What Causes Excessive Burping? What It Means If You're Belching Too Much

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What Causes Excessive Burping? What It Means If You're Belching Too Much
Health And Wellness

There's nothing more eye turning than a loud and (sometimes) obnoxious burp. We could either be ashamed or proud, depending who you are.

But what about those burps that keep coming up and never seem to go away? Sure, one here and there is perfectly normal, but there is such a thing called excessive burping.

While some may think burping a lot is comical, could it be your body trying to tell you something? We spoke with Dr. Niket Sonpal, a New York City-based Internist and Gastroenterologist, about what excessive burping can mean for your body. 

So, what causes excessive burping?

There are a few explanations to consider.

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1. Everyone's burp is different

"Belching or eructation is defined as an audible escape of air from the esophagus or the stomach into the pharynx — AKA burping. Now, no matter what anyone says, burping is normal!" advises Dr. Sonpal.

But when is it a problem? Adds Dr. Sonpal, "Belching is considered a disorder when symptoms are persistent and bothersome. Belching disorder is a functional syndrome and the diagnosis is individual to the underlying cause."

2. Fast eating 

Ever scarf down a meal too quickly? You usually find yourself burping a lot after finishing your food. And, according to Dr. Sonpal, it's a common occurrence. 

He says, "The most common reason is eating too quickly and concurrently swallowing too much air while shoveling food in. This is called Aerophagia and always leads to air coming back out.

In addition to eating, Aerophagia can be a manifestation of anxiety, and is increased with gum chewing and smoking. Most swallowed air is eliminated by belching so that only a relatively small amount of air passes from the stomach into the small intestine."

3. Slouching in your seat

Believe it or not, Dr. Sonpal claims the way you sit may cause you to burp. Now is a good time to think about improving your posture, especially if it's affecting your health.

"Your posture may influence how much air passes to the small intestine. When sitting up, most swallowed air passes back up the esophagus and out of the mouth, which can cause you to belch. But when you lay down, it makes its way out the other end," he advises.

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4. Sugar intolerance

"Some people are intolerant of sugars contained in certain foods," Dr. Sonpal warns. 

"Two common examples are fructose (contained in dried fruit, honey, sucrose, onions, artichokes, and many foods and drinks that contain 'high fructose corn syrup') and sorbitol (a sugar substitute contained in some sugar-free candies and chewing gum). 

These foods release gas when they are broken down and can release a lot of gas. Diet sodas and sugar-free candy are the most common causes," he continues.

5. Gassy greens

According to Dr. Sonpal, the burping can be caused by eating natural carbohydrates (like veggies) as well, so don't completely blame the sugar.

As he says, "The colon normally provides a home for billions of harmless bacteria, some of which support the health of the bowel. Certain carbohydrates are incompletely digested by enzymes in the stomach and intestines, allowing bacteria to digest them.

For example, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli contain raffinose, carbohydrates that are poorly digested. These foods tend to cause more gas and flatulence because the raffinose is digested by bacteria once it reaches the colon.

The by-products of this process include odorless gases, such as carbon dioxide, hydrogen, and methane. Minor components of gas have an unpleasant odor, including trace amounts of sulfur."

So, before you assume the worst, think about your daily habits and what you're eating. It may be greatly affecting your burping.

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Elizabeth Blasi is a lifestyle and travel writer, who is often seen with a suitcase in hand, jetsetting to her next location.