Belching is the process of expelling air through the mouth. It occurs normally for all people irrespective of their age and health condition. But for some people it occurs repeatedly in the same day causing embarrassment. When a person swallows too much of air unintentionally the stomach expands for accumulating the air. Eventually excess of air is sent out from the stomach through the mouth causing belching or burping.
Causes Of Excessive Burping :
Number of factors can cause excessive belching. Some people may swallow more air particles while eating quickly or drinking fast. Taking too much of carbonated drinks can also cause belching. Sometimes anxiety can trigger belching when too much of gas is released from the stomach. Newborns and infants are allowed to burp shortly after they finished with feeding since they always drink quickly taking in large amounts of air. They feel comfortable only after expelling excess of air from the stomach.
Some people belch frequently as a habit. For some people it can be due to medical issues like inflammation of the stomach or due to Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disorder (GERD). There are various factors and medical conditions that cause excessive belching. Aerophagia is the process of taking in lots of air involuntarily. Without their knowledge some people swallow excess of air while eating or drinking.
People who talk frequently while eating are prone to more belching than others. People who use chewing gum or candy regularly are likely to swallow excess of air. Drinking beverages that contain carbon, smoking, ill fit dentures and anxiety attack can trigger excessive belching. Having too much of alcohol, carbonated drinks, sugary foods, items rich in starch or fiber can also produce excess of gas causing belching.
Certain foods like cabbage, bananas, broccoli, peas, beans, onions, garlic and cauliflower can cause more gas. Certain drugs given for Type 2 diabetes like acarbose, pain killers like Ibuprofen or naproxen or aspirin and laxatives like sorbitol can cause more gas leading to belching. Certain medical conditions like gastroparesis, gastritis, peptic ulcer, malabsorption, lactose intolerance and certain stomach infections can cause gas and belching. Helicobacter pylori are the bacterium causing inflammation of the soft lining of the stomach which can irritate the cells causing more gas formation. Any ulcers or sores on the stomach or intestine, or on the throat can cause gas.
When to see a doctor? :
Belching is a normal process if it happens occasionally. But people who belch or burp frequently due to heartburn accompanied with abdominal pain should seek medical guidance.
Your doctor would order some testing procedures based on your symptoms. If there is abdominal pain while belching he may ask you to undergo ultrasound scan of the stomach and intestine. He would analyze the cause for excessive belching and accordingly proceed with testing process. He may request for abdominal scan, X-ray and CT/MRI scan if necessary to rule out any anomalies.
Your doctor will consider factors like your age, health and list of medications you are currently taking before treating excessive belching. The method of treatment depends on the underlying medical cause or other factors.
Home Remedies :
- You should start eating and drinking slowly. Don’t talk while eating.
- A small walk after eating can help you to expel air easily.
- Lying on your side can help to relieve the excess of gas from the stomach.
- Sit down by bending your knees together and keeping it close to your chest. This position will help you to expel the gas with ease.
- Avoid using chewing gum or candies frequently.
Medical Treatment :
Your doctor will ask you series of questions about your symptoms, eating habits and drinking. He would ask you to maintain a food chart for few days to know the exact reason. If certain foods are causing excessive belching you will have to avoid it in future. If drinking alcohol is the major cause for belching try to reduce your intake. In case if there is inflammation of the stomach he would prescribe suitable medications to treat swelling.
For occasional belching and acidity over the counter antacids can give relief. But for repeated belching you can consult your doctor. If the cause is due to GERD suitable drugs are to be taken regularly and you will be instructed to avoid certain foods that are more acidic. Prolonged belching can affect the normal functions of your digestive system and intestine. Hence you need to know the reason and triggering factors for belching.