Belching

Belching Or Eructation

Belching is a perfectly normal human experience and it is common for people to belch about a dozen times in a single day. It is also known as eructation, burping and ructus. Belching releases gas from the digestive system. This gas builds up in the stomach and esophagus, and is then released through the mouth. This is generally accompanied by sound, and often also by odor.

Many people can voluntarily belch, while some suffer from a nervous habit of belching. It can also be a completely involuntary action, however, that is necessary in order to expel air and gases that have been trapped in the stomach and esophagus.

Impolite Belching

Belching is generally considered impolite in most cultures and many people feel embarrassed when they burp in public. It is usual for people to apologize or ask for pardon after belching in front of other people, particularly on a more formal occasion.

Some cultures may consider belching after a meal to be a sign of satisfaction and enjoyment of the food. This is a common custom among some tribes of Eskimos and in the traditional cultures of the South Sea Islands. Belching several times after finishing a meal is very common, since air is often swallowed along with the food and needs to be released.

Symptoms

Belching is a release of gas from the digestive system through the mouth. The resulting vibration of the upper esophageal sphincter as the gas passes it can create a distinctive belching sound.

Belching is often associated with a number of other symptoms. People who suffer from frequent belching may also experience heartburn, nausea and dyspepsia or indigestion. When it is associated with these additional symptoms, belching may be a sign that the patient is suffering from an ulcer or a hernia. It is advisable to make an appointment with a doctor if these symptoms persist.

Flatulence and bloating may also be more likely to occur in people who frequently suffer from belching, since all three symptoms can be the result of problems in the digestive system and a poor diet. The causes of flatulence can differ from those of belching, however, since the gases that are released in these two forms occur in different parts of the digestive system and can be produced in different ways.

Diagnosis

Normally it is not necessary to visit a doctor because of belching. If belching has been occurring very frequently, or has become painful, or if there are other symptoms associated with the belching, then a visit to the doctor can be helpful.

The doctor will ask about the sorts of symptoms that have been experienced, and will also want to ask about diet and other possible causes of belching and digestive problems. They will also conduct a physical examination. They will probably check the abdomen for swelling and tap it in order to discern whether there is a hollow sound that could indicate that there is trapped gas within it.

If the doctor suspects that there could be an underlying medical condition that is causing excessive belching they will usually run some additional tests in order to check for reasons why there could be a problem with belching.

Causes

Belching often occurs after air has been swallowed while eating and drinking. This air must then be released. The swallowing of air is also known as aerophagia. When belching occurs as a result of air being swallowed, the gases that are expelled in a burp or belch are mainly oxygen and nitrogen, but belching can also be caused by drinking carbonated drinks. This second type of belch is composed of the same carbon dioxide that is used to put bubbles in the drink. The diet can be a significant factor in the frequency of belching.

Burping

Burping is particularly common in babies, and they often need to be burped after feeding. The reason for this is that gases are more likely to enter the digestive system and accumulate when a baby is eating than when an adult eats.

Frequent belching may be the result of a medical condition such as a hernia or stomach ulcer, or a disorder of the gastrointestinal tract such as gastritis (inflammation of the lining of the stomach) and gastroparesis (delayed emptying of the stomach).

Acid Reflux

Acid reflux, which may occur more frequently as the result of gastroesophageal reflux disease, can increase the frequency of belching because repeated swallowing of the stomach acid that rises in the esophagus can result in more air being swallowed that needs to be expelled as belching.

Belching and heartburn are particularly common during pregnancy, but belching is not unusual in any group of people. It is normal for belching to occur in people of all ages and all conditions of health.

Certain medications can also cause belching. The diabetes treatments Byetta and metformin, for example, can lead to belching. In most cases this problem resolves itself after the medication has been taken for a few weeks.

