Indigestion can be a leading cause of burping but there are other triggers, such as depression or ill- fitting dentures. In this page, our digestive expert Ali Cullen describes the additional causes of abnormal burping and how they can trigger excessive belching.
A burp (belch or eructation) is the release of wind from the stomach through the mouth. It is a normal body function which allows the body to get rid of excessive gas gathering in the stomach.
It is normal to burp and indeed, in some cultures, polite to do so in order to show appreciation for a delicious and hearty meal. However, there are certain health conditions that can give rise to abnormal burping.
This is perhaps the most common cause of excessive or abnormal burping.
The usual reason for this is an imbalance between the amount of food eaten and the amount of gastric juice and enzymes needed for its digestion. This leads to the formation of excess gas, a feeling of being bloated as it builds up, and the need to burp to release the gas.
If gas is not released through the mouth, it travels down the digestive tract and is released at the other end in the form of flatulence.
Other causes of excessive or abnormal burping
Excessive burping can also be caused by:
Eating too quickly – if you gulp your food or chew with your mouth open, you are likely to swallow a lot more air than you intend to. Chewing your food well will not only help out your digestive system, but you will also be less likely to experience that embarrassing but unstoppable belch
Fizzy drinks – as these already contain a high proportion of carbon dioxide, you are only adding to the extra gas which is accumulating in your stomach. If you combine this with drinking too quickly, you are setting yourself up for a burping disaster
Drinking through straws – straws may be great for not ruining your lipstick, but they trap pockets of air when you drink through them. The only place where these pockets of air can go is into your digestive system (and then out again!)
Ill-fitting dentures – these could cause you to swallow greater amounts of air when you are eating
Blocked nose - if you cannot breathe through your nose, you will be forced to take in air through your mouth. Doing so may cause you to swallow more air than you would normally
Chewing pen tops or gum - you may not realise it, but these habits cause you to swallow a lot of air
Depression or low mood – repetitively swallowing air can be an early sign of depression or other psychological disorder.
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