While it can be an odd sensation, it’s not uncommon for people to feel their heartbeat in their stomach. In fact, sometimes a person can detect a visible pulse in their stomach. If that’s you, you may have wondered, “Why can I feel my heartbeat in my stomach?”. Fortunately, it’s usually nothing to worry about. However, there are rare instances when the sensation is a warning sign of a serious medical condition.
Common Causes of a Pulse in the Stomach
If you’ve ever asked, “Why is my stomach moving like a heartbeat?”, you’re not alone. Many people have the same experience. What you’re feeling is the pulse in your abdominal aorta, which is a section of the main artery that carries blood from your heart to the rest of your body. The artery always has a pulse, of course, but you’re more likely to become aware of it if you’re:
Reclining, especially with your knees raised, makes it easier to detect a pulse in your lower stomach. If you don’t have much abdominal fat, you may even see your pulse.
When you eat, your body sends more blood to your abdomen to help with digestion and absorb nutrients. This increase in blood flow can make you more aware of your heartbeat in that area.
When a woman is pregnant, the amount of blood circulating in her body increases significantly. This can make a pulse in the abdominal aorta more apparent. Sometimes this pulse can be misidentified as the baby’s heartbeat.
Pulse in Stomach: Sign of an Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm?
If you feel a pulse in your stomach, it can probably be attributed to one of the three causes above. However, there’s a condition called an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) that can cause you to feel your heartbeat in your abdomen.
An AAA is when the wall of the abdominal aorta weakens and stretches out like a balloon. If an AAA becomes large enough, it can rupture, causing serious internal bleeding. The condition can affect anyone, but is most common in men, people who are over the age of 65 and those who have high blood pressure. Learn more about abdominal aortic aneurysm.