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Why the stomach thump?
June 17, 2008 7:50 AM   Subscribe

Why does my stomach thump when I lay down? or really Does your stomach thump?

Lately, for the past few months or so, I've noticed my stomach/abdomen pulsing or thumping (basically along with my heartbeat). It's so noticeable now that I can't sleep or lay on my back without it annoying me. I can only sleep on my side. It's not painful.
I've read online that this can be a sign of an aortic aneurysm, which itself can either be dangerous or not-dangerous, depending on the size, but has to be monitored.
I've also read that everyone's stomach pulses somewhat. I'm pretty thin and don't have much padding in that area, so it could just be that, but I don't want to let something go that could potentially be dangerous. I also don't want to go to the doctor and have them think I'm a crazy hypochondriac.

Does your stomach pulse when you lay down? Have you seen a doctor for it? What did they say?
posted by fructose to Health & Fitness (20 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
I've had it happen to me occasionally. It's just blood pumping through your body. Unless you have any other strange symptoms there's nothing to worry about.
posted by Aanidaani at 8:13 AM on June 17, 2008


Mine does. I always just assumed it was a natural consequence of having a heart, but you can bet I'll be reading up on aortic aneurysm now.
posted by contraption at 8:13 AM on June 17, 2008


Mine does when I'm laying on my stomach, but not when I'm on my back (or at least, I don't notice it).
posted by sbutler at 8:18 AM on June 17, 2008


Mine does it. I am also thin. I've had ultrasounds on it (for an entirely different reason) and "OMG aneurysm" never came up. My personal, entirely uninformed opinion is that it's probably nothing.

However:

but I don't want to let something go that could potentially be dangerous. I also don't want to go to the doctor and have them think I'm a crazy hypochondriac.


You'd rather die than look silly in the eyes of one person. Interesting. FWIW, the doctor's more likely to think you're being cautious and responsible, and will be grateful for the payment either way. Ask a doctor.

(I'm glad you brought this up; I now have something new to freak out about.)
posted by Sys Rq at 8:18 AM on June 17, 2008


As I sit here I can feel my gut pulsing against the desk in time with my heart.

First time I noticed it was a few weeks ago when I was out for dinner, had Tartare de Boef (never order a dish if you don't understand the language!!) and afterwards thought my stomach was talking to me.

Next day I realised it was still doing it. Either it never did it before that uncooked minced beef and something has gone horribly wrong, or it has always pulsed but I just hadn't noticed till now.

I'm opting for just hadn't noticed.
posted by twistedonion at 8:21 AM on June 17, 2008


Are you talking about your abdominal aorta? That's what they do...
posted by phunniemee at 8:32 AM on June 17, 2008


I first noticed this when I was really thin, years ago. I still notice it, but not so much. (Not so thin any more unfortunately...)
posted by GardenGal at 8:32 AM on June 17, 2008


Just to tell a story...

A friend's grandpa had an abdominal aortic anuerism. He was at the doctor's for a checkup when the physician commented that he was having a hard time hearing grandpa's heart through his chest. Grandpa told the doctor he might have better luck if they listened to his stomach instead. By the end of the week they had him in surgery. IIRC, grandpa's abdominal aorta was the size of a cucumber.

Take the anecdote for what it's worth.
posted by sbutler at 8:38 AM on June 17, 2008


Shoot, I'll lay back and watch my stomach beat for fun. Mine has done that as long as I can remember and no doctor has found anything wrong with my circulatory system. I always figured it was because there are some thick, muscular arteries in that area.
posted by reebear at 9:25 AM on June 17, 2008


I've always been able to do this. Now I can worry about an aneurysm too!
posted by jrishel at 9:29 AM on June 17, 2008


Since you're getting a lot of "mine does this too!" answers, I'll counter that with "mine has never done that and that seems weird."
posted by desjardins at 9:56 AM on June 17, 2008


FWIW, it's not that I'd rather die than look silly. I had a crappy doctor as a kid that mom liked for some reason, who always thought I was making stuff up if it wasn't a sore throat. For example, one time I had pain in my left arm and he thought I was making it up. Went to another dr and turns out I had pinched something in my shoulder from wearing a really heavy backpack. Another time, I had pain in my chest. Doctor thought I was crazy again. Went to another doctor. They actually did an x-ray or something like it and I had inflammation in the cartilage in my rib cage.

