What causes excessive belching or burping and how can you prevent it?

Occasional belching or burping is normal and nothing to worry about. But persistent belching and burping could indicate underlying digestive system disorders.

“In most instances, burping is due to excess air intake. By making simple lifestyle changes, you can help control stomach wind and alleviate the discomfort of belching,” says doctors​​ from the Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Singapore General Hospital (SGH), a member of the SingHealth group.

What causes belching and burping?

There are two main causes of belching and burping:

  • Swallowing excess air
  • Eating or drinking too quickly can cause you to swallow too much air. Belching or burping is the body’s way of releasing that excess air. Sucking on sweets, drinking through straws, chewing gum and wearing loose dentures may all trigger swallowing of excess air.

    Belching is common in people with heartburn or acid reflux. When stomach acids rise up the oesophagus, it’s natural to swallow more to lessen the discomfort. Belching helps to release the excess air associated with constant swallowing.

  • Underlying digestive problems
  • Persistent belching could be a sign of digestive conditions that require medical treatment. Some examples are delayed gastric emptying (gastroparesis) and peptic ulcer disease (painful sores in the stomach lining). Gallstones and gallbladder problems can, in some cases, cause symptoms such as belching. Even more rarely, cancer of the stomach or the oesophagus can explain the severe burping.

    If the burping is persistent and accompanied by symptoms such as nausea, pain, bloody stools, weight loss or fever, you should consult a doctor.

7 tips to prevent excessive belching and burping

  1. Eat and drink slowly to avoid swallowing excess air.
  2. Avoid talking when you chew.
  3. Avoid sucking on hard candy.Cut down on carbonated drinks and beer. These drinks release carbon dioxide gas which may worsen belching and burping.
  4. Don’t use straws. Drink beverages, especially carbonated drinks, directly from a glass.
  5. Stop smoking. Inhaling cigarette smoke results in excess swallowed air.
  6. If you wear dentures, get them checked to make sure they are well fitting.
  7. Manage your stress. Excess tension can cause you to swallow air.

Ref: S13