Borborygmus: the silliest migraine symptom

A long, twisting whine woke me up at 2am today. Startled, my disorientation gave way to exasperated embarrassment as I realized the sound was emanating from my own abdomen. Sleep-fuddled and with no sensation associated with the sound, it took me a few minutes.

Migraine induces gastric stasis – this is part of the reason migraine meds don’t always work very well when taken by mouth and why I can’t eat during certain parts of an attack. I’d gone to bed early in the evening with a migraine and slept through most of the acute pain part of the attack. But now that part was ending and my guts were waking back up.

Amused, I tried to settle back to sleep, but a loud grumble followed. I tried some water and my intestines responded with a drawn-out squeak like a dying rubber ducky. I tried a snack and was rewarded with the spluttering hiss of an old radiator. I turned on an audiobook, but every few sentences was drowned out by a gurgle like the DIY toilet plumbing in a basement apartment.

Finally, after three hours of constant and remarkably loud emanations, my insides quieted down and I slept.

A short period of rather more sedate stomach noises often precedes and succeeds the acute phase of my migraine attacks. A dramatic session of borborygmi is unusual. But as far as migraine symptoms go, I don’t mind it so much – at least it’s funny!

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