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Burping is one of the simplest ways to relieve bloating. It helps remove gas discomfort and can be triggered on demand.
Burping is also known as belching. It involves the release of gas from the digestive tract to the mouth. Burps occur when air is swallowed while eating or drinking and is then expelled.
The air that is released is a mixture of oxygen and nitrogen.
Fast facts on how to make yourself burp:
- The inability to burp is uncommon, but some healthy people are unable to do it.
- Burping can reduce gas and abdominal discomfort.
- Most people experience gas after eating and release it through belching or flatulence.
Not being able to burp happens when the upper esophageal sphincter loses its ability to release air for some reason.
The upper esophageal sphincter is a muscular valve
The sphincter muscle relaxes during swallowing, but the rest of the time, it contracts. When a person burps, the sphincter muscle needs to relax momentarily to allow air to escape.
It is important for the sphincter muscle to relax so swallowing can progress. It is also important that the sphincter muscle relaxes in order to release air upwards to burp.
Not being able to burp can make a person feel miserable. It may feel as if an air bubble is sitting at the sphincter muscle with no place to go. The inability to burp may be painful, and cause abdominal pain and bloating.
For those who do not have certain conditions or structural issues that make burping difficult, the following methods can help trigger burping.
If you have a medical condition or have had surgery on the upper part of your digestive tract, talk to your healthcare provider if you’re having difficulty burping. Do not try the following methods before talking to them
When triggered, burping can bring about relaxation and make a person feel better quickly.
1. Carbonated beverages
Soda, beer, and other carbonated beverages are bubbly and gassy. Drinking any carbonated beverage causes gas buildup in the stomach, triggers a burp, and relieves abdominal pain.
Sipping the beverage is not enough. It is important to drink a large amount quickly to force swallowing of more air and increase the chance of a burp.
Movement can put pressure on the air in the stomach and force it upward, potentially causing a person to burp. If a person is sitting, they should stand. If they are standing, they should sit. Lying down and quickly standing up is another option.
Other times, more action is needed. Walking, jogging, jumping up and down, or stretching may push air out of the stomach.
3. Eat gas-promoting foods
Eating gas-promoting foods can help build up gas pressure in the stomach, resulting in a burp after consumption. Foods that may promote belching include:
- some fruits, including apples, pears, and peaches
- hard candy
- chewing gum
- whole grain bread
Chewable calcium carbonate supplements, such as Tums and Rolaids, are designed to relieve acid ingestion. Burping is an unexpected side effect of antacids.
Antacids are available for purchase over the counter or online.
5. Swallowing air
Swallowing air is another way to induce a burp, and it is easy to do. Exhale until the lungs are empty. Then breathe in deeply and hold for as long as possible. Exhale and inhale again, and swallow the air.
Drinking a glass of water or pinching the nose can make this even easier.
6. Triggering the gag reflex
Triggering the gag reflex can force a burp, but it should be considered as a last resort. A person can trigger a burp by touching the back of their mouth with a clean finger. The touch should be light and only enough to release air upwards.
The goal is only to burp, not to vomit. Too much force can cause vomiting, so it is important to be gentle.
There are some health conditions, however, that cause people to experience gas and bloating more often. These people could benefit from triggered burping.
Lactose intolerance is the inability to break down lactose, a type of sugar commonly found in milk and other dairy products. People with this condition may experience gas or bloating and struggle to burp at times.
Avoiding dairy can help to minimize symptoms, and inducing a burp may help when feeling bloated, gassy, and unable to burp.
Conditions that can make belching difficult
Many upper gastrointestinal disorders can either cause frequent burping, or the inability to burp. These include peptic ulcers, acid reflux, or gastroparesis. These conditions may benefit from some of the techniques to induce burping.
Peptic ulcers are sores that may develop in the food pipe, stomach, or small intestine.
Acid reflux is a disease where stomach acid irritates the lining of the food pipe. Symptoms include gas and bloating after eating that worsens with lying down.
Gastroparesis affects the stomach muscles and makes it hard to empty the stomach. It also affects digestion and causes bloating and a feeling of fullness even when a person has eaten little food.
People who have had surgeries performed on the upper GI tract such as anti-reflux surgery, or who have strictures in their esophagus, can have difficulty or discomfort with belching as well.
Retrograde cricopharyngeal dysfunction
When we belch or burp, air coming out of the stomach passes up through the esophagus and eventually through the cricopharyngeus muscle.
Retrograde cricopharyngeal dysfunction occurs when the cricopharyngeus muscle, the muscle at the bottom of the throat, is too tight. When this muscle is too tight, air cannot escape, gets trapped and causes discomfort. This is especially true if a person with this condition drinks a carbonated beverage.
Symptoms of retrograde cricopharyngeal dysfunction include:
- gurgling throat noises
- abdominal and chest discomfort
- abdominal fullness
- excessive flatulence
Individuals with retrograde cricopharyngeal dysfunction do not have the ability or find it very difficult to belch or burp.
Treatment includes Botox injections into the muscle to help it relax.
Dyspepsia is not a specific medical condition. Rather, the medical term describes a burning or gnawing feeling in the chest or upper abdomen, usually after eating.
Most people describe the feeling as “gas,” and other symptoms may include stomach rumbling, belching, or the inability to belch, and increased gas in the stomach or intestines. Causes of dyspepsia can be minor or severe.
Anyone experiencing painful gas, bloating and problems with burping, can reduce these symptoms by:
- avoiding gas-causing foods
- drinking water before meals
- eating and drinking slowly
- avoiding smoking, chewing gum or drinking with a straw
- avoiding artificial sweeteners, as these are known for causing gas.
While annoying, gas is a natural part of the body’s digestive system. However, if gas or burping problems are painful or chronic, these concerns should be brought to the attention of a doctor, especially in people who have had previous surgery related to the stomach or digestive tract.