Have you found yourself burping a lot lately? After every bite of food? After every sip of water? Burping is normally good because it helps release trapped air, but constant burping is often a sign of a digestive condition such as acid reflux disease or gastritis. If you are burping after eating all the time, to the point it disrupts your digestion and causes regurgitation of stomach contents, heartburn and stomach pain, then it can be considered as chronic burping and indicate an underlying medical issue such as acid reflux disease, gastritis or another digestive condition.
What is burping?
Burping is a built-in reaction, an automatic response or involuntary, instinctive reflex that causes a person to eliminate air from the stomach through the mouth, and sometimes also through the nose, in a noisily manner. It is a natural protective reflex, so long as it occurs occasionally and doesn’t interfere with one’s sense of wellbeing. But constant burping, especially after every meal, irrespective of what foods you’re eating or how much, is a symptom of an underlying health issue of the digestive system. Burping that occurs every day or several days a week for several weeks in a row can be considered chronic.
What causes continuous burping?
- Not chewing your food properly.
- Eating too much at once (eating large meals).
- Eating too fast which causes ingestion of air.
- Drinking carbonated beverages: sparkling water, sodas or soft drinks.
- Drinking acidic or fermented beverages: apple cider, orange juice, soured milk, drinkable yogurt.
- Drinking lots of liquids with your meal, whether just water or something else.
- Eating high-fiber foods such as cabbage, Brussels sprouts, beans, lentils, onions or leek.
- Eating acidic, pickled, fermented or aged foods such as citrus fruits, pickles or hard, aged cheeses.
- Indigestion or dyspepsia, and its underlying causes (low stomach acid, excess stomach acid caused by acid reflux, gastritis, gallbladder problems, dietary choices, eating large meals, fatty foods and other eating habits, medication etc.)
- Digestive conditions: acid reflux (GERD), gastritis, stomach ulcers, IBS, food sensitivities, food intolerance.
If you’re burping continuously, then you’re likely also experiencing other symptoms too. Depending on the underlying cause, accompanying symptoms may include:
- Bloating and gas or flatulence, as a result of too much trapped air. Can be a result of indigestion or an upset stomach, but also IBS, Crohn’s disease, food sensitivities or food intolerance, or eating too fast.
- Stomach pain as a result of pressure caused by the trapped air (usually upper abdominal pain, chest pain, belly button pain or pain in the upper right part of the abdomen). Also caused by indigestion, acid reflux, gastritis, ulcers, IBS, celiac disease, Crohn’s disease etc.
- Heartburn or burning sensation in the chest (often mistaken for heart pain). The most common cause is acid reflux.
- Nausea and vomiting. You can experience burping along with nausea and vomiting because of indigestion, acid reflux, gastritis or a peptic ulcer. Less likely in IBS or Crohn’s.
- Acid reflux. Burping can open the way for stomach juices to escape into the esophagus, essentially triggering acid reflux.
Burping and indigestion
Constant, continuous burping after eating is often a sign of indigestion. In the broader sense of the word, indigestion is defined as impaired digestion. That could mean a number of things, from feeling full without having eaten much, or as much as you would normally eat before reaching satiety, to experiencing upper abdominal pain post-meal or heartburn or nausea or burping. Indigestion may have an underlying cause or not (in which case it is called functional indigestion). If you have constant indigestion and symptoms such as burping, nausea, early satiety etc., it’s a good idea to see your doctor for treatment.
Treatment options include: dietary and lifestyle changes (avoid eating large meals, avoid problematic foods and going to sleep on a full stomach), but also medicine targeting any underlying causes (for example: proton pump inhibitors and antacids for gastritis and acid reflux disease). For me, calcium and magnesium-based antacids are great at relieving constant burping caused by indigestion.
Burping and acid reflux
If you have acid reflux disease, then you are likely also experiencing symptoms such as heartburn, sore throat, a bad taste in the mouth, hoarseness and even burping and gas. Normally, the stomach is closed off from the esophagus by a ring of muscle called the lower esophageal sphincter which keeps stomach contents in the stomach. Both a full stomach and eating foods that are bad for acid reflux cause an excess production of stomach acid for digestion, putting pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter, causing it to open and stomach contents to escape into the esophagus, basically causing acid reflux.
Eating too fast or eating problematic foods (high-fiber foods, foods that ferment or foods that contain elements you don’t digest well, such as certain fruit sugars or gluten in wheat) causes trapped air which also puts pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter, causing burping to release the air and, at the same time, the release of stomach contents, aka acid reflux.
Chronic burping and acid reflux are known to occur when there is no dietary approach to treating gastroesophageal reflux disease. Indeed, medicine for acid reflux that regulate stomach acid production, stopping regurgitation of stomach contents and relieving heartburn, such as proton pump inhibitors and antacids, should also help with burping and other symptoms. But only to a certain point. Treating acid reflux disease absolutely requires serious dietary changes. Avoid coffee and alcohol, processed foods, fatty and fried foods, irritant, spicy, acidic, pickled, fermented and soured foods and beverages like citrus and other fruit juices, coffee, vinegar and alcohol. Don’t lie down right after eating (take a walk instead) and eat 3 hours before bed. See here my tried-and-tested list of foods to eat and to avoid for acid reflux.
Burping and gastritis
Are you burping a lot all of a sudden? Are you burping continuously after eating, even if wasn’t a large meal, or when your stomach is empty? Burping a lot, both after eating and on an empty stomach, is often a sign of gastritis. Chronic burping and gastritis are known to occur together quite often. An important aspect to remember is that, while it relieves trapped air, the burping does not relieve stomach pain associated with gastritis. Symptoms such as vomiting green or yellow, sometimes vomit streaked with pink or red, indicate an ulcer and should be investigated by a medical professional. In addition to medication, you will have to make serious dietary changes in order to get rid of gastritis. See here what foods to eat and to avoid for gastritis.
What to do about it
- See your doctor and get appropriate treatment for your condition (the underlying condition causing the burping).
- Make the necessary dietary changes such as avoiding trigger foods (high-fiber, acidic, spicy, fried, heavy foods, processed foods, pickled, fermented, aged, soured foods).
- Avoid coffee, alcohol and carbonated beverages: sparkling water, fizzy drinks or sodas, beer, apple cider, sparkling wine.
- Avoid smoking and chewing gum.
- Avoid large, heavy meals. Eat small meals often.
- Don’t lie down and don’t go to sleep right after eating. Take a walk instead.
- Eat slowly and chew your food well.
Burping after eating serves to release air trapped in the stomach and helps reduce bloating and potential discomfort. It’s actually good for your digestion. But what’s not so good is burping a lot. Whether it’s continuous burping after a meal, or constant burping throughout the day, whether you’ve eaten or not, or burping in response to certain foods, it’s usually a sign of a digestive condition. Addressing the underlying condition with appropriate medication as well as making the necessary dietary changes represents a complete solution to treating both burping and its causes.
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