Burping refers to the release of air, accumulated in the stomach, along with a sound through the mouth. It helps alleviate discomfort of the stomach caused due to increased gas content.
Burping 2 to 3 times is considered as normal. However, constant burping is usually a sign of some underlying gastrointestinal condition. Patients may consult a doctor to diagnose the cause of excessive burping.
What causes excessive burping?
Burping may be caused due to the below listed conditions.
- Incorrect eating habits
- An irregular eating schedule, i.e., eating at odd hours.
- Intake of heavy meals during dinners. Late night dinners.
- Improper chewing of food. Gulping down food at a fast pace.
- Intake of heavy meals without any physical activity.
- Eating huge food portions with a single bite.
- Excessive intake of alcohol
- Increased intake of beer, carbonated beverages, tea, coffee, etc.
- Increased intake of food known to produce increased gas in stomach, like beans, cabbage, onions, broccoli, sugar-free food items, milk and dairy products, etc.
- Disorders and diseases
- People with allergies or intolerance to certain foods may suffer from constant burping after eating such foods.
- Indigestion may occur when stomach enzymes, acid, and/or digestive juices are present in insufficient quantities. Stomach acids can get diluted when increased amounts of liquids are consumed during meals. Lack of proper digestion of food can cause the accumulation of gas in the digestive tract, thereby causing continuous burping.
- Candida albicans yeast infection can also alter the production of stomach acid and enzymes, thereby causing increased food fermentation in the bowels, indigestion, and excessive burping.
- Irritable bowel syndrome is a disease marked by large intestine dysfunction and excessive burping.
- Gallbladder diseases may affect the storage of bile, which in turn can adversely affect the digestion of fats, thereby causing digestive problems and burping.
- Patients with acid reflux disease and heartburn may also suffer from continuous burping.
- Abnormal burping may also occur due to gastrointestinal blockages, infection, or other digestive tract ailments.
- People with lactose intolerance and celiac disease are known to suffer from constant burping, in addition to other adverse reactions, after the intake of milk products or gluten foods, respectively.
- Scar tissue, internal adhesions via surgery, and hernias can also cause burping, pain, and bloating.
- Dyspepsia, gastric cancer, and gastroparesis are other digestive system conditions that can cause abnormal belching.
- The levels of progesterone rise during pregnancy. This hormone is responsible for relaxing all muscle tissues, including the muscles of the abdomen and digestive tract. This can slow down the digestive process and eventually cause nausea, bloating, and excessive burping, etc.
- The growing uterus can also exert pressure on the abdomen, which can then cause the gas to get released as burps.
- Low inactivity during pregnancy can cause indigestion and subsequently abnormal burping. Hence, pregnant women need to be active.
How to stop burping/treatment for burping
Treatment of chronic burping is dependent on diagnosis and elimination of the underlying cause. A few treatment options and home remedies to stop burping are listed below:
- Digestive conditions like IBS, gastroesophageal reflux disease, stomach ulcers, and gallbladder disease, etc., can be alleviated with medications. Minor cases of belching can be alleviated with OTC antacids. Doctors may prescribe digestive enzyme supplements to counter deficient stomach enzymes.
- A runny nose may cause excessive swallowing of air. Use nasal decongestants to alleviate the nasal ailment and ease burping.
- Maladjusted dentures can also cause increased swallowing of air. Adjust the dentures on an annual basis to prevent burping issues.
- Some medications can also cause burping as a side effect. If the belching is excessive, then consult a doctor for alternative medications.
- Drinking herbal teas like chamomile tea, and peppermint tea, etc. can also help ease digestive problems and burping.
- Intake of ginger tea with a dash of lime juice; papaya; yogurt; a tonic made from cold water, lemon juice, and baking soda; celery, caraway, cumin, and fennel seeds; and cardamom tea after meals can calm the digestive tract, help digestion, and ease bloating and belching.
- The production of digestive juices, enzymes, stomach acids, and hormones can be enhanced via regular exercise. This can thus not only prevent food indigestion and increased food fermentation, but also promote quick food digestion and alleviate burping.
- Change the eating habits.
- Maintain a gap of at least three to four hours between meals and between dinner and sleep.
- Eat slowly and chew the food properly before gulping it down; it will prevent swallowing of air as well as assist in proper mixing of saliva with the food which will then aid digestion.
- Try and limit conversations when chewing to prevent swallowing of air.
- Avoid using straws for drinking beverages as it facilitates the intake of large amounts of air.
- Avoid eating hot and cold foods one after the other.
- Eat steamed vegetables, instead of boiling them as it helps preserve the enzymes in them.
- Avoid eating fatty, oily, heavy, and spicy meals. Instead go for a balanced diet with low calorie content.
- Sucking on hard candy and chewing gum also causes swallowing of air. So avoid it.
- Avoid the increased intake of aerated water, carbonated beverages, beer, and alcoholic drinks to ease and prevent belching.
- Find the foods that cause burping and avoid or limit their intake. Some known gassy foods are beans, milk, onions, lentils, apples, ice-cream, pulses, prunes, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, peaches, lettuce, chocolate, pears, mousses, whipped cream, and soufflé. Instead eat fiber rich vegetables and fruits to help the digestive processes and avoid constipation and burping.
- Quit smoking and avoid excessive stress as they can cause indigestion.
- Wear loose clothing, especially those which are not tight or restrictive around the waist area. It will prevent increased pressure on the abdominal area, thereby preventing air to be pushed up and out as burps.