Belching is a normal body process that allows for the release of air in the stomach. When you swallow air when eating or drinking, you’ll feel the urge to release it by belching, and burping three to four times after eating a meal or up to 30 times per day is considered normal.
If you experience excessive belching for an extended period of time, it’s time to consider the culprit. Some foods, activities and medical conditions can cause frequent burping, and in some cases, this can be treated with simple lifestyle changes.
For people with underlying conditions that cause excessive air in the stomach, a doctor may have to be consulted for a treatment plan.
What Causes Belching?
Belching (or burping) is a natural body process that occurs when excess air is expelled from the stomach through the mouth. The extra air is either swallowed when eating or drinking, or it’s produced during the digestion process. When the stomach expands from the air, it triggers a need to burp.
Belching typically produces a distinctive sound and may be accompanied by a release of air that’s either odorless or foul-smelling.
While belching is a normal bodily function, excessive or frequent belching can be a sign of an underlying digestive problem or medical condition. Studies suggest that some conditions that may cause frequent burping include:
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- Acid reflux
- Gastritis or gastric bloating
- Hiatal hernia
- Stomach ulcers
- Lactose or gluten intolerance
- Food allergies
- Stomach infections
- Food poisoning
Other possible causes of belching include:
- Drinking or eating too quickly
- Drinking carbonated drinks
- Drinking alcoholic beverages, such as beer
- Drinking through a straw
- Chewing gum
- Sucking on hard candy
- Talking and eating at the same time
- Certain medications, including laxatives and pain medications
- Eating gassy foods, including broccoli, beans, cabbage, cauliflower, raisins and banana
- Using spices when cooking or eating spicy foods
How to Treat Excessive Burping
The treatment for excessive belching depends on the underlying cause, whether it’s a medical condition, reaction to certain foods in your diet or due to being overweight
If you have a medical condition that causes burping, speak to your doctor about remedies. Some ways to treat excessive burping naturally include:
- Avoid carbonated drinks, chewing gum and hard candy.
- Eat slowly, and chew your food thoroughly.
- Limit or avoid foods that are known to cause gas, such as broccoli, beans, onions and cabbage.
- Limit or avoid eating spicy foods.
- Avoid large meals, and eat smaller, more frequent meals instead.
- Drink water with meals, rather than before or after.
- Lose weight if you are overweight.
When these lifestyle changes don’t relieve burping, a doctor may recommend taking an antacid to reduce gas production in the body and neutralize stomach acid. Speak to your health care provider before taking these over-the-counter medications for belching to ensure they won’t interact with other medications you take or worsen a health condition.
Risks and Side Effects (When to See a Doctor)
Burping after meals is perfectly normal and nothing to be concerned about. If you’re belching frequently for an extended period of time and more than 30 times per day, it’s time to consider the cause and make changes to reduce it.
When frequent burping comes on suddenly and it’s paired with symptoms such as vomiting, sharp pain in your throat or digestive discomfort, or excessive belching lasts for more than three days without relief, call your doctor.
It may not be possible to prevent belching entirely since it’s a natural bodily function, but there are several strategies you can use to reduce the frequency and intensity of belching, including the following:
- Eat and drink slowly: Eating and drinking too quickly can cause you to swallow air, leading to burping. Be sure to take your time and chew your food thoroughly before swallowing.
- Avoid certain foods: Certain foods and drinks can cause excessive belching, especially those that are carbonated and high in sugar, starch and fiber. Some foods to avoid or limit include carbonated drinks, beer, dairy products, beans, broccoli, cabbage, onions and spicy foods.
- Avoid using straws: Using a straw to drink can cause you to swallow air, leading to belching. If you’re prone to burping, drink from a glass or bottle instead of a straw.
- Avoid chewing gum: Chewing gum or sucking on candy and lozenges can also cause you to swallow air and burp, so avoid these actions to prevent belching.
- Quit smoking: Smoking can cause you to swallow air, leading to belching. Research also shows that smoking is significantly associated with medical conditions that cause frequent burping, including GERD.
- Manage stress: Studies indicate that stress and anxiety are linked to belching in some cases. To prevent stress-induced burping, practice stress relievers like exercise, meditation, journaling, spending time outdoors and deep breathing.
- Wear loose-fitting clothing: Tight clothing around your waist, such as tight jeans or pants, can put pressure on your stomach and cause you to swallow air, leading to belching. To prevent belching, opt for loose-fitting clothing around your stomach.
- Take probiotics: Taking a high-quality probiotic supplement can help alleviate digestive problems associated with belching, such as GERD, heartburn, dyspepsia and regurgitation, according to research.
- Speech therapy: Speech therapy promotes awareness of air inhalation when you speak, eat and exercise. It has been proven to help people with conditions that cause excessive belching. If you’re prone to burping and working to prevent it, consult with a speech therapist.
- Belching is a natural body process that occurs when excess air is expelled from the stomach through the mouth.
- Making lifestyle changes, such as eating and drinking slowly, avoiding certain foods, and managing stress, can help prevent or reduce belching.
- If you experience excessive or frequent belching and lifestyle changes aren’t making a difference, talk to your doctor to rule out any underlying medical conditions.