Digestive Health What the Health?

What the Health? Am I burping too much?

BUUUUUUUUUURP!

Oops! Excuse me.

Pshhh, don’t look at me like that. You do it, too!

The average person burps around three to six times after eating or drinking. In some cultures, it’s considered to be rude, while in others, it’s simply a sign that you appreciate and are satisfied with your meal. Regardless, everybody burps – but how much is too much?

Burping basics

  • First things first – what is burping? Burping – or what medical professionals call “belching” – is the release of extra air from the stomach. We ingest air every time we swallow. The stomach can’t handle all of the air, so about 75 to 80 percent of it is released from the stomach through the esophagus and back out of the mouth.
  • What foods and drinks cause burping? Carbonated drinks, alcohol, and foods high in starch, sugar or fiber that cause gas can increase burping. Here is a list of common foods that can cause frequent burping:
    • Bananas
    • Beans
    • Broccoli
    • Cabbage
    • Cauliflower
    • Lentils
    • Onions
    • Peas
    • Raisins
    • Whole-wheat bread

Ironically, medications that are used to treat digestive issues like heartburn can actually cause more burping and other symptoms. Some of these common over-the-counter medications like Nexium® or Prilosec OTC® can lead to bacterial or fungal overgrowth in your small intestine.

Other medications that can make you burp or can cause disorders with burping symptoms include the following:

  • A common type 2 diabetes medication called acarbose
  • Laxatives (ex. lactulose and sorbitol)
  • Pain medications (ex. naproxen, ibuprofen and aspirin)
  • What’s a “normal” amount of burping? The average person burps around three to six times after eating or drinking. However, this number can change depending on what you consume.
  • What if I burp more than that? In some cases, more frequent burping can be a sign of a problem if you’re burping way too much, regardless of what you’re consuming. Frequent burping can be a symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease, aka GERD – commonly known as heartburn. Other causes can range from ulcers to more serious digestive issues.
  • How are burps and passing gas related? They’re cousins. But seriously…  While extra swallowed air causes burping, extra air produced in your bowels is the primary cause of passing gas. Did you know that some of the air you swallow can travel from your stomach to your bowels and make it out the other end?

In general, burping is normal, and you shouldn’t be too concerned. However, if you feel that your burping habits are out of ordinary, you should consult a physician.

Are you concerned about your burping?

Our general gastroenterology team at the Augusta University Digestive Health Center specializes in all areas of the digestive tract but focuses on one thing: you. Call 706-446-GUTS (4887) to make an appointment, or visit augustahealth.org/digestivehealth.

Check out the Men’s Health article to which Dr. Satish S.C. Rao, section chief of gastroenterology/hepatology at Augusta University Digestive Health Center, contributed.

About the author

Augusta University Health

Augusta University Health

Based in Augusta, Georgia, Augusta University Health is a world-class health care network, offering the most comprehensive primary, specialty and subspecialty care in the region. Augusta University Health provides skilled, compassionate care to its patients, conducts leading-edge clinical research and fosters the medical education and training of tomorrow’s health care practitioners. Augusta University Health is a not-for-profit corporation that manages the clinical operations associated with Augusta University.

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