Burping or belching is simply an act of releasing air from the stomach via the mouth. It typically occurs once the stomach distends or expands due to excess air being swallowed. Belching releases the air to minimize the distention.
It is important to note that belching occurs once the stomach is filled with swallowed air. There are various reasons why more air than usual might be swallowed. The common causes include the following:
- Eating or drinking rapidly
- Drinking carbonated beverages
Infants and young children might swallow significant amounts of air without realizing it. Babies are burped shortly after being fed to eliminate the excess air that was swallowed while feeding.
There are instances in which belching occurs even if the stomach is not full of air. The reason for this is that belching might became a habit or a tool to reduce abdominal discomfort. Remember that it will only relieve the discomfort linked with swallowing air. Yet it is not uncommon for some to try to relieve other discomfort in the same manner.
When it is an emergency?
Belching as a symptom is not usually an issue for concern unless it is frequent or excessive. Nevertheless, if the stomach has been distended for an extended period and burping does not alleviate the discomfort or the abdominal pain is intense, it is best to seek medical care right away.
How to deal with belching
Take note that normal belching will not require any treatment. On the other hand, if it becomes excessive, a doctor should be consulted for further assessment regarding possible conditions that might be causing the issue.
If an individual is belching excessively or the stomach is distended and cannot release the air, he/she can lie down on the side. The knee-to-chest position can also help. The position is held until the gas passes.
For those who experience belching, it is vital to avoid chewing gum, eating or drinking rapidly and consuming carbonated beverages since these can aggravate it.
In cases where burping is excessive, it is best to consult a doctor. The doctor will ask about the symptoms and any patterns in which it occurs. The individual is also required to keep a food diary for a few days.
The doctor will assess the individual physically and order tests such as an X-ray of the abdomen or gastric emptying studies. Other tests that might be performed include CT scans, MRI, ultrasound as well as hydrogen and methane tests.