While often seen as offensive, burping is a normal bodily function that occurs when your body needs to release excess air from the digestive tract through the mouth. While there is no medical definition of what constitutes excessive burping, understanding what can cause this condition can help you determine if you should seek medical attention.
Eating & Drinking
The most common cause of excess air entering the digestive tract is from eating and drinking. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease, chewing gum and sucking on a hard candy makes it more likely for you to swallow air. Fizzy drinks release carbon dioxide, which you will then need to burp out.
Eating or drinking quickly can also lead to an increased chance of swallowing air. As with almost all medical conditions, smoking can also be harmful.
If your doctor thinks your food and beverage choices are to blame for your burping, they recommend logging your food consumption. This information can help them determine what is causing your symptoms so you can avoid that item in the future. Eating and drinking slower has also been shown to help.
Aerophagia & Supragastric Belching
These conditions cause you to move air into your esophagus, causing frequent burping. Aerophagia occurs when you are purposefully swallowing air; that air enters the stomach and must be released as a burp to prevent it from traveling into the intestines.
Supragastric belching occurs when the esophagus releases air at the wrong time so instead of swallowing it, the air enters the stomach.
While the causes of these conditions are unknown, experts suspect they are how the body relieves the symptoms of a bloated stomach. Treatment involves therapy to help stop the behavior leading to excess air entering the esophagus.
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
This condition occurs when acid travels up into your esophagus because of a weak muscle called the sphincter. This added stomach acid causes you to burp often.
GERD treatment can also help alleviate heartburn. Medications, such as antacids, as well as losing weight and stopping smoking can help treat the symptoms from the condition.
When to Seek Help
While excessive burping alone is not cause for alarm, you should seek medical attention if you are experience abdomen pain, pain when swallowing or nausea.
To learn more or to schedule an appointment with an ear, nose and throat specialist, contact Willamette Ear, Nose, Throat & Facial Plastic Surgery today.