The reason I'm asking about this is that it's gotten worse over the past few months and it's so intense now that I can't sleep on my back or even lay down on my back. I have to sit up or lay on my side to keep it from thumping really strongly. I'm also familiar with the abdominal aorta's location, and that's where the thumping is coming from. I'm just wondering if this strength warrants concern. Previous questions on Yahoo answers say yes, but we all know how Yahoo Answers is.
posted by fructose at 12:46 PM on June 17, 2008


The reason I'm asking about this is that it's gotten worse over the past few months and it's so intense now that I can't sleep on my back or even lay down on my back. I have to sit up or lay on my side to keep it from thumping really strongly. I'm also familiar with the abdominal aorta's location, and that's where the thumping is coming from. I'm just wondering if this strength warrants concern. Previous questions on Yahoo answers say yes, but we all know how Yahoo Answers is.

Sure. Any change over a short period of time deserves to be looked at.
posted by sbutler at 12:50 PM on June 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


it's gotten worse over the past few months

Forget everything you've read above, and go see a doctor; under any circumstances, having something get noticeably worse over a short period of time is always a red flag to see a doctor.
posted by davejay at 12:55 PM on June 17, 2008


If you don't know what an aneurysm is, you need to. Don't mess around with hypochondriaphobia (is that a word?) -- if you do have one and it bursts, you are almost certainly instantly dead. There's no time to get you to a hopsital for something like that. People who have an aneurysm burst even while already in a hopsital can often die.
posted by joquarky at 1:57 PM on June 17, 2008


Well, I can often feel my stomach pulse, as well. I don't think that, in itself, is what you need to worry about. As people have already said, it's the fact that the symptoms have changed that's the problem.

So, yes, please see a doctor. I've had similar experiences that you have, as far as doctors not taking seriously anything I have to say. Get on the phone, ask your friends for a good doctor, make an emergency appointment.

But don't allow yourself to be too freaked out, because there's also a pretty good chance you've just worked yourself into a frenzy about this pulse thing, and are imagining it getting worse and worse. I mean, don't bet your life on it -- and DO see the doctor -- but god knows that filling yourself with terror is going to make your situation worse.
posted by Coatlicue at 2:33 PM on June 17, 2008


If it would make you feel better to have it checked out... then definitely have it checked out.

I am thin (the lay on your back, stomach caved in, hip bones stick WAY out thin) and have the same 'issue'. It's even worse if there is pressure on my stomach - say, if my partner drapes his arm across my stomach as we're going to sleep. It will often hurt (the 'concentrated' throbbing), and often I have to shift his hand so that it's not so Right There.

I figure it is something of a consequence of being thin... and often sleep on my side or stomach instead of flat on my back.

Get it checked out just for your own piece of mind.
posted by Incognita at 3:07 PM on June 17, 2008


I'm gargantuan and I feel it when I'm lying on my tummy.
posted by taff at 8:45 PM on June 17, 2008


I've never thought anything of it. Mine (my diaphram) pulses quite visibly after exertion or (especially and extremely forcefully) if I'm very nervous.
Sometimes it does weird little.. spasm type things? Like hiccups?? I guess, just without having to look like a tool? :)
posted by mu~ha~ha~ha~har at 1:32 AM on June 18, 2008


it's gotten worse over the past few months

IMO: if you've gotten thinner over this time, don't worry; else go see the doc.
(IANAD)
posted by niloticus at 12:26 PM on June 19, 2008


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