A burp is a normal bodily function that occurs when the body releases excess air from the digestive tract through the mouth. The air typically enters the digestive tract when a person eats or drinks.
Excessive burping is often due to the foods and drinks that a person consumes. It can also result from behavioral conditions, such as aerophagia and supragastric belching, or issues relating to the digestive tract, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
Consuming certain foods and drinks
If a person feels as though they are burping excessively, their diet may be to blame. Some foods and beverages can make a person burp more than others. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), these include:
- chewing gum
- hard candy
- fizzy beverages
Chewing gum and sucking on hard candy make it more likely that a person will swallow air, while fizzy drinks release carbon dioxide in the form of bubbles, which a person then burps out.
The NIDDK also note that eating or drinking quickly can make a person swallow more air than they otherwise would. Smoking and wearing loose-fitting dentures can also increase the amount of air that a person swallows.
People who believe that they are burping more because of their diet or way of eating may find it helpful to keep a diary detailing what and how they are eating and drinking.
They can then check to see if there is a relationship between their excessive burping and their dietary behaviors or choice of foods.
The NIDDK suggest that a person should also try eating and drinking more slowly to avoid swallowing more air.
Aerophagia or supragastric belching
Aerophagia and supragastric belching are conditions in which a person moves air into their esophagus, either consciously or unconsciously.
According to an article in the journal Case Reports in Gastroenterology, aerophagia is when a person frequently swallows air. This air enters a person’s stomach, which either releases it as a burp or moves it into the intestines.
Conversely, supragastic belching occurs when the esophagus immediately releases the air before a person swallows it and it enters the stomach.
Both aerophagia and supragastric belching can result in a person burping frequently.
It is not clear what causes aerophagia and supragastric belching. The author of an article in the journal Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology suggests that they may be methods of relieving the symptoms of a bloated stomach or might relate to psychological factors.
Although there is not much research on how best to treat aerophagia and supragastric belching, the author states that speech or behavioral therapies may help a person stop the behavior that causes excess air to enter their esophagus.
GERD may cause a person to burp more frequently.
When the sphincter at the top of a person’s stomach becomes weak, this can allow stomach acid to pass into a person’s esophagus, which may cause them to burp more often.
GERD might also have links with supragastric belching. Some scientists believe that a person with GERD may force air down their esophagus either consciously or unconsciously as a way of relieving their symptoms.
Treating the symptoms of GERD may help a person burp less frequently. According to the NIDDK, a doctor may advise a person with GERD to make changes to their lifestyle, such as losing weight or stopping smoking, or they may prescribe medications, such as antacids.
When to see a doctor
A person should speak to a doctor if excessive burping affects the quality of their life.
A person who burps frequently but experiences no other symptoms and does not find that burping affects their quality of life does not need to see a doctor.
If a person’s excessive burping is bothersome, but they have no other symptoms, keeping a food diary to track what food or drink triggers the burping may be enough to reduce it.
If this does not make any difference and the excessive burping is still affecting their quality of life, a person should speak to a doctor in case aerophagia or supragastric belching is responsible for this symptom. Different forms of therapy may help reduce both of these conditions.
If a person has other symptoms, such as pain in their abdomen, nausea, or pain when swallowing, they should speak to a doctor, who can determine the underlying cause of these symptoms.
Taking simple steps at home may be enough to reduce a person’s excessive burping. However, if this does not work or a person has any other symptoms, they should speak to a doctor.
Once a doctor has worked out what the underlying cause of a person’s excessive burping is, they can determine the most effective treatment and management options.