Prevention

It is very rare for a person to belch excessively since it is considered normal for people to burp fairly often. There are cases of abnormally high frequency of belching, but they are very rare. Since burping is usually considered embarrassing and impolite, however, many people prefer to avoid doing it in public. It is often possible to avoid burping when it would be inconvenient, but constantly suppressing belches can lead to the air passing through the digestive system and escaping as flatulence instead, which is often considered more embarrassing than belching.

Avoiding foods and drinks that are likely to cause belching is an easy way of preventing the problem. Certain foods can produce gas when they are being digested in the stomach. Milk and dairy products, and a number of vegetables including beans, lentils, onions, cabbage, sprouts, apricots and prunes can all stimulate belching.

Belching often occurs as the result of drinking carbonated drinks or sodas, champagne or beer, but using chewing gum or sucking on hard candy can also increase the frequency of belching because it results in more air being swallowed. Similarly, inhaling smoke can also cause greater frequency of burping. Wearing dentures that are loose and poorly fitted can also increase the amount of air that is swallowed while eating, and so lead to an increased frequency of belching.

Eat Slowly

In order to avoid swallowing too much air while eating and drinking, it is best to do so slowly and to ensure that everything is chewed properly before it is swallowed. Avoiding overeating can also help to reduce the frequency of belching. It is also sensible to avoid using a straw while drinking.

It is possible to prevent belching by drinking plenty of still fluids and water (although carbonated water should be avoided). Eating a first course of soup at the beginning of a meal can also help to prevent belching. The liquid prepares the stomach for the following courses by stimulating the production of digestive stomach acid.

Since heartburn can increase the frequency of belching, it is possible to reduce belching by ensuring that heartburn is treated before it causes a problem. Mild cases of heartburn can be treated with antacids that are available over the counter, but more serious heartburn that occurs as the result of a gastrointestinal disorder may require prescription medication.

Treatments

Belching is generally harmless and is a natural reaction to trapped gases in the digestive system. It is unusual therefore for ay treatment to be required. There are some options available, however, for anyone who is belching frequently.

Antacid treatments can reduce the frequency of burping that is caused by acid reflux.

burping a baby

Burping a baby after feeding can relieve the discomfort caused by gas that has been swallowed. The baby is usually held against the shoulder and then patted gently on the lower back. This often stimulates the baby to burp, although it can also result in the expulsion of some of the food as vomit.

When there is an underlying medical condition that is causing excessive belching, it will usually be necessary to treat the condition that is causing the problem in order to get rid of the belching.

Traditional Remedies

A variety of home remedies have been used to try and prevent and treat belching. Mint is believed to help to calm the digestion and reduce belching. It can be taken by adding some fresh mint leaves to a meal or mixing some mint essence into a glass of water. Mint tea can also be used to help prevent belching, as can a number of other herbal tea. Raspberry, blackberry and chamomile teas can all be used as digestive aids and will help to reduce the frequency of belching in many people.

A useful home remedy that can provide similar relief to a store bought over the counter antacid can be concocted by mixing half a teaspoon of baking soda into a glass of water. By calming the stomach and neutralizing the stomach acid, this remedy can help to prevent acid reflux and therefore reduce belching.

Asafetida

A remedy that has been used to prevent belching since ancient times is asafetida. This is a pungent herb that is usually considered to have a repulsive odor in its raw from. It can be added to any type of food, however, or mixed with buttermilk, in order to reduce the odor. In cooking, asafetida can be cooked in oil to produce a flavor not unlike sautéed garlic or onion. When it is eaten, asafetida can help to reduce the production of gases in the stomach that can cause belching.

Garlic and Cloves

Garlic and cloves can both be eaten either before or after a meal in order to prevent belching. Since raw garlic is distasteful to most people, it can be added to the food, for example it could be used in a soup starter. Cardamom can also be chewed following a meal in order to prevent belching. Cloves and cardamom have pleasant flavors and therefore do not need to be disguised in food. Ginger can also be an effective remedy for belching. It can be taken as a tea that should be drunk after meals. Ginger tea and other herbal teas that can calm the digestion make good alternatives to an after dinner coffee, since they will be able to have a much better effect on the digestion and to reduce the chances of belching becoming a problem.

