Also known as:
disgorging, ejecting, eructing, erupting, expelling, jetting, spewing spouting, spurting, belching, and burping
What is eructation?
We know it as belching or burping. It's your body's way of expelling excess air from your upper digestive tract. Most belching is caused by swallowing excess air. This air most often never even reaches the stomach but accumulates in the esophagus.
You may swallow excess air if you eat or drink too fast, talk while you eat, chew gum, suck on hard candies, drink carbonated beverages, or smoke. Some people swallow air as a nervous habit even when they're not eating or drinking.
Acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can sometimes cause excessive belching by promoting increased swallowing.
Chronic belching may also be related to inflammation of the stomach lining or to an infection with Helicobacter pylori, the bacterium responsible for some stomach ulcers. In these cases, the belching is accompanied by other symptoms, such as heartburn or abdominal pain.
When does eructation become a problem?
Eructation (Burping or Belching) as many as four times after a meal is normal. But some illnesses can make you eructate a lot more than that:
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), sometimes called acid reflux, happens when acid in your stomach flows back into your esophagus and causes heartburn. If you have this only occasionally, you can treat it with over-the-counter medicines. But if you have it a lot, you may need to make changes in your diet or take prescription drugs.
- Indigestion, also called dyspepsia, causes pain or discomfort in your upper belly. It can come with belching, bloating, heartburn, nausea, or vomiting.
- Gastritis happens when the lining of your stomach is irritated.
- Helicobacter pylori is a kind of bacteria that can cause an infection in your stomach and lead to ulcers.
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can also cause belly cramps, bloating, and diarrhea or constipation.
How to reduce eructation:
- Eat and drink slowly. Taking your time can help you swallow less air. Try to make meals relaxed occasions; eating when you're stressed or on the run increases the air you swallow.
- Avoid carbonated drinks and beer. They release carbon dioxide gas.
- Skip the gum and hard candy. When you chew gum or suck on hard candy, you swallow more often than normal. Part of what you're swallowing is air.
- Don't smoke. When you inhale smoke, you also inhale and swallow air.
- Check your dentures. Poorly fitting dentures can cause you to swallow excess air when you eat and drink.
- Get moving. It may help to take a short walk after eating.
- Treat heartburn. For occasional, mild heartburn, over-the-counter antacids or other remedies may be helpful. GERD may require prescription-strength medication or other treatments.