Burping: Belching 101

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When you eat, food enters the mouth, is swallowed, then travels down the esophagus and into the stomach. Upon arrival, the digestive system uses bacteria, acid, enzymes, and chemicals to help pull nutrients from food to be used for energy. Sometimes as you swallow, you might take in additional air. This can also happen when you have drinks with bubbles such as soda. This air is like a gas in the body and comes back out of the body through the esophagus and then…. BURP. The burp only occurs if the air or gas traveled all the way down the esophagus. Most times it doesn’t make it that far for everyone, but when it does the body wants to release this discomfort.

 Air also likes to make its way into your mouth when you chew gum, eat too quickly, talk while eating, suck on hard candies, or smoke. Drinks like caffeine or alcohol that cause heartburn can also cause burping. High sugar and fiber foods can also cause belching. Some of these include beans, lentils, cauliflower, bananas, raisons, broccoli, and whole wheat bread. Certain medications have side effects that cause burping. Some of these include laxatives, acarbose which is a type 2 diabetes medication, and pain medications like aspirin. One is more prone to burping if they have stomach ulcers, GERD gastroesophogial reflux disease, lactose intolerance, or are unable to absorb fructose or sorbitol.

If belching becomes excessive, most times it is not serious. If you are having stomach discomfort and want to burp to help alleviate this, try laying on your side with your knees to your chest. Be aware when you are eating to quickly, chatting too much while eating, and don’t chew gum or drink beverages that trigger belching for you. Try to sit down and eat slowly.

Burping in public is often times associated with bad manners. Sometimes the sound and small can be very unattractive. It is a natural process, but a behavior that has a bad rap if trying to impress someone. The volume of your burp can be controlled, and you can excuse yourself or turn your head away from your company. It boils down to what you feel is socially acceptable, but always remember your surroundings, the time, and the place, because burping in front of your boss probably isn’t looked upon highly. Burping in private is the better alternative. Sometimes it just happens, so excuse yourself and move on. Keep the air for breathing, not for your stomach to release its gas.

https://www.cghjournal.org/article/S1542-3565(12)01047-6/fulltext

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3710062?dopt=Abstract

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23072402

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Megan Johnson McCullough owns a fitness studio in Oceanside CA called Every BODY's Fit. She has an M.A. in Physical Education & Health Science, is a current candidate for her Doctorate in Health & Human Performance, and she's an NASM Master Trainer & Instructor. She's also a professional natural bodybuilder, fitness model, Wellness Coach, and AFAA Group Exercise Instructor.