Fenugreek

Fenugreek is a plant that is used as both a spice and an herb. It is often used in curry, but the leaves can also be used to produce a drink that can help to prevent belching. In order to obtain the full benefit, it is necessary to soak the leaves in a cup of water for between two and three hours. The solution that is produced should be taken early in the morning, before eating breakfast.

A more complex mixture that can help to prevent belching can also be produced by combining half a teaspoon of baking soda and one tablespoon of freshly squeezed lime juice in a cupful of warm water, and mixing in a small amount of the paste of fresh ginger. As with the fenugreek remedy, this mixture should be drunk on an empty stomach early in the morning. It is usually sufficient to drink it over a period of about ten days. This remedy contains a high concentration of sodium, however, and is therefore not suitable for anyone who suffers from hyperemia.

More Home Remedies

Another recipe for a natural remedy for belching is to mix two teaspoonfuls of lemon juice with a small amount of apple cider vinegar in a cup of water. This mixture should be taken before a meal in order to prevent belching. It can also help to prevent excess acid being produced in the stomach.

Since nervousness and stress can increase the frequency of belching, it may also be possible to cure the problem by finding ways of reducing stress and promoting calmness. Yoga or breathing exercises may be useful, while simply taking a gentle stroll or spending some extra time relaxing can be also be helpful in people whose belching is caused by nervousness. If the problem is causing a great deal of anxiety, then it may be worthwhile seeking therapy or trying to discover the cause of the nervousness. Many people suffer from excessive belching when they are nervous about their work or other issues in their lives and the belching can therefore be cured by finding ways to deal with these stresses.

How Effective Are These Treatments And Remedies?

The success of the treatments and remedies that are available for the prevention of belching can vary between individuals, since the reasons why people suffer from excessive belching can be different. Some people can only cure their belching by making significant changes to their diet, because this is the root cause of their problem. In cases where belching is occurring as a result of heartburn, then some simple antacids or a preparation of baking soda made at home can result in an effective cure. Other people will find that it is sufficient to use an herbal remedy such as mint tea in order to calm their stomach and avoid belching.

Try Different Methods

The best way to find an effective cure for belching is by trial and error. Different methods will work well for different people, so it may take several attempts before finding the one that works. Some people may prefer to use the simpler remedies rather than having to put together one of the more complex herbal remedies. Making changes to the diet and lifestyle can be the best route to curing belching for some people who prefer not to rely on traditional remedies, but others who do not want to change the way that they eat may prefer to try a solution that can calm their stomach without significantly affecting their lifestyle, such as chewing cloves or cardamom after a meal.

When there is an underlying cause behind belching, herbal remedies and lifestyle changes are unlikely to be able to help. The cause needs to be targeted. It may be that a certain medication or disorder of the digestive system has been increasing the frequency of belching. It will then be necessary to seek medical advice and obtain treatment for the disease rather than attempt to find a cure by targeting the belching directly.

Since the remedies and treatments that can be used to prevent and cure belching are all simple and do not involve taking medication or using herbs that are not commonly taken in food, there is no reason to worry about any complications or side effects that could result from using them. They are all very safe. The only exception to this is the baking soda and lime treatment, which could be harmful for people who have hyperemia.

Costs

Treating and preventing belching is very cheap. All of the natural remedies are available at supermarkets and health food stores for under $10. Antacids can also be bought for well under $10, and can be obtained over the counter from many food stores and drug stores.

Many of the treatments that can help to reduce belching are behavioral, requiring changes in lifestyle that affect the way food is eaten, and changes to the diet that usually involve avoiding certain types of food. These treatments are all free, and can in fact end up saving money by cutting out some problematic foods from the diet. Drinking water rather than buying carbonated drinks will create savings, for example, while cutting out a habit such as smoking or chewing gum can also save some money.


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  1. adenike 13 January 2012 at 4:35 pm permalink

    i enjoy ur tip but i will like to know how prepare soda syrup locally


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