Belching refers to the action of releasing gases from the alimentary canal mainly from the esophagus and the stomach via the mouth. In most cases the action produces a sound and an unpleasant odor. It is also called burping or eructation. The cause of the action is the intake of air during eating or drinking and it is this gas that is expelled through burping. The gas that comes out when a person belches is majorly made of a mixture of nitrogen and oxygen.
Intake of carbonated drinks such as champagne, soft drinks, energy drinks and beer can also induce belching in which case the gas expelled is largely carbon dioxide. There are also drugs especially the diabetes drugs like Byetta and metformin which do cause belching and this is particularly so when they are taken in large doses. In this circumstance however the belching is temporary and after a few weeks, the problem usually disappears.
Belching becomes a cause for alarm when it comes along with other symptoms like nausea, heart burn and dyspepsia in which case the belching may be a sign of an ulcer or hernia. Other reasons for belching are gastritis, food allergy, acid reflux condition, problems of the gall bladder, H. pylori etc,
The sound that accompanies belching is the result of the vibrations in the sphincter found in the upper end of the esophagus as the gas comes out. Belching is also a prevalent phenomenon in regions with very low gravity. In such areas, the food and gases in the stomach tends to float near the sphincter that opens into the stomach. This tends to stimulate belching and the contents of the stomach can be concurrently spewed out. Belching in children is very common because the infants have the tendency to accumulate a lot of gases in the stomach. This causes a lot of discomfort to the child.
Causes of Belching
- Swallowing air can lead to belching. The situations in which we swallow air with relative ease include when:
- Chewing gum
- Breathing through the mouth
- Drinking very fast i.e. gulping a liquid
- Drinking a soft drink
- Wearing oversize dentures
- Experiencing nervousness.
- There are also the gastrointestinal factors which lead to belching. Complications which affect the digestive canal may lead to belching. The complications include obstruction, delay or interrupted flow of the food material in the alimentary canal. The examples include:
- Food allergy or intolerance
- Disease of the gall bladder
- Hiatal hernia
- Disease of the pancreas
- Peptic ulcer
- Gastro paresis-delay to empty the stomach
- Obstruction of the pyloric sphincter
- Tumors in the digestive tract among others.
- The more serious and acute cause of belching are the life threatening conditions which require immediate medical attention such as:
- Heart attack
- Obstruction of the alimentary canal
- Abdominal abscess
Symptoms of Belching
Belching is under normal circumstances a harmless physiological process and is normally taken casually. But in some cases it could be a symptom or a sign to an underlying medical condition especially if it is accompanied by other symptoms
- Digestive symptoms- belching may accompany other symptoms which affect the alimentary canal such as
- Change in the normal behavior of the bowels
- Swelling in the abdomen, distention
- Heart burn
- Nausea and o/or vomiting
- Some of the other symptoms that would occur along belching are:
- Emotional stress
In which case the belching is a nervous habit
- The acute symptoms that indicate a life threatening conditions include:
- Chest pain, pressure or palpitations.
- High fever that rises above 101 Fahrenheit.
- Breathing problems e.g. short breath, labored breathing, choking, etc.
- Vomiting blood or bloody stool.
Belching Home Remedies
In cases where the belching results from too much intake of air the change of habits that entail intake of air should follow. One should desist from those habits which compel him or her to take in too much air such as the speed of eating which one should reduce to a more relaxed speed for little intake of air, how much a person talks and how fast he does that etc. these are habits with lead to over ingestion of air and subsequently leading to frequent belching. It is also prudent to minimize the intake of fizzy or carbonated drinks which have a lot of carbon dioxide and which have the tendency to induce belching.
Belching as a psychological response to the bodily stress can be managed by practicing relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga etc. to relieve the body and the mind and subsequently eliminate the belching. Peptic ulcers which are also signified by belching are normally aggravated by stress and this could lead to the high frequency of belching. Going for relaxation training or yoga will reduce the action on the peptic ulcers and equivalently reduce the belching.
There are a number of home remedies to belching which are also recommendable and have good healing effect on this condition. Remember, you should always consult with your physician in order to get a proper diagnosis and before trying to incorporate these home remedies yourself!
