Belching is also referred to as burping and occurs when some amount of gas flows from the stomach to the mouth. Some discomfort may occur if the stomach is filled with gas and it deflates as the gas is released. The distinctive sound occurs when that gas causes vibrations along the respiratory passage. In some cases, it is accompanied by an unpleasant odor.
A common cause of belching is swallowed air, which happens when we eat or drink too quickly, as a result some air is trapped along with the food or beverages. Talking while eating and anxiety may also cause an inflated stomach. A good way to prevent belching is to avoid eating foods that produce lots of gas when digested. Yam, sweet potato, cassava, cauliflower, beans, cabbage, lettuce and broccoli are common gaseous foods. Belching shouldn’t prevent you from eating gas-producing vegetables, as you can add beano to reduce gas production. Carbonated beverages also commonly cause belching as the warmth of the stomach converts the soda into sugar and carbon dioxide. Also avoid eating hard candy and gum because some air is often swallowed when people eat these.
In some cultures, belching is a sign of satisfaction after finishing a meal; however in other cultures it reflects poor manners. Belching is often hard to suppress and there is little a person can do to hold it, all you can do is to bow your head, cover your mouth and apologize. People may belch repeatedly because the gas can be produced steadily over a long period of time when the food is digested.
Home Remedies for Belching
There is currently no specialized anti-belching medication; however, if you belch repeatedly, you can take OTC anti-gas medication while limiting the intake of gaseous foods. Mylanta and Maalox are common antacids that can help to expel the gas from the stomach. Simethicone can help to burst the gas bubbles inside the stomach. Fortunately there are a number of natural, home remedies that can help to alleviate symptoms of belching safely. These are some of them:
• Ginger can be used to prevent belching and can be taken as a supplement, seasoning or marinade. Take ginger supplements after each meal to prevent excessive gas production. You can also brew and drink a cup of warm ginger tea each morning, so you can reduce belching while getting some warmth. Ginger tea can keep belching symptoms at bay and ease your digestion system.
• Enzymes are essential in digestion and can prevent belching, bloating and reduce gas production. You may also take a probiotic supplement each day to control the number of bad bacteria in you intestine – which causes excessive gas production. For older people, belching is more likely to happen due to an improper floral balance and lower digestive enzyme production. Important digestive enzymes are sucrose, maltase, lactase, cellulose, lipase, amylase and protease.
• Add cardamom to your meal or take it as a supplement. Excessive muscle spasms are a common cause of belching and cardamom can help to tame your overactive stomach. Cardamom may also treat inadequate digestive fluid production.
• Asafoetida is a spice that can help to treat excessive gas production and belching. It is also known as devil’s dung or stinking gum and is native to Iran. Add a pinch of asafoetida into a glass of warm water to help treat the excessive gas production; you may also add some ginger powder and a little salt into the glass. Another effective use of asafetida is to use it as a spice for gaseous foods such as cabbage, Brussels sprouts and broccoli. If you experience abdominal cramps, you can soak a clean cloth into a bowl filled with warm water and one teaspoon of asafoetida, use the cloth as a poultice. Asafoetida is a strong smelling spice and you should store it in a dry, airtight container.
• Drink a glass of chamomile tea after each meal or before bedtime to help release trapped gas more quickly and improve digestion.
• Although cucumber can cause excessive gas production, some strains can lessen belching. Thin-skinned Armenian and English variants can be digested more easily.
• For people who are lactose intolerant, dairy products can cause indigestion and excessive gas production. Lactase supplements such as Dairy Ease and Lactaid can help to prevent this problem.
• Add a couple drops of mint essence into a glass (8 oz.) of cold water and stir it. Drink the mixture each day for two weeks to significantly reduce the belching. Peppermint tea can also give you the same benefit as it reduces the spasmodic movements of your bowel.
• Add one teaspoon of lime juice and one teaspoon. of apple cider vinegar into a glass (8 oz.) of cold water. Drink it after a meal to prevent excessive gas production and indigestion.
• Another effective way of eliminating belching is drinking a glass (8 oz.) of water mixed with two teaspoons of baking soda.
• Garlic can help reduce belching. Swallow a garlic bud and drink a glass of water, preferably on an empty stomach.
• Fresh clove leaves can soothe your digestive system and suppress excessive gas production. Chew a clove leaf after a meal to prevent belching and indigestion.
• Activated charcoal tablets can help to reduce belching and gas production. They can be found in drugstores and natural food stores.
• Proper changes in eating habits can help to treat belching safely. For example, poorly balanced and high-fat diets can cause burping problems. If you seem to be unable to get rid of the belching symptoms, despite changes in eating habits, it’s a good idea to make a food diary. The diary should include the type and amount of food you consume and the severity of belching. Eventually you may find a pattern between the food you eat and the severity of belching. For example, carbonated beverages after dinner may be the culprit of your nighttime belching.
• Large meals can also cause belching, so you might benefit from eating six smaller meals instead of three larger ones.
If your condition doesn’t improve despite all efforts, you should see a doctor immediately as it can be a symptom of more serious diseases, such as hiatal hernia. This occurs when a part of your stomach goes through a hole on the diaphragm. However in most cases belching is simply a harmless, if embarrassing, case of trapped wind. The tips above should help you to manage the problem and be a better dinner date.