When food is broken down in the stomach and intestine to create energy, it releases gas or flatulence. When you pass air or gas through the mouth, either voluntarily or involuntarily, it is called belching or burping. While eating you tend to swallow air, which is passed out through burps. 3 or 4 burps post meal is normal. Sometimes burping can be a nervous habit or be caused due to health conditions like ulcer or gall bladder disorder. Burping loudly after a meal is considered a sign of appreciation in some cultures.
However, sometimes you tend to burp more than normal and will tend to wonder why am I burping so much? Let us find out what can cause excessive burping and what can be done about it.
Why Am I Burping So Much?
When a person gets a feeling of fullness, burning sensation in the chest or gnawing in the upper abdomen after meals, it is medically referred to as dyspepsia. People usually refer to it as “gas” or bloating. This is also accompanied by other symptoms like decreased appetite, high flatulence, rumbling in the stomach, belching and changed bowel movements. The cause can be something very minor or serious as well.
1. Foods that You Eat
If you wonder – why am I burping so much – you should look at the foods you have eaten. Foods like beans, carbonated beverages, fatty foods, broccoli and cabbage etc. cause belching. When people who are lactose intolerant but continue eating lots of dairy products, more than what they can tolerate, are prone to excessive belching. But if you have not made any changes to your diet, the cause can be something else.
2. Indigestion and Heartburn
Indigestion can also cause excessive burping. This will be then accompanied by heartburn or discomfort in the chest region near the sternum. Indigestion symptoms can be caused by eating spicy foods, alcohol, smoking or bacterial infection caused by Helicobacter pylori. This can also include excessive burping, but burping by itself is not considered a serious medical problem.
Heartburn can be caused due to excessive weight, smoking, wearing tight clothes, lying down or bending down after over weighting.
3. IBD or Abdominal Conditions
Bloating or burping can be seen sometimes in people who are suffering from inflammatory bowel disease or have had an abdominal surgery, caused due to intestinal blockage. Such people should get their burping immediately checked by the doctor. The doctor will investigate and figure out a solution for the burping.
4. Other Causes of Excessive Burping
- Duodenal ulcers
- Cholecystitis or gallbladder pain
- Depression or anxiety
- Stomach cancer
- Swallowing air while eating
- Dyspepsia can be side of effect of medicines such as aspirin, antibiotics, steroids, theophylline and digoxin
- Peptic ulcers which are sores in the intestinal lining can also cause excessive burping
- Bowel obstruction or Crohn’s disease can also cause burping
What Can You Do to Relieve Burping?
Now that we have seen the causes to the question – why am I burping so much? We will look at what can be done to reduce the burping.
1. Make Changes in Your Dietary Habits
- Ensure that you eat and drink slowly, so that you swallow less air along with each gulp.
- Avoid beverages and alcohol, which is carbonated, like beer, since they release carbon dioxide in the stomach.
- If you are used to eating lots of gum or hard candy, stop it. This is because you swallow a lot more while eating it and a lot of air goes in.
2. Keep Healthy Life Habits
- Smoking also causes you to inhale lot of air along with smoke.
- People wearing dentures should get them checked for fitting, since ill fitting dentures make you swallow more air per bite or gulp.
- If you suffer from heartburn, get it checked and treated. Mild heartburn can be treated using antacids, which are available over the counter. However, for GERD, stronger prescription medication will be required.
- Avoid wearing tight clothes around the abdomen.
- If you are overweight, lose weight. Even 5 to 10 pounds of weight loss can help.
- Take a light walk after eating. It moves the foods further in the digestive tract and helps in relieving bloating and discomfort.
3. Maintain Proper Sleeping Positions
- Keeping your head elevated slightly, even by 6-8 inches while sleeping can help deal with dyspepsia.
- Keep foam wedge under mattress or put the bed frame on blocks to get elevation. Using more pillows will not help.
- Try sleeping on the right side or on your stomach. This causes the gas to pass and also helps in easing the feeling of fullness.
4. Drink Teas
Teas made using fennel seeds, anise or celery seeds help in relieving belching. You can find them in the spice section of supermarkets. You can take a pinch of these post dinner and chew on them. This will reduce the belching, since these seeds have carminative agents, which are helpful in removing gas from the gut.
Folk treatment suggests using Camomile tea to be used for stomachache and providing relief from burping. You can use store bought tea bags.
When to See Your Doctor
Usually excessive belching, bloating or gas resolves on its own. However, you should contact your doctor if you continue to experience these conditions after making changes in your diet or if you notice the following symptoms:
- Diarrhea or bloody stools
- Severe and persistent abdominal pain
- Change in frequency or color of stools
- Unplanned weight loss
- Pain in the chest
These symptoms can be caused due to some digestive disorder. It can be embarrassing to deal with intestinal symptoms like gas, flatulence and loud burping, however, it should not deter you from seeking help. It can be treated.