Burping can be embarrassing and uncomfortable. Here is what causes these inconveniences and how you can reduce them. Burps are perfectly natural. But when too frequent belching interferes with your daily activities, there may be something wrong. Here’s how to reduce or avoid the discomfort of swallowing excess air.
Burping: Getting rid of excess air
Burping is your body’s way of expelling excess air from your upper digestive tract. Most burps are caused by ingesting excess air. This air most often never reaches the stomach but accumulates in the esophagus.
The most frequent situations linked to the absorption of excess air
You may swallow excess air if you: eat or drink too fast, talk while eating, chew gum, suck hard candy, drink soft drinks or smoke. Some people swallow air as a nervous habit even when they are not eating or drinking. This is called aerophagia.
Acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can sometimes cause excessive belching by promoting increased swallowing. Chronic belching can be linked to inflammation of the stomach lining (gastritis) or an infection with Helicobacter pylori, the bacteria that causes some stomach ulcers. In these cases, belching is accompanied by other symptoms, such as heartburn or abdominal pain.
You may reduce burping if you:
– Eat and drink slowly. Taking your time can help you swallow less air. Try to make meals a chance to relax; eating when you are stressed or while walking increases the air you swallow.
– Avoid carbonated drinks and beer. They release carbon dioxide.
– When you chew gum or suck hard candy, you swallow more often than normal. Part of what you swallow is air.
– Don’t smoke. When you inhale smoke, you inhale and swallow air.
– Check your dentures. Ill-fitting dentures can cause you to swallow excess air when you eat and drink.
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