Burping, also called belching, is an escape of air from the stomach. It's usually a way for the body to relieve abdominal distress caused by excessive air buildupparticularly after eating a large meal or drinking a carbonated beverage.
Symptoms of Belching
- An eruptive noise from the mouth and throat
- Possible burning sensation in the throat or mouth, nausea
- Indigestion (dyspepsia) or heartburn
What Causes Burping?
One cause of burping is swallowing airwhich can occur if you eat too quickly, chew with your mouth open, talk while you are chewing, chew gum or drink through a straw. Drinking carbonated beverages can also increase the amount of air that reaches your stomach. Dairy products and vegetables can cause burping. Inhaling smoke and poorly fitted dentures also can cause belching.
What If You Do Nothing?
Although burping can be embarrassing in social situations, it's usually not a problem that requires treatment.
Home Remedies for Belching
Excessive burping linked with swallowing too much air, may be eliminated by making a conscious effort to swallow much less. These measures may help.
- Eat soup before the main course. Soups prepare the GI tract for digestion by removing salts and liquids and by generating gastric acid.
- Avoid rapid eating. Eat four to six mini-meals throughout the day, which can stave off hunger pangs and curb your desire to eat too rapidly.
- Take small bites when you eat.
- Chew food with your mouth closed. This will keep you from taking in extra air when you swallow. Also avoid talking with food in your mouth.
- Cut back or eliminate gum chewing.
- Cut back or eliminate carbonated beverages. The carbon dioxide gas in the beverages can cause excessive belching.
- Don't take calcium carbonate. Calcium supplements made from calcium carbonate can release carbon dioxide in some people, creating excess gas in the stomach. If you take calcium supplements regularly, choose another form of calcium, such as calcium citrate.
- Add mint to your drinking water. Mint acts as a natural digestive agent and eases digestion.
Beyond Home Remedies: When To Call Your Doctor
Burping is usually an insignificant problem. However, excessive belching often results from aerophagia, an unconscious nervous habit of swallowing too much air. Professional help is required if this becomes a chronic problem.
What Your Doctor Will Do
If excessive belching becomes a problem, your physician will review your diet and check for specific foods or drinks that are causing the distress. Your doctor will also point out personal habits, such as sucking on candy, eating too quickly, smoking, and gum chewing, that can cause excessive swallowing and may be the source of your belching.
The Complete Home Wellness Handbook
John Edward Swartzberg, M.D., F.A.C.P., Sheldon Margen, M.D., and the editors of the UC Berkeley Wellness Letter
Updated by Remedy Health Media