Everyone burps or belches. From the day we are born, it is normal for us to burp.
But where does this burped air come from and why do we burp it up?
All the air that we burp is air that we have swallowed. We know this since when we drink a carbonated soda or a beer we understand the need to burp to release the gas that we just drank.
What we do not notice is all the air we swallow whenever we swallow anything including our saliva. There is always a certain amount of air in our mouths and when we swallow, we swallow it along with our food or drinks. The faster we gulp our foods, the more air we swallow at the same time.
Our stomach does not normally produce any gas. All the burped air is swallowed air.
So why are there times that we burp a lot?
Most of the time, we burp more because we swallowed more air usually without noticing it.
Like I mentioned earlier, we swallow more air when we eat or drink too quickly. Chewing gum, sucking on candies and smoking leads to more swallowing in general so more air is swallowed also.
When we are talking during a meal such as in a restaurant with friends, we again often swallow quickly leading to more burping.
When we are stressed, in pain or scared, we also swallow more air.
Rarely but yes it can.
Most of the air we swallow actually passes beyond our stomach and is expelled later.
If your stomach is irritated by inflammation from gastritis or ulcers, foods such as spices, alcohol or caffeine or medications such as aspirin or anti-inflammatories, then your stomach will not be comfortable accepting larger quantities of food, liquid or air leading you to burp to relieve the pressure.
There are many people who suffer from chronic dyspepsia that means they have a sensitive stomach that gets irritated easily. People with dyspepsia will often complain of burping.
People that suffer from reflux or regurgitation will also burp more since their lower esophageal sphincter is not working well allowing gas to rise into the esophagus easily leading to burping.
Any disease that leads to poor emptying of the stomach such as gastroparesis or an obstructing mass or tumor will also lead to excessive burping.
There are some people who suffer from anxiety who develop a nervous habit of excessive air swallowing called aerophagia. People with this problem will burp hundreds of times per day. The nervous air swallowing is done unconsciously making it difficult for the patient to control.
As I mentioned earlier, we all burp and we can always have a few days when we are burping more.
The best thing is to answer the following questions.
1. Was I eating or drinking foods that are different than usual or known to irritate the stomach?
2. Was I chewing gum, sucking on candies or smoking more?
3. Have I been under more stress lately?
4. Are you known to have a sensitive stomach?
5. Have you had a change in medication or been taking aspirins or anti-inflammatories?
If you had any of the above, then the burping is not likely due to a serious problem and you may just need to make some small changes to your diet or lifestyle.
However, if you have any of the following, you should see a doctor.
1. Has the burping been present excessively for over 2 weeks and is getting worse rather than better?
2. Have you had other symptoms consistently such as abdominal pain, nausea or vomiting?
3. Has your appetite decreased or have you lost weight?
4. Have people said your breath smells bad suddenly?