Belching is the act of bringing up air from the stomach. It produces a characteristic (typical) sound.
Burping; Eructation; Gas - belching
Belching is most often a normal process. The purpose of belching is to release air from the stomach. Every time you swallow, air, along with fluid or food, is also swallowed. As the air builds up in the upper stomach, it causes stretching of the stomach that triggers the lower esophageal sphincter muscle to relax. This lets air escape up the esophagus and out the mouth.
Complaints of excessive or repeated belching may be the result of unconsciously swallowed air (aerophagia).
Depending on the cause, belching may change in duration and intensity. Symptoms such as nausea, dyspepsia , and heartburn may be relieved by belching.
- Pressure caused by the unconscious swallowing of air
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
Relief may be obtained by lying on the side or in a knee-chest position until the gas passes.
Avoid chewing gum, eating quickly, and eating gas-producing foods and beverages.
Call your health care provider if:
Belching is usually a minor symptom and often quite insignificant. However, call a health care provider if the belching is persistent and unexplained, or if it is accompanied by other symptoms.
What to expect at your health care provider's office:
Your doctor will examine you and ask questions about your medical history and symptoms, including:
- Is this the first time that this has occurred?
- Is there a pattern to your belching? For example, does it happen when you are nervous or after you have been consuming certain foods or drinks?
- What other symptoms do you have?
Diagnostic tests will be determined by the findings of physical examination and by what additional signs or symptoms, if any, accompany the belching.
|Review Date: 11/13/2007|
Reviewed By: Christian Stone, M.D., Division of Gastroenterology, Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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