Belching: what to do to relieve it?

Belching: what to do to relieve it?

Belching is a natural and physiological mechanism. However, it can become annoying when it occurs repeatedly. Most often trivial, it can sometimes reveal an underlying disease. Update with Professor Maximilien Barret, gastroenterologist at Cochin hospital.

What is the definition of belching?

Belching, more commonly called burping or burping, corresponds to the (sound) expulsion of gas from the stomach through the mouth. They often occur following a meal or the ingestion of carbonated drinks, allowing the evacuation of excess gas that has been stored in the stomach.

When belching becomes untimely to the point of altering quality of life, or when it is associated with other digestive symptoms, a medical consultation is necessary.

What are the symptoms of belching (burping)?

Belching is manifested by the release of gas, more or less noisy and odorous, through the mouth.

Stress, anxiety, gastric reflux, hiatal hernia…What are the causes of belching?

“Bloating corresponds to the sensation of the presence of air in the digestive tract. This air can be reabsorbed by the digestive tract itself, or evacuated, either from below or from above. When it is evacuated through the bottom, it’s flatulence, when it’s from above, it’s belching. The stomach itself doesn’t produce gas so if there is air coming up through the mouth, it’s most often air that we swallowed at the same time as meals and which comes back up”explains Professor Maximilien Barret, gastroenterologist at Cochin hospital.

A physiological, sometimes pathological mechanism

Belching is not not a pathological symptom but physiological which corresponds to phases where the lower esophageal sphincter will relax (normally, it is tonic and closes the passage) and allows excess air to pass into the stomach.

In some people, belching is a symptom that the esophageal sphincter is still open, in which case a hiatal hernia and/or GERD may be involved. Dyspepsia (slow digestion) can also cause belching.

Why do I have a lot of gas and keep burping?

Belching, especially when its frequency is high, or even socially embarrassing, may be associated with GERDdue to the low tone of the lower esophageal sphincter, and sometimes adaptive behaviors of the patients themselves. “When treating GERD, untimely belching often disappears spontaneously. Especially since untreated gastroesophageal reflux causes discomfort in the chest. Often, patients will make swallowing movements to try to relieve the discomfort. As a result, they swallow their saliva (and air) more than necessary and they fill their stomach with air without realizing it and burp even more.analyzes the gastroenterologist.

When to worry?

When belching occurs occasionally after a meal, there is no need to worry. On the other hand, medical advice is necessary when belching is accompanied by chest pain, burning sensations in the esophagus, acid regurgitation and chronic cough. More generally, socially embarrassing belching should lead to consultation.

What is the diagnosis in case of excessive belching?

The diagnosis of belching is essentially based on questioning the patient. It aims to determine the circumstances in which they arise. A specific diet, stress, carbonated drinks, excessive consumption of chewing gum, eating too quickly or talking while eating are factors that promote belching. Depending on these elements, the doctor will prescribe appropriate treatment.

Treatment: how to treat frequent belching?

The treatment of belching first calls for common sense hygienic and dietary measures:

  • Avoid overly large meals;
  • Take the time to eat;
  • Identify foods that promote belching and limit their consumption (soft drinks, alcohol, etc.).

First-line drug treatment is based on PPIs (Proton Pump Inhibitors) in the hypothesis of associated gastroesophageal reflux. These medications help reduce the volume and acidity of stomach secretions and accelerate the healing of any lesions present in the esophagus. If treatment fails, an upper digestive endoscopy may be performed. to look for an underlying digestive pathology such as GERD or hiatal hernia”specifies the specialist.