Home Health & Fitness Why Do I Burp So Much? 2 Gastroenterologists Weigh In

Why Do I Burp So Much? 2 Gastroenterologists Weigh In

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Why Do I Burp So Much? 2 Gastroenterologists Weigh In

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You likely learned from a young age that burping is inconsiderate. There’s some truth to that according to the manners rulebook, but continuous burping for hours may be a sign of something deeper. If you’re Googling “Why do I burp so much?,” you’ve come to the right place.

Burping, also known as belching, is caused by the release of gas from the upper digestive tract and out of a person’s mouth, says Mayur Parepally, MD, a board-certified gastroenterologist at Endeavor Health. “It occurs so that our bodies can release the extra air and gas that gets into our esophagus and stomach after eating and drinking,” he explains. “This comes from air that we swallow each time we eat and drink, as well as gas that is formed in our bodies after food is digested by acid and enzymes that we produce.”

In other words, burping serves a serious purpose! It’s a normal bodily function to help reduce bloating and discomfort, and is especially common after a meal, says Kenneth Brown, MD, a board-certified gastroenterologist. In fact, burping up to four to six times after a meal or around 30 times a day is considered normal, adds Dr. Parepally.

With that being said, non-stop belching can be a nuisance, and even a little embarrassing. So what causes excessive burping? And is burping a lot a sign of cancer? To help you find out what you’re dealing with – plus, how to relieve excessive burping – we’ve tapped gastroenterologists to weigh in on the seven most common reasons for excessive burping.

Why Do I Burp So Much?

Excessive burping may signal a red flag, but it’s not always a cause for concern. The accompanying symptoms can actually tell you a lot about what’s causing the pain and when to see a doctor. Keep scrolling to understand more of what’s causing your constant burping.

Aerophagia

It sounds silly, but excessive air swallowing (AKA aerophagia) is a regular culprit of burping, Dr. Brown says. It’s most commonly caused by eating or drinking quickly, sucking on hard candies, chewing gum, or using a straw, but talking rapidly, smoking, or having poorly fitted dentures can also cause you to belch more than usual, Dr. Parepally explains.

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease

Gastroesophageal reflux disease, also known as GERD, is a common cause of excessive burping, Dr. Parepally says. It’s usually accompanied by a burning sensation while lying down or after eating and a bitter or sour taste in your mouth, but it occurs when stomach acid repeatedly flows back into the tube connecting your mouth and stomach (the esophagus), he explains.

Carbonated Beverages

If sparkling water is your primary source of hydration (same!), it may be the culprit of your burping, since carbonated beverages release carbon dioxide and cause increased gas in the body, Dr. Parepally says. Not everyone has a negative reaction to carbonation, but the burping usually subsides once you cut back on the fizzy bevs and stick to plain water.

Vegetables

They’re super healthy for you, but cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, raw onions, and Brussels sprouts can cause gas and burping, Dr. Parepally says. Why? They’re high in fiber and a sugar called raffinose which can make you gassy and cause excessive burping if your stomach struggles to break it down.

Food Intolerance

If you notice that a particular food increases the amount you burp, you may have a food intolerance or allergy, Dr. Parepally says. In particular, lactose intolerance (caused by a deficiency in a digestive enzyme called lactase) or celiac disease (caused by an allergy to gluten-containing products) can cause belching and gassiness because it impairs your ability to digest the intolerable food, leading to extra gas in the digestive tract, he explains. Additional symptoms include abdominal pain, diarrhea, and bloating, so if you suspect a food intolerance, avoid the food entirely and talk with your doctor.

Gastritis

Gastritis is caused by inflammation in the stomach and often results from alcohol, certain medications like NSAIDs (such as aspirin and ibuprofen), or a H. pylori bacterial infection, Dr. Parepally says. If left untreated, the condition can also lead to stomach ulcers, or open sores on the lining of the stomach, which produces extra gas and triggers burping, per the Mayo Clinic. Other symptoms include abdominal pain in the upper belly, indigestion, and nausea, but if your symptoms become severe or you’re vomiting blood and/or have trouble breathing, seek medical attention ASAP.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common disorder that affects the large intestine and is associated with belly pain, gas, bloating, burping, and a change in bowel movement frequency and consistency, Dr. Parepally says. The causes of IBS can range from a severe bout of diarrhea to brain-to-gut miscommunications, and is more likely in women than men, according to the Mayo Clinic. Most people are able to manage IBS with lifestyle changes alone, but it’s important to work with your doctor to address any serious symptoms like bloody stool, unexplained weight loss, or chronic diarrhea.

Is Burping a Sign of Cancer?

Excessive burping by itself is not necessarily a sign of cancer, but instead due to one of the above causes, Dr. Parepally says. However, excessive burping can become concerning when it’s associated with other “alarming symptoms” that raise a red flag for cancer such as trouble swallowing, poor appetite, unintentional weight loss, recurrent vomiting, bleeding from the gastrointestinal system, persistent abdominal pain, or bowel changes, he explains. If a combination of excessive belching and alarming symptoms becomes your norm, it’s time to visit your doctor since it may be a sign of serious illness, he adds.

How to Relieve Excessive Burping

The following are common lifestyle changes and treatments to relieve excessive burping, according to Dr. Parepally and Dr. Brown.

  • Slow down: Take your time while chewing, eating, and speaking to reduce air swallowing and minimize excess gas in the digestive tract.
  • Cut back on soda: If you’re burping more than usual after a carbonated drink, cut back or avoid altogether to reduce the amount of ingested gas.
  • Ditch the gum: Chewing gum often causes you to swallow a lot more air, so cut back entirely or limit yourself to one piece a day.
  • Monitor your diet: Burping excessively every time you eat cruciferous veggies or dairy? That’s your cue to scale back and talk to your doctor about potential food intolerances.
  • Check your medications: It’s always best to clear new medications with your physician, but over-the-counter antacids or acid blockers can help treat acid reflux. Just don’t rely on meds as a long-term solution without first checking in with your doctor.
  • Exercise: Physical activity helps improve gastrointestinal motility which can reduce gas build up and nix your burping reflux.
  • Focus on nasal breathing: If your burping becomes worse when you’re nervous or stressed, you may be swallowing air extra without realizing it. Instead, try deep breaths, nasal breathing, and long exhales to help calm your nerves and relax your upper esophageal sphincter.

The Bottom Line

Excessive burping can be an extremely uncomfortable and unpleasant experience, but there’s no need to be embarrassed. If your burping persists or begins to interfere with your day-to-day life, Dr. Brown says it’s time to visit your doctor. Additionally, if your symptoms worsen and/or include trouble swallowing, poor appetite, recurrent vomiting, bowel changes, or unintentional weight loss, Dr. Parepally recommends checking in with your healthcare provider immediately.

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