Belching or burping is an escape of air from your stomach or esophagus. This is a normal response that relieves air buildup in your intestines, particularly after eating a large meal or drinking a carbonated beverage.
Sometimes you may feel nausea or a burning sensation in the throat or mouth after you belch.
What causes belching or burping?
Whenever you swallow, you ingest a little bit of air. This air migrates down to the stomach. When enough air has accumulated, you belch. Certain things can increase belching, including eating too quickly, chewing with your mouth open, talking while you are chewing, chewing gum, or drinking through a straw. Drinking carbonated beverages can also increase the amount of air that reaches your stomach. Wearing dentures that don't fit well or experiencing post-nasal drip can also cause you to swallow more air, and thus belch more often.
Belching can also be brought on by certain ailments such as indigestion, heartburn (GERD), hiatal hernia, peptic ulcer, and gallstones.
What if you do nothing?
Although belching can be embarrassing, for the vast majority of people it’s is not a problem that requires treatment. Some people, however, may also have bloating and abdominal discomfort when they belch.
Home remedies for belching or burping
Once you are aware that your excessive belching may be related to the unconscious swallowing of too much air, make a conscious effort to swallow much less. These measures can help:
- Avoid rapid eating. Eat four to six mini-meals throughout the day. Small, frequent meals can stave offhunger 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 including beer. The carbon dioxide gas in the beverages can cause excessive belching.
- Avoid using a straw, especially when drinking carbonated beverages.
How to prevent belching or burping
The home remedies listed above will help prevent belching.
When to call your doctor about belching or burping
Belching is often an insignificant problem. However, excessive belching may be associated with anxiety problems or an unconscious habit of air swallowing. Professional help is often required in these cases.
What your doctor will do
If excessive belching becomes a problem, your doctor will conduct a physical exam and review your medical history. Your doctor will also ask about your diet and check for specific foods or drinks that are causing the distress. Your doctor may point out personal habits—sucking on candy, eating too quickly, smoking, and gum chewing—that can cause excessive swallowing that leads to belching.
Also seeSnoring: Causes and Treatments.