- Ginger Tea– Taking a strong ginger tea has a way of relieving the stomach of the volumes of air that cause an individual to belch severally. All a person needs to do is to peel a sizable ginger root and boil it in a pot of water tile the water turns yellowish. The tea can then be cooled and drunk along with honey and lemon. The essence of this combination is that ginger like honey improve digestion and the lemon boosts immunity
- Milk– Alternatively one can take a glass of low fat milk especially warm twice daily. To this glass of milk an addition of a teaspoon of turmeric is recommended. This medication will reduce the belches, improve digestion and control the production of the stomach acids
- Soups– The first most advisable is taking soups just before the main meal. Soups have the advantage of preparing the alimentary canal for digestion by stimulating the generation of gastric juice.
- Mint- Mint is an element that eases digestion process and is equivalently recommendable.
- Herbal Tea– Drinking herbal teas with special focus on those with mint, rasp berry and blackberry ingredients can be a good remedy to belching because they have the ability to sooth digestion.
- Baking Powder and Water– A glass of water mixed with a tea spoon of baking powder is a perfect immediate remedy to belching.
- Cider Vinegar- A tablespoon of cider vinegar mixed with a tablespoon of lime juice in 8oz cold water is to be taken after every meal to reduce the type of indigestion that is associated with belching.
- Ginger- Ground ginger or ginger tea is used to make a hot beverage that might reduce the possibility of indigestion and belching throughout the day. Ginger tea has several qualities that not only ease the digestion system but also prevents the deflation of stomach that leads to belching
- Cloves- Fresh cloves are also good for the stomach. Chewing fresh clove after a meal will keep one from belching. Cloves have chemical components that will prevent acidic reactions to form stomach gases that have to be expelled. Fresh cloves are better used in the morning to prevent instances of burping during the day.
- Garlic- A whole garlic bud should be swallowed on an empty stomach with a glass of water. This will prevent gas build up when you eat foods that are associated with production of belching gases like beans. This eliminates gas production and belching during the day.
- Cardamom- Belching can also be caused by muscle spasms due to an overactive stomach. Taking cardamom either as a meal additive or as a supplement will tame the stomach muscles which effectively prevent gas accumulations that lead to belching. Inadequate production of digestive juices will also lead to belching and cardamom can effectively prevent this.
- Asafoetida- Asafetida is a herb that has been used for long in the treatment of excessive gas production in the stomach. Native to Iran, it is also known as a stinking gum or the devil’s dung and is made into a powder first. The powder is dissolved into how water together with ginger or salt and drank to treat belching.
Diet for Belching
- Foods to eat
- Increase the intake of vegetables and fruits; they contain vitamins and natural enzymes that are efficient for efficient digestion.
- One should cook vegetables by steaming and not boiling in order to maintain the vegetables nutritional value. Boiling foods extremely has the effect of destroying the enzymes and the vitamin hence leaving the food with reduced nutritional content.
- During meals water should be avoided as the water drunk during meals serves to dilute the stomach enzymes and acids causing difficulty in digestion. It Is therefore recommended that a person with a belching disorder should take water in between meals and not during meals.
- Warm water does reduce the risk of belching.
- Foods to avoid
- Desist from the consumption beans such as pinto, garbanzo, navy etc the digestion of beans produces a lot of acids and subsequently gases which highly increases the risk of belching.
- Cucumber, bell pepper and cabbage should be avoided or limited if they are among the foods that cause the belching problem
- Tea, coffee and other spicy foods should be avoided as they increase stomach acidity
- Fizzy or carbonated drinks should be avoided due to the extra gas that they contain
- Smoking should be avoided
Prevention of Belching
Belching can be prevented by transforming behavior patterns;
- Limit the unnecessary swallowing during which air is swallowed along with the saliva. This requires the conscious endeavor to avoid swallowing especially in the nervous moments. It is said that in each swallow a person can take up air to a capacity of 5 ounces
- Proper culinary culture will go along way in the prevention of belching. One should chew the food properly and slowly with closed mouth. This implies that the conversation during meals should be limited
- Avoid straws when drinking beverages as they transfer air to the mouth, equally drinking directly from the bottle or can is unauthorized, It is advisable to drink from a glass and do so in small slow careful sips.
- Gassy foods like beans, cabbage, onions, lentils, milk, chocolate etc. should be avoided as they make a person vulnerable to belching.
- One is encouraged to adorn lose and comfortable clothes which do not excessively confine the abdomen and therefore creating discomfort and inducing belching
- Chamomile tea taken particularly after meals serves as a good medication to alleviate excessive gases whose consequence is belching.
- Over the counter antacids can also be a good drug to help eliminate the gases ang the acid in the stomach which lead to belching
- In the event that after all the above fail, the immediate medical attention should be sort to rectify the defect.
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