Stomach and Churning By Ryan Esdale and Tom Fielder Why? The stomach churns to digest food – this is the mechanical breaking down of food (not the chemical). How? The wall of the stomach has layers of muscle. The churning action is made by the outer wall of muscle. When? Churning is an involuntary action that occurs about every 20 seconds. Why? (again) Churning helps mix the food with gastric juice to break it up into smaller pieces. Only when the food is sufficiently broken up can it leave the stomach and move into the small intestine. If it all goes wrong!! Dysmotility means ‘slow or unco-ordinated movement’ and is when the stomach takes too long to empty. Instead of the food moving down to the small intestine, it just sits there. As a result, you might feel queasy or have a heavy, bloated stomach, as if you have eaten a huge meal when you have only eaten normally. Sometimes, in bad cases, the stomach’s normal churning process can almost go into reverse and the food is forced back up!!!