Sounds produced by liquid and air moving through the digestive tract. Doctors use a stethoscope to assess bowel sounds. Normal bowel sounds include irregular, gurgling noises. Loud, rumbling, gurgling noises occur during hyperactive intestinal peristalsis (the wavelike muscle movement that moves food through the digestive tract). Hyperactivity may be the result of gastroenteritis, diarrhea, or hunger. Rushed, high-pitched bowel sounds can be an early indication of an intestinal obstruction. The absence of bowel sounds can be a serious symptom of an obstruction.