Excessive belching: causes and cures

Belching or burping is caused by a build up of air in the stomach that has been swallowed, so reducing the amount of air you swallow will reduce the amount you burp

Excessive belching: Food and drink culprits

Certain foods can weaken an important valve that's designed to keep food and wind in your stomach. The valve, called the oesophageal sphincter, sits between your oesophagus (the tube that carries food from your mouth) and the top of the stomach. Foods that weaken the valve include peppermint, chocolate, fatty meats, fried foods and caffeine. Avoid these, and you'll be less likely to burp.

Avoid beer or carbonated drinks, especially if they're cold. The low temperature combined with the bubbles creates a cocktail of irritants that could set off your diaphragm.

In some people, calcium supplements that contain calcium carbonate release carbon dioxide in the stomach. If you take calcium, choose another form, such as calcium citrate.


Cold beer can aggravate belching

Belching cures

When you eat, slow down. Eating quickly makes you swallow more air, and that can cause hiccups as well as burping. Try to slow down and enjoy the meal; you might also find that you eat less and feel less full, too.

A runny nose caused by a cold or allergy can make you swallow excessive air. So an over-the-counter nasal decongestant can sometimes reduce belching as well as relieving the nasal symptoms, but should never be taken long term.

"An over-the-counter nasal decongestant can sometimes reduce belching as well as relieving the nasal symptoms"

Poorly fitting dentures may cause you to chew abnormally and swallow air. If you wear dentures, make sure that they are properly adjusted each year.

Herbal remedies for belching

Fennel seeds

Fennel seeds have been used for hundreds of years to reduce wind and improve digestion. Caraway, anise or celery seeds have a similar effect. Chewing half a teaspoon of seeds after a meal will help to prevent after-dinner belching and expel gas from the intestinal tract. All these seeds are available from the spice section of most supermarkets.

Camomile tea is a folk treatment for stomach aches that may also help to relieve burping. It’s available in supermarkets and health food shops.

And one belching cure that won’t work…

Do you deliberately swallow air to trigger a burp, hoping that will dispense with the air in your gut? It won't. In fact, it will probably cause you to swallow more air than you expel, starting a vicious cycle of swallowing and burping. Sometimes this turns into an unconscious habit. Watch yourself to see if you do it. If you are doing it, stop.

"Camomile tea is a folk treatment for stomach aches that may also help to relieve burping"

Chronic belching

Chronic belching is usually an annoying habit rather than a sign of disease. But see your doctor if you cannot control your burping and it upsets you, or you develop chest pain or symptoms such as bloating, heartburn, unexplained weight loss or changes in bowel habits. Also talk to your doctor if you develop repeated belching for the first time without any obvious change in your diet.

Excessive gas is no laughing matter! Follow our tips to reduce trapped wind and excessive flatulence. 

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