness that does not go away can be indicative of many health issues, including bowel cancer.
  • Anemia: Caused by a lack of iron, which may be due to chronic bleeding from a tumor.

For those noticing initial signs or seeking more information on symptoms related to bowel health, exploring resources like the Symptom Checker can be a helpful first step. However, it's essential to remember that online tools are not substitutes for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

Docus AI Symptom Checker

Docus AI Symptom Checker

Just 3 simple steps to efficiently understand and manage your health symptoms online.

Advanced Symptoms

As bowel cancer progresses, the symptoms can become more severe and indicative of advanced disease. Recognizing these symptoms is crucial for seeking timely medical intervention. Here are some advanced symptoms of bowel cancer:

  • Severe Abdominal Pain: Intense and persistent abdominal pain can indicate that the cancer has grown or spread.
  • Obstruction in the Bowel: Symptoms such as severe constipation, abdominal swelling, and pain may suggest a bowel obstruction, which is a serious complication of advanced bowel cancer.
  • Significant Weight Loss: While unexplained weight loss is also an early sign, in advanced stages, the weight loss can be drastic and noticeable.
  • Increased Fatigue: Profound tiredness that doesn't improve with rest can be a sign of advanced cancer due to the body's resources being consumed by the disease.
  • Rectal Bleeding: Heavy bleeding from the rectum may occur as the tumor grows larger or ulcerates.
  • Iron-deficiency Anemia: Persistent anemia that does not respond to usual treatment could be a sign of chronic blood loss from an advanced tumor.
  • Visible Changes in the Tumor: In some cases, a tumor in the rectum can be felt or seen protruding through the anus, indicating very advanced disease.

If you experience any of these advanced symptoms, it's imperative to seek immediate medical consultation. Early action can make a significant difference in treatment efficacy and overall prognosis.

Stomach Noises and Bowel Cancer

Stomach noises, such as gurgling or rumbling, are generally not considered a direct sign of bowel cancer. These sounds are typically normal and are caused by the movement of gas and fluid through the intestines. They can occur in many benign conditions related to digestion, such as indigestion, dietary changes, or temporary gastrointestinal upset.

However, if these noises are accompanied by other symptoms like changes in bowel habits, persistent abdominal pain, blood in the stool, or unexplained weight loss, it would be prudent to consult a healthcare professional. These additional symptoms could potentially indicate bowel cancer or another serious gastrointestinal condition.

Other Causes of Stomach Noises

While stomach noises can be a symptom of bowel cancer, it's essential to recognize that various other conditions can also cause these sounds. These include:

  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS): A common disorder affecting the large intestine, causing cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea, and constipation.
  • Food Intolerances: Difficulty digesting certain types of foods can lead to excessive gas, bloating, and stomach noises.
  • Gastrointestinal Infections: Viruses, bacteria, or parasites can infect the GI tract, leading to changes in digestion and associated noises.

Each of these conditions presents with symptoms that may overlap with those of bowel cancer but are distinct enough to warrant a different approach to diagnosis and treatment. Recognizing the differences in symptoms can help in identifying the underlying cause of stomach noises and guide appropriate medical advice.

Diagnosis and Screening

The diagnosis of bowel cancer typically begins with a thorough medical history and physical examination, including a digital rectal examination (DRE). This initial step allows healthcare professionals to check for abnormalities in the lower rectum. For a more detailed investigation, procedures such as a colonoscopy or imaging tests like computed tomography (CT) colonography may be recommended.

  • Colonoscopy is a key diagnostic tool where a long, flexible tube equipped with a camera is used to examine the entire colon and rectum. It can detect polyps, cancer, and other diseases of the colon.
  • CT Colonography, also known as virtual colonoscopy, uses CT imaging to produce pictures of the colon and rectum. It's less invasive than traditional colonoscopy and doesn't require sedation.

Screening plays a pivotal role in early detection, significantly impacting treatment outcomes. Current guidelines suggest that individuals at average risk of bowel cancer start regular screening at age 45 to 50. Screening methods, such as fecal immunochemical tests (FIT) or colonoscopy, can detect bowel cancer early, even before symptoms arise. Regular screening is the most effective strategy for early detection, significantly improving treatment outcomes. 

When to See a Doctor

It's essential to consult a healthcare professional if you experience:

  • Persistent changes in bowel habits.
  • Blood in your stool or unusual stomach noises, especially if accompanied by weight loss or fatigue.
  • Any new or unusual symptoms that don't go away.

Frequently Asked Questions

Have more questions?Ask AI Doctor


  • Stomach noises are typically normal digestive sounds, but are significant when accompanied by other symptoms of bowel cancer.
  • Bowel cancer ranks as the third most common cancer worldwide and the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths.
  • Early detection is crucial for improving treatment outcomes. Key early warning signs include changes in bowel habits, blood in the stool, abdominal discomfort, and unexplained weight loss.
  • Advanced symptoms of bowel cancer include severe abdominal pain and visible changes in tumors.
  • Regular screenings and vigilance regarding symptoms are essential for effective prevention and treatment of bowel cancer.
AI Assistant

Have Questions?

Have a question on this topic? Submit it here and get an instant answer from our AI Doctor.

Please Note!This tool is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always consult a professional before taking any actions.

Make Informed Health Decisions

Talk to Docus AI Doctor, generate health reports, get them validated by Top Doctors from the US and Europe.

Make Informed Health Decisions

You’re only one click away from a life-changing journey

Virtual health assistant powered by AI
350+ world-renowned Doctors