co-written by Rick Olazabal, BSc, BN
Belching, burping or eructation is a normal process. Most of us don’t ever worry about it.
On the other hand, persistent belching may indicate an underlying digestive system disorder…
In most cases, burping is due to an excess of air intake with food or beverage. Making simple lifestyle changes can help control the frequency of belching and alleviate any discomfort associated with it. This article will explore 5 easy tips for you to take into account.
What is burping?
This one is a no-brainer, but just to be legitimate, we looked up the definition. And just in case you’ve never belched before, it is the release of gas—from esophagus and stomach—through the mouth. It may be accompanied by a typical sound and, at times, a less-than-lovely odour.
How it occurs?
Swallowing excess air while eating or drinking too quickly can result in belching. Other behaviour like consumption of carbonated drinks will induce this. Underlying digestive problems can also lead to belching.
For example, people with heartburn or acid reflux can burp more frequently. When stomach acids rise up the esophagus it’s natural to swallow more to lessen the discomfort. Belching helps to release the excess air associated with constant swallowing. Constant belching could be a sign of digestive conditions that require medical treatment.
Some examples are delayed gastric emptying, infection with H.pylori (a common stomach bacteria that’s associated with stomach cancer) and peptic ulcer disease (painful sores in the stomach and or small intestine lining). Gallbladder problems can, in some cases, cause symptoms such as belching.
Although rarely, stomach or esophageal cancer can exhibit severe burping. If your belches are persistent and accompanied by nausea, pain, bloody stools, weight loss, and fever, you should consult a doctor immediately.
What we should or should not do to reduce burping?
- Be a mindful chewer: eat and drink slowly to avoid swallowing excess air. Remember how your mother told you not to talk while you eat? Here’s another reason why. Mothers know best! By chewing your food properly, you’d be ingesting less excess air, and you’d also be giving your digestive tract time to process the meal better, which also helps with satiety.
- Avoid carbonation: cut down on carbonated drinks and beer. This is perhaps the simplest tip, but not necessarily the easiest to avoid—especially in the summer time. But these drinks release carbon dioxide gas which may worsen belching and burping, and can erode the enamel of your teeth, making them weak and painful.
- Don’t be afraid of the doc: go in for your regular check-up. If you have not seen your healthcare provider in over a year, perhaps it is time to drop in for a visit. It just takes a few minutes and can give you additional peace of mind. If you’re unsure why you’re belching, this may be a good place to start!
- There hasn’t been a better time to stop smoking: inhaling cigarette smoke results in excess swallowed air. Other reasons to stop smoking include bad breath, oral cancer, lung cancer. If you need your fix, stress management may need just want you need. I’m sure you’ve heard it all, but we gotta keep encouraging you; you can do it!
- Pick up a physical activity to manage your stress. Excess tension can cause you to swallow air. Stress is associated with so many things, and poor digestion is yet another reason to manage your stress.
Bonus: In some cultures, it is traditional to ingest certain digestive seeds (and plant bits) to help with digestion, reduce bloating and belching. Some of these include fennel, caraway (Persian cumin), peppermint, turmeric, coriander, star anise, etc.